Thoracic Segmental Restriction

Symptoms by body part:

Thoracic Spine (Upper-Mid-Back)
Acute Pain
Reduction in Range of Motion

Segmental Restrictions are one of the most common causes of neck and back pain.  They are defined as regions of the spine that have lost normal motion and are functioning in an abnormal plane or axis, often causing inflammation to the surrounding tissue and tightness of spinal stabilizing muscles and larger muscles in that region.  This is the most common cause of neck and back pain that we see in our office.  However, other conditions such as tumor, disc herniation, referred pain, fracture, myelitis and others must first be ruled out, which is why careful examination by a Chiropractic Neurologist is essential in determining the cause of your pain.  Once we have diagnosed your condition and a referral is not necessary, a treatment plan will be formulated to best serve your individual needs.

Common Symptoms

  • Pain in the affected region
  • Inflammation of the surrounding tissue (painful to touch)
  • Reduction in Range of Motion (often associated with tightness of muscles or a pinching sensation)
  • Tension within the muscles
  • Referred pain

How does a segmental restriction affect your brain and body?

Receptors(signaling structures) within your joints and muscles that comprise every region of your spine, shoulder, elbow, hip, knee et cetera are primary activators of your brain.  Through various sensory pathways (Dorsal Column Medial Lemniscus, Spinothalamic, spinocerebellar tracts) we send information to our brain that serves as a monitor of position sense (posture), muscles stretching and pain that keep us from falling over, damaging our tissue or altering our brain's spatial oritenation at any given time.  As it is performing this, it is simultaneously activating gene expression within the neurons from the receptor activated along its pathway all the way up to the grey matter within our brain (region that contain's our neuron cell bodies).  As if that wasn't enough, we then process the information that was received (feedback) and send an appropriate signal back down to the region that originally signaled along the corticospinal, vestibulospinal or reticulospinal pathways to make the necessary shift, utilizing the vestibular system, brain stem, visual system, thalamas, basal ganglia and cortex to glean as much information to perform the best job possible.  In summary, segmental restriction has dire consequences within the circuitry of our nervous system, affecting many systems.  


Chiropractic care with the appropriate physical rehab, whether done by your Chiropractor, or by a Physical Therapist is essential for treatment and recovery. Treatment for these conditions ensures that they will not turn into disc injuries, chronic pain patterns, Migraines/Headaches, dizziness/vertigo, sciatica, cortical changes (brain changes) and compensation in other regions of your spine, extremities (knees, hips, ankles, shoulders, elbows, wrist) and overall posture.