As with neck pain, pain and stiffness in the thoracic spine is usually associated with slouched posture. Keeping the back rounded for long periods increases tension on ligaments and compression on joints. A simple movement such as bending to pick up a child or an object can be the trigger that “breaks the camel’s back”. There is often associated pain on taking a deep breath, bending and twisting.

Physiotherapy treatment involves manual hands-on techniques to loosen stiff thoracic and rib joints, restore normal alignment and release soft tissue tension. This is combined with strengthening of the postural muscles that hold the back upright. A stronger back will make it easier to assume good posture for long periods.


Rib fractures are among the most common injuries to the chest. They are most frequent in the middle and lower ribs and are typically caused by impact and sometimes by violent muscle contractions. While rib fractures are quite painful, they generally are not associated with complications to internal organs and usually heal in several weeks with conservative treatment.


Physiotherapists are trained to assist patients in developing an efficient breathing pattern, as well as to clear the lungs of any secretions and encourage good ventilation. Conditions such as asthma, cystic fibrosis, bronchitis and pneumonia can be helped with physiotherapy.