Thoracic Ring Approach, Physiotherapy Milsons Point

The Thoracic Ring Approach may be the solution to help your persisting problem.

At Physio Therapy Yoga we believe in the whole-body approach towards treatment – and the Thoracic Ring Theory shows why we do.

 A Thorax Ring is made up of a left and right rib, the front sternum, and two veretbrae at the back (the rib attaches between). Each ring has 13 joints and the whole ‘rib cage’ has 136 joints in allowing for movements in 3 dimensions.

There are 10 complete thoracic rings starting from the first thoracic ring above the collar bone, down to the 10 thoracic ring at the bottom of your rib cage. There are two more incomplete rings, ribs 11 and 12. The thorax as a whole behaves much like a slinky, it is not a “cage”.

In 2010 the osteo-biomechanics of the ribcage was studied by LJ Lee who published her PhD proving the thorax was flexible and had relied on neuromuscular control and muscular balance to function well. She showed how misalignment, or disruption of normal patterns of movement and muscular imbalance, caused overload in other areas of the body (compensating) and eventually injury or pain.

 The shoulder blades sit on top of the thoracic rings and have many muscular attachments to the thoracic rings, making shoulder movement dependent on your thoracic ring position and mobility. The neck also depends on thoracic ring mobility as lots of neck muscles connect into the upper rib rings. As well, muscles travel down from the thorax to the lower back. The position of the thorax will even influence forces on the feet and ankles.

 So what does all this mean? It shows the thorax may be the underlying cause of problems elsewhere in the body – even the feet. You may not feel any thoracic pain, but there could be impairments in the thorax that cause dysfunction or pain in other parts of the body.

Read more about treating thoracic rings. 

How do you realign your thoracic rings?

When your rings are out of alignment they can alter your whole body’s balance, alter the pull of muscles to your neck, shoulders , and down to your lower back and pelvis. When they are stiff they can even affect the function of your abdominal muscles.


Many people with prolonged foot, knee, shoulder, low back pain and even headaches have a thoracic ring imbalance. We teach you how to correct muscular imbalances and realign your rings here at Physio therapy Yoga.

Case Study: An office worker presents with a sore neck and shoulder. She uses a mouse for 8 hours a day. Her dominant shoulder is forward of her torso. On palpation her 3rd, 4th and 5th thoracic rings feel more prominent under her arm. You may feel one or mor rebs out of alignment by running your hand up your rib cage. The muscle causing this is the pec minor muscle.

It can cause these ribs to stop rotating as they should and then the lower back or neck has to compensate.  Because of over-movement in some areas and under-movement in others, pain results elsewhere in the body.

“The thorax plays a role in optimal function of the whole of the body and optimal health of the whole person.”

Dr. LJ Lee, Canada.

The root cause of pain that is not going away can be thoracic ring misalignment.

Treating thoracic rings requires years of further training to understand the interrelationships between thoracic rings and the rest of the body.  A-J at Physio Therapy Yoga in Milsons Point can show you how to correct your alignment to restore normal movement to relieve your pain.

The Thorax or Rib Cage has 3 Major Functions:

Treatment involves identifying which rings are dysfunctional and teaching you how to realign them and restore normal function.

The thoracic rings are realigned gently by the therapist’s hands, sometimes dry needling or laser are used to relax the muscles, and you are taught cues to guide you how to correct them yourself. Ultimately you will feel good in your body when they are realigned.

Sometimes another part of your body is causing the thoracic rings to be out of alignment. A-J as an experinced Physio in this method can determine which is the “driver”(cause. 

Here at Physio Therapy Yoga in Milsons Point, Sydney we treat thoracic rings and provide ongoing support to teach you how to maintain good alignment. We give you tips for managing your postural corrections.

Everything in the body is connected, particularly the in the musculoskeletal system. 

Tensegrity is “self-tensioning structures composed of rigid structures and cables, with forces of traction and compression, which form an integrated whole.” This is how our body behaves, the bones are ridgid structures and everything else is cables.