Elite Facilities. Superior Care

The Thoracic Spine: Part 1

The Thoracic Spine - or more correctly speaking the Thorax - is a large and important area of the body that is often misunderstood and underestimated. It is a vital unit that allows for respiration and acts as a busy intersection for the transfer of forces and loads that facilitate whole body function.

The thoracic spine is often misrepresented and overlooked as a potential ‘driver’ or contributing factor in a range of musculoskeletal disorders. A dysfunctional Thorax can be linked to a variety of issues in the body including lower back pain and lumbo-pelvic dysfunction (McConnell, 2005), hip impingement (Lee, 2013), shoulder and cervical pain and dysfunction. (Cleland, 2007).

The most common ideas to date have focused on the thoracic spine and have failed to recognise the Thorax as the integration of the thoracic spine, the rib cage and all the muscles and soft tissue connections that make up this region. Optimal movement is achieved when all of these structures interact together to create controlled movement and load transfer.

When the Thorax is overlooked and/or the thoracic spine is the area of focus, we often see sub-optimal outcomes for individuals experiencing pain and dysfunction. Investigations have shown that treatment of the thoracic spine alone rather than the thorax as a whole, can increase symptoms.

Further posts will continue to discuss and highlight how the Thorax can be a vital link and driver in a variety musculoskeletal conditions.

If you would like any further information on this post and/or a list of the references don’t hesitate to contact the clinic on the details below.

Chris Tandy
Recover Sports Medicine

To book a time for an expert physiotherapist assessment to determine if the thorax is area that may be contributing to your musculoskeletal impairment, do not hesitate to contact Recover Sports Medicine on 1300 858 774 or alternatively on contact@recoversportsmed.com.au


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