Thoracic spine

The thoracic spine is the middle segment of the spine, making up the largest portion of the spine and spanning 12 vertebral segments, T1 to T12.

This is the section of your spine where you ribcage is housed.  

Thoracic movement plays an important role in sports and activity, particularly those requiring rotational movement, i.e. throwing sports, golf etc.

While the orientation of the joints and ribs in the thoracic spine allows for rotation, it also limits some movement, flexion and extension.

This is important as the thoracic region (thorax) protects some vital structures such as your heart, lungs, blood vessels and digestive tract, and excessive movement is not ideal.  

The thoracic spine functions to transmit force up and down the spine, aids in respiration and is an important area for muscular/fascial attachment.  

Thoracic impact on other areas of the body: 

Therefore, mobility and positioning of the thoracic spine is vital, ensuring that thoracic rotation is optimised and the small range of motion allowed for flexion and extension is maintained.

There are multiple thoracic mobility exercises which can be utilised for this purpose (head over to our Instagram page to see our physios demonstrating a few of these!): 

Manual techniques by a physiotherapist can also help with thoracic pain; mobilising the spinal joints or rib joints adjacent can provide increased range of motion and pain relief.

Massage, TENS or other soft tissue treatments can help with associated injury to these structures.