Overhead athletes are susceptible to many injuries, particularly in the shoulder and lumbar spine. Due to the heterogeneity of these two regional injuries, it is difficult to pinpoint the exact origin. A potential contributing factor that should be thoroughly evaluated is the thoracic spine. It can be challenging to quantify exactly how much thoracic spine mobility or lack thereof plays a role toward injury. Despite this, when examining mechanics of an overhead athlete, if neuromuscular control of the thorax is impaired, adjacent motion segments often take the brunt of the required movements. This article addresses the need to incorporate the thoracic spine when analyzing the entire kinetic chain. Clinical pearls regarding thoracic neuromuscular control and rehabilitation were explored, as well as a review of recent literature. Further investigation of thoracic spine therapeutic interventions should be considered when treating overhead athletes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health