The thoracic spine, the part of the spine that starts just below the neck to half-way down the back, is often a neglected part of the body, which is surprising considering that it is as prone to stiffness as other parts of the spine, but not so surprising since it is a difficult area of the body to stretch.
A stiff thoracic spine can cause pain between the shoulder blades but can also cause excess loading of the lumbar spine, the neck and shoulders, which in turn can lead to pain in these areas as well as headaches. In really extreme cases, a stiff thoracic spine can lead to an unsightly condition known as Dowager’s (or Bison’s) Hump, which is a thickening of the soft tissues at the base of the neck.
Like so many other modern-day problems resulting from work, people who spend hours either in the car or sitting poorly in front of computer screens are particularly prone to thoracic stiffness, and the attendant problems this can cause. People with poor posture are also at risk. On a more general level, since the thoracic spine provides much of the rotation and extension of the spine required for athletes, anyone that plays sport is likely to find their movement restricted and performance limited by stiffness in this part of the spine. Injuries in other parts of the body may well follow as a result.
If the middle part of the spine is directly injured, it can cause malfunction to occur from the pinched nerves to blood sugar-controlling organs. Within that spinal region, there are pairs of spinal nerves emitting from the middle back to various digestive parts which includes stomach, liver, gall bladder, and small intestine. Problems in communication with the nerves may lead to numerous digestive disorders. There are also nerves in the middle back that leads to the heart which can bring heart irregularities.
The Chiropractor will take a thorough history and provide a physical exam. After the assessment, the Chiropractor will develop a plan to correct the underlying problems. These will be explained to the patient and then perform it by applying precise and gentle adjustments to the specific areas of malfunction. Upon examination it is very common to find a lower back misalignment, or in some cases, a lower neck misalignment that has helped caused the mid back pain.
Additional services Chiropractors provide include exercises, pelvic stabilisation, ergonomics, and patient education. Exercise and rehabilitation are very important to prevent the pain from becoming chronic. Many patients are relieved from their mid back pain after a few visits and patients benefit in maintaining chiropractic care regularly because it keeps their bodies in optimum condition.
Lying Rotation Stretch
- Lie on your side on the floor with the knees bent to ninety degrees.
- Place the arms out in front of you with the palms facing each other.
- Slowly slide the top hand over the bottom arm toward your chest and across to the shoulder. Allow the trunk to rotate and slowly extend the arm from the shoulder and then the elbow, reaching out with the fingertips and turning the head to look down the line of the arm.
- Make sure the pelvis and hips are still pointing forward.
- Reverse this sequence and finish by sliding the palm of the top hand beyond the bottom hand. Repeat slowly and continuously six times then roll over and repeat on the other side.