Thoracic ring approach was developed by Canadian physio Lj Lee. The thoracic spine and ribs when not functioning optimally often lead to failure elsewhere – cervical spine, pelvis or hip.
The thoracic spine is not as inherently stable as once thought. There are muscles that attach from the thorax to the cervical spine, the lumbar spine and pelvis. Hence the integral role the thorax plays in load transfer and efficient movement.
The technique assesses the three-dimensional functions of the thoracic spine and ribs and helps to train the segmental controls of the thoracic spine. Through this approach we treat pain and disfunction in the thorax as well as elsewhere it impacts.
Dysfunction of the thorax often leads to failure elsewhere in the body – cervical spine, pelvis, hip or anywhere else where load transfer becomes non-optimal. The thorax is essential in optimal function of the body as a whole.
The thoracic spine is the largest region of the spine and although it has been commonly taught that it is inherently stable, this is not in fact true. There are muscles that attach from the thorax to the cervical spine, lumbar spine and the pelvis. Therefore the thorax is essential in the transfer of loads between the different regions and this is another reason why it is so integral to controlled efficient movement.
Lj has developed a technique for assessing the function of the thoracic spine together with the ribs and instead of only assessing from the back , this technique assesses the function of each rib, the sternum and the adjacent two vertebrae to which it attaches- the functional unit called the “thoracic ring”. She used the research into lumbar, pelvic and cervical stability training and developed a system for training the segmental control of the thoracic spine.
Using this approach we not only treat pain and dysfunction of the thorax, but also assess whether dysfunction in this region is the underlying cause of pain or dysfunction elsewhere.