Do you get upper back or chest pain when breathing or twisting?

A common injury we see in our clinics is acute mid back or thoracic spine pain with referral around into the ribs.

This type of injury commonly occurs during twisting activities and unexpected movements when lifting or even twisting awkwardly when sneezing.

Our patients come in complaining of sharp pain between the shoulder blades, associated with muscle spasm and pain referral. Pain is often increased with deep breathing or twisting motions.

The main cause of this problem is injury to the small joints either side of the spine.

Risk factors for the development of this problem include:

  • Poor seated posture – or spending too long sitting.
  • Limited thoracic extension – due to slouching posture.
  • Reduced mid back rotation – again due to prolonged sitting and not enough movement of these joints.
  • Muscle imbalance between the chest muscles and the back muscles.

Physiotherapy treatment for this injury includes mobilization of the stiff and injured joints, massage, dry needling and stretching to help settle the affected area. A rehabilitation program is then devised to treat the risk factors and causes of the injury.

To help prevent this happening to you try these simple exercises.

  • Exercise #1: Lie over a rolled up towel on the floor placed horizontally across your back. Stretch your arms up over your head and feel the gentle stretch as your encourage your thoracic to extend. Hold each position for 30 seconds and try to do 3 levels of your back.


  • Exercise #2: If you have a job which requires that you sit for more than 20 minutes at a time complete 10 rotations to each side holding for about five seconds moving into your stiffness to loosen up these joints of your mid-back



  • Exercise #3: Lie on your back on a Swiss Ball, then relax the arms out to the side at 90 degrees and keep them there for 30 seconds – rest for 30 seconds and repeat three times.


  • Exercise #4: Sitting or standing, interlock hands behind head, tip elbow up, other elbow down. Do not allow body to lean.


If you do experience this type of injury please seek treatment as soon as possible, for the earlier treatment is provided – the better chance of a fast and full recovery.

If you need help with your back pain – please give us a call on 8987 0296 and get your problem fixed now so that you can move better and feel better!


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