Thoracic Rings Physiotherapist Milsons Point


Thoracic Rings – how do they affect your body?

The rib cage is made up of thoracic rings

Each Thoracic Ring is made up of 2 x Ribs + breastbone + vertebrae forming a ring (marked in green).

There are 10 thoracic rings in your rib cage and two floating ribs (they don’t complete a ring). The rib cage is extremely mobile, it’s not stiff like many people think. There are 13 joints in one ring and 139 joints in the rib cage. Each ring rotates relative to the ring above and below. The whole rib cage rotates a bit like a slinky. 

The Thoracic Rings provide attachment for muscles of the shoulder, neck, abdominals, and lower back. It is through these muscle connections the whole body is influenced by the alignment of your Thoracic Rings.

The torso (also called the thorax) affects your balance, the strength and mobility of your shoulders, neck and lower back, it protects your lungs, and links the upper and lower body.

Through muscular tension, misalignment, or imbalance in one or more of the thoracic rings, areas elsewhere in the body are affected. Sometimes far away from the thorax, even down to your feet.

Read more how 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 this pain that is not going away is thoracic ring misalignment.

Treating thoracic rings requires 2 years of further training, to understand the interrelationships between thoracic rings and the rest of the body.  A-J here at Physio Therapy Yoga in Milsons Point can show you how to correct your alignment and 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.