Thoracic spine function: assessment and self management

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Louis Howe with Paul Read

Thoracic spine function is vital in preserving health to the glenohumeral joint, reducing the risk for shoulder joint pathology. Ideal alignment of the thorax not only supports efficient kinematics of the scapulothoracic joint, but also supports the force development of key stabilising muscles that influence the shoulder complex. This article will present evidence about the thorax and its influence on shoulder performance, as well as providing methods to screen and self-manage the thoracic spine in order to optimise function at the shoulder girdle.

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