Spine Health Part 2: The Importance Of The Thoracic Spine

The thoracic spine is the longest region of the spine, and it runs from the base of the neck all the way down to your abdomen. Thoracic spine pain is back pain located in your upper back, about the level of your shoulders and through your mid back, to the bottom of your rib cage.

The main role of the thoracic spine is to hold the rib cage and the vital organs within it. It’s pretty important to keep your heart and lungs protected and healthy, which means it’s equally important to maintain the health of your thoracic spine! Continue reading to learn more about the anatomy of the thoracic spine as well as causes and treatment for thoracic spine pain. And if you’re interested in working with one of our Fort Collins chiropractors, contact Revelation Chiropractic today!

Role of the Thoracic Spine

Like all parts of the spine, the thoracic spine must protect the spinal cord. The spinal cord is contained within the vertebrae, and the bone protects it from being damaged.

Along with protecting the spinal cord and nerves, the thoracic spine anchors the rib cage. The thoracic spine is the only part of the spine connected to the rib cage, and it is a vital part of protecting the vital organs that are contained within the chest, including the heart and lungs.

While the cervical spine (neck) and the lumbar spine (lower back) are both built for flexibility and mobility, the thoracic spine is intended to provide your back, chest, and upper body with stability. As such, the thoracic spine has less mobility and the range of motion varies throughout the length of this portion. Most of the thoracic spine is able to move forward and backward, but has less rotational capability.

Causes Of Thoracic Spine Pain

Pain in your upper back is commonly caused by tension or poor posture. For example, if you sit with your head forward looking at a screen, your upper back can become strained. This type of pain is caused by muscle tightness, and a chiropractor can both realign the spine and teach you stretches and exercises to improve your posture. There are a lot of muscles that attach to the thoracic, including the muscles that allow you to move your shoulders and arms. A big sign of poor posture is slumping shoulders, which is directly related to thoracic spine health.

You can also experience pain based on dysfunction within the joints themselves. For example, cartilage tears and general wear and tear can develop where the vertebrae meet. You can also have a herniated or degenerative disc. It is also possible for a rib to become misaligned and cause pain within the thoracic spine. Pain caused by trauma (like a car accident) can also cause thoracic spine pain. If you are experiencing back pain of any kind, our Fort Collins chiropractors can help.

The way that you sleep may also be the cause of your thoracic back pain. If you often fall asleep in recliners or on the couch, the posture may be the cause of your pain.


Most of the clients that come in to Revelation Chiropractic are experiencing neck pain or lower back pain. Much fewer people have thoracic spine pain, and, as such, there are fewer treatment options, especially at chiropractors who practice traditional adjustment methods. Our office specializes in Torque Release Technique, which allows us to provide much more targeted treatment, even to the thoracic spine.

Revelation Chiropractic Fort Collins

Our team of chiropractors is here to help you find relief from back pain, whether you’re experiencing pain within your thoracic spine, rib cage, or somewhere else in your body. We’re passionate about the power of chiropractic adjustments and we’ve seen how it can change lives!

We started our chiropractic practice in order to help people live happier, healthier, pain-free lives. We specialize in the Torque Release Technique to align your spine without any loud popping or cracking and all of our adjustments are gentle and performed on a fully relaxed spine. Schedule a consultation today and discover the difference chiropractic adjustments can make in your life!

Call Now Button