The thoracic spine is the part of the spine located between your neck and your low back. In our last post we discussed your low back and spinal discs.
The thoracic spine has 12 bones, all connected to each other with discs in between. There are 12 ribs that attach to each of these bones – these form your rib cage, protect vital organs, and are involved in breathing. The ribs attach at the front at the sternal bone.
The thoracic spine is important for movement and flexibility of your trunk, your posture, and there are many muscles attached to this region, all with different functions. Ligaments hold each bone together at the joint and provide stiffness and stability.
There are many different clinical presentations and problems that can arise from the thoracic spine region. These include:
- pain over the spine in the mid back (thoracic) region.
- pain to the side – shoulder blades.
- pain above the shoulder blade.
- pain behind the shoulder.
- neck pain.
- slumped posture.
- issues with comfort when sitting (desk, office work).
- pain around the ribs.
The thoracic spine also interacts with the neck and the lower back. It is not uncommon for issues starting in the thoracic spine to be causing issues that appear to be neck related. For example, tension in the neck muscles, and associated headaches, may be primarily caused by the thoracic spine.
Increased sitting at desks/office chairs, and on couches can contribute to issues in the thoracic spine. Children, teenagers and adults may be affected by our daily habits.
Our role is to identify any areas of dysfunction in this region and provide corrections if required. We use a system called Gonstead Chiropractic to identify areas of dysfunction and correct them
Exercises and stretches can also be quite useful in this region. Our practitioners also give advice around ergonomics (desk/office set-up).