Sue Falsone: Cervical Thoracic Anatomy

You can’t mention cervical thoracic anatomy without talking about everything around the region, and that’s what Sue Falsone gives you in this short clip discussing structure and function.

Excerpted from Sue Falsone: The Cervical Thoracic Junction

I want you to bust out your anatomy book and check out the cervical thoracic junction area.

Again, we need to look at all the areas around it, so we’re looking at the cervical spine, the thoracic spine, the shoulder girdle (specifically the scapula) and how it relates to the thoracic spine.

We’re looking at the clavicle. We’re looking at the ribs, especially the upper ribs.

All of these different things attach in and around this area and directly affect the cervical thoracic junction. Not even mentioning or going down toward the lumbar spine or really getting into the upper cervical areas, we’re going to focus on that one area where you know nothing is isolative.

We’re going to be focusing on this one area today, but obviously, it’s all connected, so we’re going to need to branch out. The thing with the cervical thoracic junction: it can be really complicated because we have so many important structures running in and around this area.

We have a ton of blood vessels. We have a ton of nerves. Our brachial plexus is in this area.

There are many very important (and probably some potentially scary) structures that run through this area. We need to be able to understand the cervical thoracic anatomy, respect that anatomy and figure out what we need to do in order to help people with pain and tension in this area, which, quite frankly, is a lot of our patients.

To start, we’re going to look at the specific vertebrae of the cervical spine and the thoracic spine. Take a look at your anatomy book and just notice the difference in size of the vertebral body between C-3 and C-7. Even though these are both cervical vertebrae, they look completely different. The vertebral body of C-7 is so much bigger, and the vertebral bodies of the cervical spine get progressively bigger as we go down.

That’s because the lower in the cervical spine we go, the more weight of the head the neck needs to support, so there’s a huge change in the shape of these bones. When you look at the shape of C-7 and compare that to the shape of T-1, T-2 and T-3, they look very similar. We need to keep in mind that our lower cervical spine really functions more similarly to the upper thoracic spine.

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Sue Falsone The Cervical Thoracic Junction

If you are interested in Sue’s work with athletes, you can learn more in her book, Bridging the Gap from Rehab to Performance.

Sue Falsone Bridging the Gap