Thoracic Spine Exercise Prescription
This blog is a shortened version of a review from the June 2020 issue of Physio Network and highlights a study on “Thoracic Spine Exercise Prescription in Sport”, reviewed by Travis Pollen.
STUDY: Clinical reasoning framework for thoracic spine exercise prescription in sport: a systematic review and narrative synthesis – Heneghan et al. March 2020
- The thoracic spine is a critical component of the kinetic chain during sport. It serves as a link between the lumbar and cervical regions as well as the connection to the upper extremity
- It also provides the majority of rotational range of motion through the trunk
- The purpose of this systematic review was to create a collection of thoracic spine exercises for athletes and categorize the exercises based on the 4 intended adaptations
- The authors searched several databases as well as social media for exercises that target the thoracic spine in adult athletes
- Each exercise they identified was categorized in 1 of the 4 groups
- The search resulted in 38 exercises
- The overall level of evidence was of low quality as a result of being derived mostly from expert opinion
- In addition to the usual databases like PubMed and Google Scholar, the authors expanded their search to social media, which is not considered a trustworthy source of evidence
- However, the authors chose this strategy for 2 reasons:
- There is a lack of information on thoracic spine exercise prescription in the scientific literature
- Including social media may better represent the breadth of exercises that practitioners use in the field
It’s important to note that this exercise list is not exhaustive
- Proper function of the thoracic spine is important for overall spine and upper extremity performance, so this adaptation-based list of exercises may be a helpful resource to practitioners when prescribing exercises for patients
- Given the limited scientific evidence, practitioners should be aware that the effectiveness of these exercises for rehabilitation is largely unknown
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