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Thoracic Spine Joint Dysfunction

The thoracic spine is the area of your upper back. It is defined by the ribs which attach to the vertebrae. It consists of a series of joints, discs, nerves and soft tissue attachments, all of which can be painful. The thoracic joints are common sources of pain, and are easily treated causes of pain and disability.

Thoracic Spine Joint Dysfuction

Pain and Symptoms

The pain is felt usually in the back and sometimes refers to the front of the chest.

Risk Factors

  • Poor posture
  • Lack of postural or upper limb strength
  • Occupational factors
  • Repetitive lifting and twisting activities


The diagnosis is usually made from the history and from clinical testing. Further investigations such as x-ray, MRI and ultrasound can be undertaken to confirm the diagnosis and to assess other structures.


This may include manual therapy to help loosen the tight joints and muscles. Postural education and ergonomic changes can assist in reducing ongoing stress through the thoracic spine. A Physiotherapist guided and supervised exercise program can assist to improve movement, strength and posture through the thoracic spine.

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