top of page
  • Writer's pictureTomas Bittner

Treat shoulder and neck pain with thoracic spine mobility

Updated: Oct 25, 2020

Thoracic spine is comprised of 12 vertebrae that make up the middle of the back. The thoracic spine is directly attached to the ribs through costo-vertebral joints at the back and the sternum (breastbone) at the front.

Although there is less movement in the thoracic spine in comparison to the cervical (neck) and lumbar (lower back) spine,

reduced mobility in this region has been linked with increased risk of shoulder and neck pain (1),(2). It has been reported that manipulative techniques to the thoracic spine and ribs are associated with improvement in shoulder pain and range of movement (3). Treating the movement restrictions in the upper thoracic spine has been also shown to be superior to treatment directly into the cervical spine (neck) in patients with neck pain (4).

As an osteopath I always assess and treat the thoracic spine in patients presenting with shoulder or neck pain. We know this is an effective approach but the challenge here is how to maintain the improved range of movement after osteopathic treatment. In the following video you will find a short exercise routine to improve (or maintain improved range of motion post treatment) thoracic range of movement to help with your neck or shoulder pain.

Algarve Osteopathy is a small independent business run by UK trained osteopath Tomas Bittner. Tomas has over 11 years of experience treating wide range of patients including international athletes, professional dancers and West End performers. Algarve Osteopathy provides osteopathic treatment, clinical Pilates and sports massage services in Tavira in East Algarve.


(1) Joshi S1, Balthillaya G1, Neelapala R1: Thoracic Posture and Mobility in Mechanical Neck Pain Population: A Review of the Literature, 2019 15(5) [PubMed][Google Scholar]

(2) Norlander S, Nordgren B. Clinical symptoms related to musculoskeletal neck-shoulder pain and mobility in the cervico-thoracic spine.Scand J Rehabil Med.1998;30:243–251.[PubMed][Google Scholar]

(3) Sturnce, PT, DSc, OCS, FAAOMPT, Walker, PT, DSc, OCS, FAAOMPT, Boyles, PT, DSc, OCS, FAAOMPT et al: The Immediate Effect of Thoracic Spine and Rib Manipulation on Subjects with Primary Complains of Shoulder pain, 2009, 17(4) [PubMed][Google Scholar]

(4) Masaracchio, Kirker, States et al.: Thoracic spine manipulation for the management of mechanical neck pain: A systematic review and meta-analysis, (3) 2019 [Plos One Online] []

470 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page