Thoracic (Mid Back) Pain Physical Therapy

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Physical Therapy and Thoracic Pain

Physical therapy can be both curative and preventative when it comes to any type of back pain, thoracic pain included. Whether you’ve sustained an  injury, are affected by mid-back pain from a thoracic condition or you just want some useful ways to maintain good spine health and to prevent back pain in the future, physical therapy is one helpful tool.

Thoracic Pain Treatments – Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is often among the first treatment recommendations from physicians when a patient presents with thoracic pain, and sometimes as therapeutic treatment for those who have already undergone spine surgery. As a thoracic pain treatment, physical therapy can help you heal more quickly and reduce the risk of further injury later on. A good physical therapist can help you to improve function and learn about the tools necessary for good spine health.

Is Physical Therapy the Right Thoracic Pain Treatment for You?

Patients who suffer from thoracic spine pain are frequently referred to physical therapists for consultation and treatment as an alternative to more aggressive treatments like narcotics or surgery. The purpose of physical therapy is to decrease the mid back pain, improve function, and to teach the patient techniques that can alleviate thoracic spine pain.

Physical therapy can be passive (includes procedures performed on the patient) or active (exercises or other activities performed by the patient).

Thoracic spine pain is treated through physical therapy using methods that are designed to support the musculature of the mid back along with the stomach muscles. The stomach muscles provide crucial support by generating pressure on the spine and helping the muscles in the back to stabilize the spine. The stronger the core muscles, the less pressure that is exerted on the spinal joints and discs.

Medical research strongly suggests that physical therapy is effective in treating thoracic spine pain. Sometimes, back pain will get better on its own, but exercise can indisputably improve function and prevent future occurrences of thoracic pain.

Physical therapy is used as an alternative to spine surgery, and also as a means of support both before and after surgery if it is needed. The reason for this is simple- when patients are in good physical shape, surgical recovery is easier. Unless there are medical reasons why the patient should not exercise before or after surgery, physical therapy can help the thoracic pain healing process.

Of course, if you are scheduled for spine surgery, you should consult your doctor before beginning any sort of pre- or post-surgical physical therapy. Certain conditions, like tumors or fractures, could rule out physical therapy. Barring exceptional circumstances, though, patients who follow an exercise program usually experience less discomfort and better recovery after spinal surgery.

The most effective spine exercises are stretching and stabilization exercises. Effective stretching of the muscles helps to restore a normal range-of-motion after surgery and prevents shrinking of the muscles. Stabilization exercises may involve balancing machines or exercise balls. The idea is to strengthen the spine’s secondary muscles, and support it through a variety of movements. Core strengthening, like crunches, sit-ups and leg raises are also important for abdominal muscles that support the thoracic spine.

At a Glance: Physical Therapy as a Thoracic Pain Treatment

  • Physical therapy can help patients experiencing thoracic pain both as a means to avoid surgery and also as a healing aid post-spine surgery
  • Physical therapy can sometimes prevent the need for back surgery in the future if it is able to help resolve the back pain
  • Physical therapy can include both passive and active exercises and activities
  • Regular exercise is the best type of therapy you can offer your back

Health Tips For Low Back

  • A strong back is a healthy back, so exercise unless your doctor advises against it
  • Try not to injure your back by carrying weight unevenly
  • Be careful on slippery surfaces – you don’t want to risk a traumatic injury to the spine by a hard fall
  • Use a lumbar pillow at night if back pain prevents you from getting a good night’s sleep

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