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Thoracic pain and dysfunction

The Thorax or ribcage is an important part of your body and an important contributor to normal movement and function. Commonly the thorax is seen as a stiff and immobile structure, however it has significant amounts of movement and is an area that needs to have good strength and motor control.

The thorax itself can be an area of pain, but more commonly pain free dysfunction within the thorax can contribute to symptoms in other areas of the body e.g. low back, pelvis, neck pain.

Common presentation of thoracic dysfunction

  • Upper back or mid back pain 

  • Upper or mid back stiffness

  • Pain in the sides or front of your ribcage

  • Reduced thoracic movement - restricted rotation 

  • Thoracic kyphosis (rounded upper back)

  • Poor posture 

  • Pain or restriction with breath

Commonly the Thorax will be pain free, however dysfunctional movement within the thorax can contribute to pain in other areas of the body. 

Common Causes of Thoracic dysfunction

  • Muscular injury or spasm

  • Facet joint injury 

  • Disc injury 

  • Poor mobility or flexibility 

  • Poor strength or motor control 

  • Poor long term postures

  • Sedentary lifestyle 

  • Trauma 

  • significant injury in other areas of the body

Physio Management may include

  • Education 

  • ConnectTherapy Approach - Assessing your whole body

  • Exercise prescription - strengthening, mobility, motor control

  • Postural retraining 

  • Manual therapy or hands on treatment

  • Self management strategies

  • Training optimal muscle activation

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