THORACIC SPINAL MOBILITY IN ADULTS: CLINICAL ASSESSMENTS AND EXERCISE INTERVENTION
The spine is divided into five regions namely the cervical (neck), thoracic (upper back), lumbar (lower back), sacral (pelvic area) and coccygeal (pelvic area). A lack of research investigating the upper back (thoracic spine) exists because most people experience lower back and neck pain. This leads to a gap in upper back research because many researchers investigate the spinal regions where most pain is localised. The lack of research on the upper back also leads to a lack of understanding how limited movement of the upper back can potentially influence movements of the body elsewhere and indirectly be a risk factor for injuries located elsewhere in the body such as shoulder pain. In addition, there is limited research performed to determine which clinical tests can produce good objective information about the mobility of the upper back as well as what exercises can be performed to improve the mobility of the upper back. If we can obtain good objective information with regards to the mobility of the upper back, we should be able to determine whether an intervention is effective to improve the mobility of the upper back. The purpose of this study is to determine which equipment and clinical assessments can produce good objective measurements of the upper back that are cost effective and non-invasive. In addition, this study will determine whether an exercise intervention can improve upper back mobility.