Call or Text: : 775-329-4402

The Thoracic Spine: A Potential Cause of Neck Pain

If you’re experiencing neck pain, it’s easy to assume that the source of the discomfort is in your neck itself. However, recent research suggests that the thoracic spine, or mid-back, may actually play a significant role in causing or contributing to neck pain. As we spend more time looking at screens and adopting poor posture, conditions like forward head posture become more common. This puts strain on the upper trapezius muscles, which connect the back of the neck and upper back, leading to inflammation and pain. In fact, studies have found a link between abnormal mid-back posture and neck pain. Fortunately, chiropractic treatment aimed at improving function in the thoracic spine has been shown to be highly effective in reducing neck pain and disability. So if you visit a doctor of chiropractic for neck pain, don’t be surprised if your treatment plan includes a mid-back adjustment. It may be just what you need to find relief and get back to your normal activities.

The Thoracic Spine: A Potential Cause of Neck Pain

The Thoracic Spine and Neck Pain

Neck pain is a common condition and one of the top reasons why patients seek chiropractic care. “Mechanical neck pain” is a classification used to describe pain in the cervical spine or cervicothoracic junction that is worsened or triggered by movement or palpation of the neck muscles. While it may seem logical to attribute neck pain solely to dysfunction in the neck, there is evidence to suggest that the thoracic spine, or mid-back, can also play a role in the development of neck pain.

Definition of mechanical neck pain

Mechanical neck pain refers to pain that arises from the structures of the neck, such as the ligaments, muscles, and joints. It is typically exacerbated by movement or palpation and may be experienced as a dull ache, stiffness, or sharp pain. This type of neck pain is often related to poor posture, muscle strain, or degenerative changes in the cervical spine.

Common triggers of neck pain

Neck pain can be triggered or worsened by a variety of factors, including poor posture, prolonged sitting or standing, repetitive movements, trauma or injury, stress, and muscle tension. Additionally, activities such as computer work, driving, and excessive phone use can contribute to the development of neck pain.

Role of the thoracic spine in neck pain

Recent research suggests that the thoracic spine, or mid-back, may contribute to or even be the source of neck pain in some patients. As people spend more time engaged in activities that involve looking at screens, postural abnormalities like forward head posture have become increasingly common. Forward head posture occurs when the head rests in front of the shoulders, placing increased strain on the upper trapezius muscles that connect the neck and the upper back. This prolonged strain can lead to inflammation, which manifests as neck pain.

A study conducted in April 2023 examined 148 adults, half of whom had neck pain. The study found an association between abnormal mid-back posture and neck pain, further supporting the notion that dysfunction in the thoracic spine can contribute to neck pain.

Another study from December 2022 discovered that individuals with neck pain are more likely to exhibit hypermobility in the upper thoracic region. Hypermobility refers to excessive movement or instability in a joint. The findings of this study suggest that addressing hypermobility in the upper thoracic region may be important in managing neck pain.

Hypermobility in the Upper Thoracic Region

Connection between neck pain and hypermobility

The upper thoracic region refers to the area of the spine located between the shoulder blades and the lower neck. Hypermobility in this region can lead to increased stress on the neck, potentially causing or exacerbating neck pain. Hypermobile joints are more prone to injury and may result in chronic pain and instability.

Research findings on hypermobility in the upper thoracic region

Research has shown a correlation between hypermobility in the upper thoracic region and neck pain. A study published in December 2022 found that individuals with neck pain were more likely to exhibit hypermobility in this specific area. These findings suggest that addressing hypermobility in the upper thoracic region may be crucial in the management of neck pain.

Implications for neck pain management

Understanding the relationship between hypermobility in the upper thoracic region and neck pain can lead to more effective treatment strategies. By targeting the hypermobility and improving stability in the thoracic spine, healthcare professionals, including chiropractors, can help alleviate neck pain and improve overall function.

