The thoracic spine is a topic that I blog about now and then because it's popular and often forgotten.
You don't exactly read about how debilitating thoracic pain is, how it affects 80% of the population etc. Despite it not often causing pain, it's still an important area to give your attention to. Here are 5 More Reasons to Treat the Thoracic Spine
1) Thoracic Manipulation improves headaches and neck pain
- have a patient that prefers manipulation but their head or neck is currently too sensitive to touch or move?
- research shows thoracic manipulation will have similar effects to cervical manipulation for improvement in headaches and cervical pain
- bonus - none of that unpredictable risk associated with cervical manipulation
2) Thoracic manipulation improves shoulder pain
- whether it's impingement syndrome or frozen shoulder, research shows thoracic manipulation helps improvement both pain and mobility of both conditions
- can't get into your preferred supine technique position due to a sensitive shoulder - it's ok, just mash the thoracic spine in prone, you'll get the same effects, no specificity needed, leading to....
3) Cavitations up the wazoo!
- people who prefer manipulation tend to be most satisfied with treatment with a little sound in their treatment
- there is certainly something to a cavitation, whether it's
- the preference
- the feeling that - "That sure did something!"
- not too many people asking for a manipulation or for you to "crack" their back have the same sense of placebo when you tell them, "Don't worry! Research shows the same success with or without the crack!"
- that's like giving someone a green smoothie when they wanted a chocolate milkshake - they may or may not be satisfied with the apparent benefits
4) It's Easy
- In Modern Manual Therapy, you don't need to worry about specificity, and that's pretty much impossible anyway
- you can target a few segments via hand placement, and to pressing and guessing, certain groups of 5-6 segments may feel more stiff, but in the end you're really moving A LOT of facets as well as stimulating tissues
5) It's easy to self treat
- check these videos for resets and mobility drills
- the thoracic whip
- dual kettlebell trunk rotation and hip hinge
- upper thoracic mobilization with foam roller
Don't like to manipulate? Check out the video below
header image credit
Interested in live cases where I apply this approach and integrate it with pain science, manual therapy, repeated motions, IASTM, with emphasis on patient education? Check out Modern Manual Therapy!
Keeping it Eclectic...