| Article written on October 29th, 2015 at 6:30pm | Follow Garrett on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram |
The thoracic spine is composed of 12 vertebrae and is often a site of tightness and restriction. With the help of gravity, computers, and long hours driving, we become pulled into a rounded back and forward slumped shoulder posture that can have very negative effects on our joints. With restriction and lack of proper motion in the thoracic spine, other joints in the body have to pick up the slack to accomplish everyday activities. Areas which need to move more to compensate for tightness in the t-spine are: the lumbar spine, cervical spine, and shoulder. That is why in previous posts I posed the question of where is the actual problem if you have low back pain. Yes, your lower back hurts, but is the problem itself actually because it is injured or because the thoracic spine is immobile causing excess stress on the area. With an immobile thoracic spine, the lumbar spine has to compensate and go through a greater range of motion even when the low back is intended to have limited motion and act as a series of stable joints.
Purpose of exercise:
Mobilize thoracic spine in extension and rotation
Improve posture and ability to raise arms overhead
Steps to properly execute the exercise:
1. Set-up in the quadruped position (hands under the shoulders, knees under the hips)
2. Place hand behind the head or neck
3. Life elbow and rotate spine as high as you can, look at the elbow as you get into the highest position
4. Lower and repeat
This exercise is most beneficial when added into your warm-up or before starting your exercise routine. It will greatly assist in overhead lifting such as shoulder pressing.
By: Garrett McLaughlin, MS, ATC, CSCS, ART