The Thoracic Spine: A Potential Cause of Neck Pain

Benefits of Thoracic Thrust Manipulation

Definition and explanation of thoracic thrust manipulation

Thoracic thrust manipulation is a treatment technique performed by chiropractors to address dysfunction in the thoracic spine. It involves applying a high-velocity, low-amplitude force to specific vertebrae to restore proper alignment and mobility. This manipulation is typically performed with the patient lying face-down on a treatment table.

Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

In order to evaluate the effectiveness of thoracic thrust manipulation for neck pain, a systematic review and meta-analysis of eight randomized controlled trials (RCTs) was conducted. These studies, published between 2010 and 2020, included a total of 457 patients.

Significant reduction in neck pain and disability

The analysis of these studies revealed that thoracic thrust manipulation led to a significant reduction in neck pain and disability compared to other treatment options, including non-thrust manipulation, mobilization, strengthening exercises, infrared therapy, placebo, or no treatment. These findings provide strong evidence that thoracic spine manipulation is an effective intervention for patients with mechanical neck pain. Incorporating thoracic thrust manipulation into a multimodal approach for managing neck pain can lead to improved outcomes for patients.

Multimodal Approach for Managing Neck Pain

Considering the whole patient in chiropractic care

When seeking chiropractic care for neck pain, it is important to address the whole patient rather than focusing solely on the area of chief complaint. Chiropractors are trained to evaluate the entire musculoskeletal system, including the spine, joints, and muscles. By taking a holistic approach, healthcare professionals can identify and address any underlying issues that may be contributing to neck pain.

Contributions of dysfunctional mid-back to other conditions

Dysfunction in the mid-back has been found to contribute not only to neck pain but also to other conditions such as shoulder impingement syndrome and low back pain. By addressing the dysfunction in the mid-back, chiropractors can alleviate symptoms in other areas of the body. This highlights the importance of comprehensive evaluation and treatment when managing neck pain.

The importance of mid-back adjustments in neck pain treatment

As mentioned earlier, research has demonstrated the association between abnormal mid-back posture and neck pain. Therefore, mid-back adjustments should be considered an integral part of neck pain treatment. By applying appropriate chiropractic techniques, healthcare professionals can restore proper alignment and function in the mid-back, helping to alleviate neck pain and improve overall well-being.

ChiroTrust Pledge and Chiropractic Care

Explanation of the ChiroTrust Pledge

The ChiroTrust Pledge is an agreement taken by many doctors of chiropractic to provide convenient, affordable, and mainstream chiropractic care to their patients. The pledge also commits healthcare professionals to avoiding unnecessary long-term treatment plans and therapies. Chiropractors who have taken the ChiroTrust Pledge prioritize the well-being and satisfaction of their patients.

Benefits of convenient, affordable, and mainstream chiropractic care

The ChiroTrust Pledge emphasizes the accessibility and affordability of chiropractic care. By providing care that is convenient and within reach for patients, chiropractors can ensure that individuals receive the treatment they need in a timely manner. ChiroTrust doctors also employ mainstream chiropractic techniques that have been proven effective, ensuring that patients receive care that is backed by evidence and widely recognized.

Avoiding unnecessary long-term treatment plans and therapies

One of the key promises of the ChiroTrust Pledge is the commitment to avoiding unnecessary long-term treatment plans and therapies. This means that chiropractors who have taken the pledge prioritize evidence-based care and do not recommend unnecessary or prolonged treatment. This approach helps to provide patients with the most efficient and effective care possible, reducing the time and cost associated with long-term treatment plans.

Conclusion

Neck pain is a common condition that can significantly impact a person’s quality of life. While mechanical neck pain is typically associated with dysfunction in the neck itself, recent research has highlighted the importance of the thoracic spine in the development and management of neck pain. Abnormalities in posture, hypermobility in the upper thoracic region, and dysfunction in the mid-back can all contribute to neck pain. Incorporating thoracic thrust manipulation and a multimodal approach that considers the whole patient can lead to improved outcomes and alleviate neck pain. By adhering to the ChiroTrust Pledge, chiropractors ensure that patients receive affordable, convenient, and evidence-based care that focuses on their specific needs. By addressing the underlying causes of neck pain and providing targeted treatment, individuals can experience relief and return to their normal activities.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *