As the “backbone” of the body, the thoracic region of the back has various muscles that help support the ribcage and protect the heart and lungs from injuries. The thoracic spine’s main function is providing respiration and maintaining good posture. However, various habits can cause issues to the muscles in the thoracic spine, which leads to upper back pain and the development of trigger points. One of the thoracic muscles affected by trigger points is the serratus posterior inferior muscle. Today’s article looks at the serratus posterior inferior muscle, how trigger points affect the thoracic region of the back, and how to manage thoracic back pain associated with trigger points. We refer patients to certified providers who provide different techniques in thoracic back pain therapies associated with trigger points to aid many suffering from pain-like symptoms along the serratus posterior inferior muscle along the back. We encourage patients by referring them to our associated medical providers based on their examination when it is appropriate. We designate that education is a great solution to asking our providers profound and complex questions at the patient’s request. Dr. Alex Jimenez, D.C., notes this information as an educational service only. Disclaimer
What Is The Serratus Posterior Inferior Muscle?
Have you felt aches and pain when bending down to pick something up? What about feeling tenderness near your lower back? Or have you experienced muscle stiffness when stretching? Many of these symptoms are associated with back pain that correlates to overusing the thoracic muscles, which includes the serratus inferior posterior muscles. The serratus posterior muscles (superior and inferior) are accessory breathing muscles as part of the extrinsic muscles. The serratus posterior inferior helps with the chest cavity’s expiration, while the superior help with inspiration. Some of the functionalities that the serratus posterior inferior provides are that in a bilateral action, the inferior works with the superior muscles to reduce the extension of the thoracic vertebrae.
In contrast, the unilateral action for the serratus posterior inferior muscle helps rotate the spine to the opposite sides. Studies reveal that based on the attachment of the serratus, the posterior inferior and superior are generally considered insignificant muscles. Since the serratus posterior muscles help aid respiration to the thoracic region, it can be succumbed to trigger points or myofascial pain syndrome that can affect the thoracic part of the back.
How Trigger Points Affect The Thoracic Region?
When the serratus posterior muscles in the thoracic region are affected by myofascial pain syndrome or trigger points, it correlates to the various activities the person has been doing that cause muscle strain along the serratus inferior posterior muscle. The book, “Myofascial Pain & Dysfunction” explains that when individuals feel a nagging ache in the lower thoracic region of the back, it correlates to residual backache associated with trigger points. Studies reveal that trigger points or myofascial pain syndrome are musculoskeletal pain disorder that affects one or multiple muscles in the body. Since back pain is common, trigger points can cause hyperirritability in the muscle’s taut band due to various factors that can cause strain on the affected muscle. When it comes to the serratus posterior inferior muscle developing active trigger points, it’s due to overload strain from combined movements like lifting, turning, and reaching for items that can also affect the surrounding muscles in the thoracic region of the back.
Trigger Point Of The Week: Serratus Posterior Inferior- Video
Have you been dealing with pain in your upper back in the thoracic region? Do you experience tenderness or soreness near your ribcage? Or have you felt a twinge of pain when turning your torso? Most of these symptoms are common signs that the thoracic region is affected by trigger points along the serratus posterior inferior muscle. The video explains where the serratus posterior inferior is located while pinpointing where the trigger points are located in the thoracic region of the back. Trigger points associated with thoracic back pain mimic other chronic conditions that can cause muscle tension and strain on the upper back. Studies reveal that latent and active trigger points affecting the upper thoracic area muscles can make many individuals feel more pain than they can tolerate. This can affect how a person functions and can make them feel inadequate. However, it is possible to incorporate a variety of treatments to reduce the pain and manage trigger points from progressing further in the thoracic region of the back.
Managing Thoracic Back Pain Associated With Trigger Points
Various treatments are available to reduce the pain affecting the thoracic region of the back and even manage trigger points associated with the serratus posterior inferior muscle. Many individuals often go to a chiropractor to relieve their back pain. Chiropractors utilize their hands and various techniques to manipulate the spine and can even pinpoint where the trigger points affect the multiple muscles in the thoracic region. Chiropractors even work with other pain specialists to devise a treatment procedure to reduce the symptoms while managing thoracic back pain associated with trigger points. Studies reveal that by when pain specialists like chiropractors begin identifying proper treatment strategies for managing thoracic back pain associated with trigger points, it might be able to reduce pain and improve function for many people dealing with thoracic back pain.
The thoracic region of the back has various muscles that help support the ribcage and protect vital organs, which include the heart and the lungs. One of the muscles in the thoracic region is the serratus posterior inferior muscle, an accessory breathing muscle that helps with the chest cavity expiration and helps reduce the extension of the thoracic vertebrae. When the inferior muscle becomes overused by various movements, it can develop trigger points along the inferior muscle, causing thoracic back pain. Trigger points along the serratus inferior posterior muscles can mimic other chronic conditions that can cause symptoms of muscle tension and strain on the upper back. Luckily, various treatments have been available to reduce pain symptoms and manage thoracic back pain associated with trigger points. These treatments can bring back mobility to the thoracic region of the back without the individual being in pain.
Chen, Chee Kean, and Abd Jalil Nizar. “Myofascial Pain Syndrome in Chronic Back Pain Patients.” The Korean Journal of Pain, The Korean Pain Society, June 2011, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3111556/.
Dor, Adi, et al. “Proximal Myofascial Pain in Patients with Distal Complex Regional Pain Syndrome of the Upper Limb.” Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, U.S. National Library of Medicine, July 2019, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31563368/.
Mitchell, Brittney, et al. “Anatomy, Back, Extrinsic Muscles.” In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL), StatPearls Publishing, 25 Aug. 2022, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK537216/.
Ortega-Santiago, Ricardo, et al. “Widespread Pressure Pain Sensitivity and Referred Pain from Trigger Points in Patients with Upper Thoracic Spine Pain.” Pain Medicine (Malden, Mass.), U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1 July 2019, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30821833/.
Travell, J. G., et al. Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual: Vol. 1:Upper Half of Body. Williams & Wilkins, 1999.
Vilensky , J A, et al. “Serratus Posterior Muscles: Anatomy, Clinical Relevance, and Function.” Clinical Anatomy (New York, N.Y.), U.S. National Library of Medicine, July 2001, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11424195/.
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