The Thoracic Spine Silent, Yet Deadly!

Is your back or neck playing up? It could be your thoracic spine to blame!

Your thoracic spine forms the middle part of your back. It is a complex area full of a multitude of joints as the ribs also come in to join the back through this region. It is designed to be naturally stiff as it primarily protects your heart and lungs. However some movement is possible, especially rotation, allowing you to twist left and right.

Sitting for prolonged periods, overtraining the upper abdominals, poor standing postures, sports such as cycling, can all mean we slump through this area. Slowly it becomes even stiffer. This now puts immense pressure on the low back and neck to compensate and move. Because the thoracic is more flexed, or slumped, we have to overextend, or arch the low back and neck to compensate, causing joint and muscle problems through this region. As twisting is more stiff, again the low back and neck have to compensate. Eventually these other areas get worn out and pain results.

Better posture will help to prevent this process but if your thoracic spine is now very stiff there are many great exercises you can do to help. Simple breathing techniques, breathing into the lower ribs, ensuring as you breath in the lower ribs move up and out, will help to get the costo-vertebral, or rib to thoracic spine joints moving and is a great way to easily free the area up.

There are a multitude of exercises you can do on a foam roller, or twisting exercises that open up your thoracic spine. At Physiologix we have lots of exercise programs that you can do at home or in the gym – ask our physios to find out more.