When treating back pain, chiropractors often take a holistic approach, and will assess not just the area that is painful, but take the time to look at the spine as an integrated whole. This is because a problem in one area of your spine may affect another area of your body through compensatory reactions. You might have forgotten, but you already learnt that in school! “The hip bone's connected to the back bone; the back bone's connected to the neck bone; and the neck bone's connected to the head bone.”
A recent study looked at people with a relatively common low back condition known as spondylolisthesis and sought to determine if adding treatment for their upper back would be of benefit.
Spondylolisthesis is a relatively common condition of the spine in which one of the vertebral bones slides forward. It most often occurs in the lower back and in some cases may lead to a range of symptoms including back pain, numbness, weakness, sciatica or tightness.
As predicted, the results of the study found that people who had treatment for their whole spine were better off than those who only had treatment for their low back.
Mohanty PP, et al. 2016. Mobilisation Of The Thoracic Spine In The Management Of Spondylolisthesis. Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies.