Injuries to the thoracic spine – the twelve vertebrae and surrounding tissue that make up the mid-back – are less common than injuries to the cervical or lumbar spine. This is due to the relative stability of the thoracic spine, which is fairly rigid and attached to the ribs and breastbone. Still, thoracic spine pain is not unheard of, and when it happens, can be unpleasant.
Some conditions that can cause pain in the thoracic spine include ruptured discs, scoliosis, degenerative disc disease, protruding discs, and arthritis of the spine. The most common causes of injury to the thoracic spine are strain from lifting heavy objects, or accidental injury from a traumatic event, such as a car accident or sports injury. When thoracic spine pain is present, some people may choose to try chiropractic care as an alternative treatment to, or in conjunction with, traditional medical care.
Basics of Chiropractic
Chiropractic care is an alternative medical discipline that uses manual manipulation of the vertebrae and spinal joints in order to relieve pain and restore normal function to the back. In traditional chiropractic theory, these manipulations (known as “adjustments”) are necessary to the patient’s health beyond their importance to the back; early chiropractic philosophy was founded on the theory that disorders of the musculoskeletal system affect the patient’s general health via the central nervous system.
The theories and practices of chiropractic have been considered somewhat controversial since their invention in the 1890s. Many doctors consider the techniques of chiropractic to be founded on unsound science, and some consider the procedures to be risky. However, many patients do find short term relief from neck pain and back pain as a result of chiropractic treatments.
How Chiropractors Treat Thoracic Spine Problems
No matter what your condition, a chiropractic treatment plan will begin with an initial consultation with the chiropractor. During this initial meeting, the chiropractor will take a complete medical history, a thorough description of the symptoms the patient is presenting with, and make an examination. Tests such as x-rays and MRIs may also be ordered to help facilitate or confirm diagnosis. Once a diagnosis has been decided on, the chiropractor decides on a treatment plan, which is then executed over a series of sessions.
Specific techniques used in chiropractic treatments of thoracic spine ailments include:
- Adjusting from the prone position, where the patient lies flat on his or her stomach on an adjusting table.
- Adjusting from a supine position, with the patient lying flat on his or her back.
- Incline adjusting, where the chiropractor uses a bench table with attachments that allow it to be raised to a 45- or 50-degree angle.
It is important to remember that, although these techniques may bring some relief to thoracic spine conditions, chiropractic cannot fix a herniated disc, foraminal stenosis, or other spinal injuries. Also, you should consult with a physician before beginning chiropractic, or any other form of alternative therapy.
If conservative treatments do not alleviate your back pain, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn how our minimally invasive outpatient procedures can help you rediscover your life without back pain.