At Eclipse, we treat all types of mid-back (thoracic) conditions. Some sample conditions are listed below. Even if your condition is not listed, reach out by phone or email and let's determine if we are a good fit for you!
Common Thoracic Conditions
There are several ligaments that attach to our thoracic spine and ribs. These ligaments can become irritated and sprained with rapid movements. Usually, physical therapy involves giving the ligament time to heal along with decreasing muscle guarding in the area by using manual therapy techniques such as trigger point dry needling. Motion is gradually reintroduced and return to activity guidelines can be established based on the individual.
Muscle strains can occur for a number of reasons, but typically it is due to the muscle being put in a position that it was not equipped to handle. This can be due to too much load all at once or repetitive loading. It can also be related to a position or posture that is unfamiliar or irritating. An assessment to figure out comfortable ranges of motion along with manual therapy to decrease muscle irritation followed by exercises to prepare the muscle to handle load in the future is crucial. Oftentimes, people rest until the muscle is better, but this does not fix the problem and it may make the muscle weaker and more susceptible to being hurt in the long run.
The facet joints are located on the back of your vertebrae and they can become irritated and stuck. There are often muscular restrictions around the joint that can lead to the lack of mobility so it is important to treat the entire area along with mobilizing the joint. Gradually re-introducing movements that stress the joint are crucial to get back to your normal life. Read more about facet pain here.
Herniated discs are relatively rare in the thoracic spine, as there is not a lot of motion at the individual segments. However, they can occur and they have good outcomes with conservative care such as physical therapy. Avoiding movements that irritate the disc (usually bending forward) are important early on along with calming the area around the segment with manual therapy including cupping and scraping. As your body heals itself, exercise can become more aggressive to allow you to return to daily function without pain.
Arthritis refers to inflammation of the joint and there are many joints in the thoracic spine that can be affected. Arthritis can be a normal part of aging and is usually accompanied by other pathologies if pain or disability are present. It is important to decrease joint stress by making sure that other joints and muscles are moving as they should along with strengthening surrounding areas. Wear and tear at one segment is typically due to other segments not taking their share of the load, and sometimes gaining mobility elsewhere is all that is needed to resolve symptoms.
Back surgery is always intimidating. Rehabilitation after surgery can also be stressful, as you want to assure that the surgery went well. We have worked with hundreds of clients after back and spine surgery so we are familiar with how the experience should progress. We are available to answer any questions, even when you do not have an appointment scheduled. We are also intimately familiar with healing timelines and can give you ideas of what your return to activity should look like. Read more about postoperative physical therapy in our blog.
Thoracic stiffness is common, as it is a portion of the back with limited mobility due to your ribs. However, the thoracic spine is crucial for rotation and any loss of movement in the area can lead to other issues such as neck or low back pain. Stiffness can be muscular or joint related, both of which respond well to manual therapy followed by exercises to maintain and enhance your range of motion.