We spend a large portion of our day hunched over due to daily activities such as desk work, driving and sitting. Our thoracic spine, commonly known as our mid-back, is designed to do more than just flexing, it also rotates and extends. Good thoracic spine mobility minimizes your risk of neck, shoulder and low back pain.
For athletes, good thoracic mobility also enables you to use your body more efficiently to generate power in explosive movements. Take a golf swing or throwing for example, with good thoracic rotation and extension, you’ll prevent the lumbar spine, or lower back, from being overloaded so that you can stabilize yourself with all the force going through your body. The thoracic spine should flex, rotate and extend so that the lumbar spine can support our bodyweight and other forces. Sure, it seems that our lower back can also twist and extend but if we ask the lumbar spine to do too much of that, as well as support our weight, we’ll end up compromising our bodies and risking further injury.
Whether you’re just on a movie marathon or looking to improve your athletic abilities, it pays to have good spinal mobility.
Try these exercises to increase your thoracic spine mobility as demonstrated by our Boronia Physio Michelle:
Stand against a wall with the back of your palms and shoulder blades touching the wall. Then raise your arms slightly above your head whilst keeping your shoulder blades and palms against the wall. It might take some practice, but make sure you don’t arch your lower back at the same time!
Focus on keeping your lower back level so that the ‘twist’ is coming from your mid back/chest.