Skip to Main Content

We have a new app!

Take the Access library with you wherever you go—easy access to books, videos, images, podcasts, personalized features, and more.

Download the Access App here: iOS and Android. Learn more here!



  1. Discuss common injuries and conditions that occur to the thorax, abdomen, and spine.

  2. Demonstrate the application of taping, wrapping, bracing, and padding techniques for the thorax, abdomen, and spine when preventing, treating, and rehabilitating injuries.

  3. Discuss and demonstrate appropriate taping, wrapping, bracing, and padding techniques for the thorax, abdomen, and spine within a therapeutic exercise program.


Injury to the thorax, abdomen, and spine can occur during athletic and work activities as a result of acute and chronic forces, stresses, and movements. Direct and indirect forces can cause a contusion, fracture, and costochondral injury. Sprains can occur from excessive range of motion and strains from violent muscular movements and overload. Participation in collision and contact sports can predispose an athlete to brachial plexus and overuse injuries and conditions of the spine, all of which are caused by excessive range of motion, compression, and repetitive stress. Common injuries to the thorax, abdomen, and spine include:

  • Contusions

  • Sprains

  • Strains

  • Fractures

  • Costochondral injury

  • Brachial plexus injury

  • Overuse injuries and conditions


Contusions to the thorax, abdomen, and spine are the result of compressive forces and can involve soft tissue and/or bony structures. A direct blow to the thorax can result in a contusion of the ribs, breasts, and intercostal musculature (Illustrations 12–1 and 12–2). Although uncommon in sports, a severe fall on the ground or on rigid sports equipment may cause a pulmonary contusion. A pulmonary contusion can result, for example, as a football wide receiver is violently tackled by two defensive backs on the sideline, landing on unattended helmets near the benches. Contusions of the abdominal wall and kidneys are more likely to occur in collision sports and in sport and work activities with high-speed projectiles.20 Because of external exposure, the male genitalia can be injured by direct forces. These injuries are common in athletic activities as a result of being kicked or struck with equipment. The thoracic and/or lumbar areas are susceptible to contusions in sports that do not require protective padding over these areas, such as basketball, football, and soccer. A contusion to the right lumbar musculature can occur, for instance, when a right-handed football quarterback releases the ball for a pass downfield and is struck with an opponent's shoulder pads (Illustration 12–3). A fall from a height or a direct blow can lead to a contusion of the coccyx (Illustration 12–4).

Illustration 12–1

Bones of the anterior thorax.

Illustration 12–2

Superficial and deep muscles of the anterior thorax and abdomen.

Illustration 12–3

Superficial and deep muscles of the posterior thorax and spine.

Pop-up div Successfully Displayed

This div only appears when the trigger link is hovered over. Otherwise it is hidden from view.