Your thoracic spine is the middle section of your back between your neck and lower back. It is made up of 12 spinal vertebrae with your 12 ribs attaching to each one. Stiffness in your thoracic spine can affect your breathing and surrounding joints, including your neck and shoulders. Over the last few months we have been seeing quite a few cases of thoracic stiffness and discomfort due to prolonged sitting postures. So I thought I’d go through a few of our favourite thoracic mobility exercises to get your upper back moving!
1. Telescope Arms
Lie on your side with your arms out in front of you and your hips/knees/ankles bent up and stacked. Keep your head and neck relaxed as you reach your top hand out as far as you can. Maintain this length as you lift it up and open like a book, keep your eye gaze following your top hand. You should feel a stretch in the front of your chest and through your upper back. Maintain this position for 10 seconds and repeat 10 times to both directions! During the movement keep your hips stacked and forward, try not to let them roll back and ensure the movement is coming from your upper back! Place your hips against a doorway to keep them from rolling back.
2. Thread the Needle
Begin on your hands and knees with your hands just in front of your shoulders and knees under your hips. From here slide one hand behind the other as you allow your shoulder to come down towards the mat, allowing your supporting arm to bend. Keep your eye gaze in line with the moving hand. Hold this position for 10 seconds then return to the starting position. Repeat up to 10 times to both directions.
3. Teapot Stretch
In a standing position place one hand behind your head with your elbow pointing sideways and place the other hand by your side. Run this hand down your leg towards your knee whilst keeping your shoulders square and elbow pointing towards the sky. You should feel a stretch through the side of your trunk. Hold this for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times on both sides.
We hope these exercises are helpful! Remember to do them at least once a day to improve your thoracic mobility. If your upper back stiffness and soreness is still lingering don’t hesitate to pop in and see one of our physiotherapists who will assess, treat and provide you with more tailored exercises and advise! Click here to see our availabilities.