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Thoracic Spinal Manipulative Therapy for Neck Pain

Thoracic Spinal Manipulative Therapy for Neck Pain

By: Dr. Justin Malik

Neck pain is a common condition treated by chiropractors and physiotherapists. A source of neck pain that is often overlooked is the thoracic spine region in the upper back and in between your shoulder blades. There is a biomechanical relationship between the thoracic spine and the neck. Restriction and decreased mobility of the thoracic spine joints create neck disorders.

Recent research has shown clinically significant improvement of neck pain and range of motion with thoracic spinal manipulative therapy. This is a highly skilled form of therapy that involves locating restricted spinal segments and gently applying a thrust into the joints to restore mobility. Individuals who will benefit most are those with pain less than 30 days duration, pain not radiating past the shoulder, and no aggravation of symptoms when looking up. This is an effective therapy with minimal side effects and is also a great option for individuals who can not receive manipulation/mobilization to their neck.

At Yonge Street Physiotherapy in Markham, your healthcare providers will assess and determine if you are a candidate for therapy. Your treatment will also place an emphasis on rehabilitation exercises and ergonomic advice to prevent further painful episodes.


Cleland(2005). Immediate effects of thoracic manipulation in patients with neck pain: a randomized clinical trial. Manual Therapy. 10:127-135

Cleland and Fritz (2007). Development of a Clinical Prediction Rule for Guiding Treatment of a Subgroup of Patients With Neck Pain: Use of Thoracic Spine Manipulation, Exercise, and Patient Education. Physical Therapy. 87(1):9-23

Cleland (2007). Short-Term Effects of Thrust Versus Nonthrust Mobilization/Manipulation Directed at the Thoracic Spine in Patients With Neck Pain: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Physical Therapy.87(4):431-440

Walser (2009). The Effectiveness of Thoracic Spine Manipulation for the Management of Musculoskeletal Conditions: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials. The Journal of Manual and Manipulative Therapy. 17(4):237-246

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