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Thoracic intervertebral joint disorders can present in several ways. The onset of symptoms may be gradual or sudden.

Anatomy of the Thoracic spine

The thoracic spine is that part of the spine located between neck and low back. It has an attachment to the 12 ribs posteriorly. A common cause of pain in this region of the spine is intervertebral (between joint) problems. This may include abnormalities of the disc between the vertebrae or abnormalities of the lateral (apophyseal) joints between each vertebrae.

Signs and symptoms of Thoracic intervertebral joint disorders

There will be tenderness over the affected vertebrae and also the surrounding spine muscles in that region. On examination there will be hypomobility (decreased movement or stiffness) of one or more intervertebral segments. Usually there is an aching pain in the area of the spine affected that may be aggravated by movement.


Your physiotherapist will be able to treat this condition. Treatment will aim to restore full mobility of the thoracic spine and reduce pain. This may involve the use of mobilizations, manipulation, active exercises, and electrotherapeutic modalities. As the muscles are also involved massage therapy would be used to correct any abnormalities. Your physiotherapist would also provide you with strengthening and stretching exercises.