The twelve vertebrae in the upper back, where the ribs are attached, is known as the thoracic spine. Pain in this area is experienced in sharp stabs and exacerbated when you inhale deeply, hence the condition is frequently misdiagnosed as angina and other heart conditions.
Thoracic Pain Causes
Though relatively common, thoracic pain remains les studied than neck or lower back pain and its causes are not known conclusively. The condition is theorized to begin from muscular irritation or problems with the invertebral discs, ribs, spinal facet joints or soft tissue. It is also worth noting that interscapular pain, or pain from the area between the shoulders, is referred to the lower spine. Predisposing factors include poor posture, repetitive and overuse injuries, poor weight-bearing techniques or trauma such as a car accident or fall. As the ribs connect to this section of the vertebrae, rigidity of the local muscles is often felt as pain throughout the ribs, one aggravated by breathing, twisting and bending the spine.
Given the wide-reaching nature of the pain experienced with this condition, a professional assessment is crucial in order to rule out any more urgent medical conditions and focus on your recovery.
Treatment can involve a variety of methods according to your needs, including muscle relaxation techniques, posture-correction exercises together with practical mobilisations and energizing manipulations of the spine; mobilisations of the rigid facet joints in particular can effectively reduce the stress on the ribs and attendant chest pain. Having resolved your pain, the pivotal priority is to right any postural abnormalities to prevent recurrent incidents of the condition in future.
We would always advise that you request a Workstation risk Assessment form your employer if you spend the majority of your working week in a single position, as there are increased odds your condition is related to the set-up of your workplace.
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