#ThursdayTherapy: the thoracic spine

Your thoracic spine is the mid section of your back, below the cervical (roughly your neck area) and lumbar region or lower back.
Thoracic spine mobility is paramount in dynamic movement and in everyday life, and is so often overlooked when stretching or when looking at injury. Poor mobility in this area can affect the neck, shoulders, lower back, and hips very easily.

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Improving your thoracic mobility, if it is not functioning as it should be for you, is important for all athletes whether you’re a runner, weightlifter or a weekend warrior in the sport of your choice. Normal thoracic-humeral rhythm is important for injury prevention.

When treating people in the EP clinic it is quite common to see people with a flexed spine, rounded shoulders or tightness through the paraspinal muscles. All of these things can contribute to reduce thoracic mobility. This lack of movement leads to restricted rotation and extension, and will massively effect shoulder movement which can lead to issues within the shoulder joint if these regions are not working in tandem.

Some simple exercises to increase your thoracic mobility are:

Begin on your hands and knees, bring one arm to feed through under your body towards your other hand(see picture), this is your start position. Slowly bring your arm through away from your body, rotating your thoracic spine, so your fingers point up to the ceiling or as far to the ceiling as you can, you should aim to look down your fingertips. Bring your arm down through to the start position again. Complete 10 on each side

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Lying on your left side, back straight, knees pulled up to a right angle from your body. Stretch your arms out in front of you as the picture below shows. Bring your top arm (right arm) over to rotate towards you right side as if rolling over. Keep this arm straight and pointing upwards, try to keep your head inline with your arm by looking down your fingertips throughout the movement. When your head can no longer stay in line with your arm, return to the start position. Remember to take deep breaths throughout and begin the movement on an inhale. Complete 10 on each side

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Soft tissue release and manual therapy to the thoracic spine are great ways your therapist can help with any thoracic pain or stiffness, email energisedbecky@gmail.com or energisedgail@gmail.com to book in now!