• Dr. Kristen Mitteness

Is Your Neck Pain Coming From Your Mid Back?

Updated: Sep 30

This research summary comes from the 2011 research review paper titled, "Thoracic spine thrust manipulation improves pain, range of motion, and self-reported function in patients with mechanical neck pain: a systematic review."

Spinal movement is constantly being researched. We know the spine houses the spinal cord which allows the nerves to safely go from your brain to the rest of your body and back. When your body moves well, your brain receives and sends useful and effective information. This paper found that "Thoracic spine thrust manipulation may provide short-term improvement in patients with acute or subacute mechanical neck pain." You have probably noticed (and I see in my practice every day) that where you FEEL pain is not always where the PROBLEM is. Have you ever experienced mid back pain when you have a stomach ache? The problem isn't with your back, it's with your stomach or digestive system. But, like I said, the pain isn't always where the problem is. It's simply your body's signal that there is something wrong. Referral pain is well known. Unfortunately, I have experienced the extreme version of this. This is why when I get a patient with a specific problem, I check their entire spine. If I only check where their pain is, I might totally miss the root problem! And then we're not actually fixing what is going on. And don't forget about compensation. Have you ever sprained your ankle, started walking differently for a while and ended up with a completely new problem? Maybe low back pain or knee pain on the opposite side? It happens. If we are out of balance, our bodies will always compensate. Sometimes for the better and sometimes for worse. Experiencing neck pain? A mid back adjustment might be exactly what you need. In addition to stretching your neck and shoulders, consider mobilizing your mid back, too.

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