Thoracic Pain

Pathophysiology

The thoracic spine is made up of 12 vertebrae and it’s role is mainly to provide stability for the flexible neck and lower back as well as protecting the internal organs.

Symptoms

  • Pain in the middle area of the back, can be vague
  • Can refer around towards the ribs
  • Pain can be worse with extremes of movement e.g twisting movements
  • May be restricted or stiff in twisting and arching from the thoracic spine
  • Often worse in those with desk based jobs and static postures

Management

  • Activity modification and pacing
  • Ice or heat
  • Pain relief
  • Physiotherapy including range of movement exercises and a graded strengthening programme

Investigations

  • Generally not indicated

Helpful Documents

Exercises to try:

Thoracic Rotation

Thoracic Rotation

Sitting in a chair

Keep your feet firm on the floor and hips facing forwards

Rotate your upper body using your hands on the side or back of a chair to help pull yourself further round

Return to starting position and repeat 







Thoracic Extension

Thoracic Extension

Sitting in a chair, with arms across your chest

Arch your upper back and lean over the back of the chair

Return to starting position and repeat

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