Find a principled chiropracTOR and live up to your fullest potential! You have to use freeweights to even know – in an intuitive sense, maybe without words to put to it – that this is an issue. I keep injuring myself because I think I’m 20 still, and I never did those mobility excercises or realized how weak my glutes are or how immobile my thoracic spine is, until my physical therapist told me i basically wasn’t moving at all. Absolutely vital work in our desk and computer age. This post makes me more aware of my posture during the day which is a necessity! It increases T-spine mobility with minimal involvement of the low back. A proper exercise program that accentuates full body movements (wonder where that could be found???) So, so true. Required fields are marked *. I need an adjustment. It’s hard not to slouch sitting at a computer. Sports Physio Massage Gold Coast | Ashmore, Burleigh | Massage | Pilates | mygcphysio.com.au © 2013 | Privacy policy. It is actually a stable joint, the mobility coming from the thoracic spine, shoulders and cervical vertebrae. The pecs, upper traps, scap levators, and suboccipitals are overactive while the deep neck flexors, rhomboids, lower traps, and serratus muscles are inhibited. Problems with thoracic extension (the ability to keep your chest up) Overdeveloped pic minor, biceps or … will prevent this problem for those stuck in a chair all day. Thoracic spine extension exercises help maintain good posture and strengthen muscles that keep your spine straight. If people can instill those habits into their motor memories, it can become a natural way to build conditioning and mobility into daily activities. On the flip side, the thoracic spine only has 20-25° of extension. You don’t want that to be your regular state, do you? After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples. I always encourage people to do various pull-up grips in order to keep the stimulus changing and hit the muscles from different angles. I am a huge advocator of health promotion which is why I am currently in Chiropractic College. Spine health is critical. Reading some of these posts makes me extra happy that I never had a desk job!The restaurant business is tough, but there is never a second of “sit” time! Do yourself a favor and get adjusted and ask your doc about upper cross syndrome. As you exhale deeply and relax, the thoracic spine will flex. Thoracic Spine – Mobile Decreased thoracic mobility decreases the range of shoulder movements particularly elevation (lifting overhead) by changing the position of the shoulder blade on the rib cage. The 3 Not-So-Perfect Exercises for Thoracic Mobility. . I’m really trying to be consistent about it now. Happy Mother’s Day! A lot of the patients I see with chronic upper back problems usually have desk jobs. If you answered “yes” to any of those (and most people will answer yes to at least one), you may have poor thoracic spine mobility. I do wonder whether my troubles with squatting is due to hip mobility issues or the thoracic spine? Very important subject. But you left out the “how”!!! I have a few worries about my father. People simply don’t know any differently. An immobile thoracic puts more pressure on other areas of the spine and is often the cause of lower back pain or neck ache. I purchased a stand up workstation for myself which has helped me A LOT. Move slowly and don’t hyperextend the spine. https://www.life.edu/sites/default/files/Straighten_Up_America.pdf. Then I end up slouching to the left to lean on the chair arm. Today is A LOT different. The scapulae should not have a lot of motion. This factor is made worse in cardiovascular-based sports that require sitting or being bent over such as rowing, kayaking or cycling (particularly in a time trial position).  This can be demonstrated by placing your hands on your hands on your lower ribs and taking a deep breathe in good posture and in a slouched rounded posture. I have had stand up jobs most of my life and for that I’m thankful. Mobility is only a portion of the equation. They’re bending with their lower backs, misusing their lumbar spines, while their thoracic spines curve from misuse. Mehdi also wrote a post on “how to improve your thoracic mobility” check it –> https://stronglifts.com/how-to-improve-your-thoracic-mobility/. They are still mobile for the moment…but I can almost see the “conformity”, *shudder*….But is it just me or does a wide swath of green grass (or sandy beach) encourage cartwheels and backflips? I’m standing while reading this at work! They so often forget that spinal dysfunction also causes major damage to the nervous system, which only effects well, you know…EVERYTHING!!! b. Breathe more deeply (longer, more relaxed muscles in the spine allow for more movement with the breath) Unfortunately, most people only equate spinal health with pain and range of motion. There is a youtube vid of Esther Gokhale (author of the book linked at the end of this post) giving a posture lesson at google. I did however get “8 steps to a Pain-Free Back”; easily one of the most worthwhile investments I’ve ever made, right up there with the Primal Blueprint! Compounding this is the increasing weight of our population that adds greater loads on the less active spine. Got a foam roller and have been using it. Adjustments, exercise, and stretching work like a charm for this condition. My scapula hardly move–I’m a lifelong huncher. First up is the Foam Roller Extension. The stiffer the rib joints are where they join at the spine means less movement can occur at this joint and this can make it more difficult to take a breath when higher breathing rates and breathe volumes are required potentially less air breathed. It’s not that people ignore the thoracic spine willfully; it’s that they’re unaware of any distinctions between spinal and lumbar vertebrae. Thanks! When performing pull-ups, try to keep your shoulder blades down near your spine rather than letting them shrug up by your ears. Decreased thoracic mobility and poor posture can affect people in any sport but has a large role to play in swimmers, golfers, kayakers and tennis players and any other sport that requires good thoracic extension or rotation (twisting). In fact, it is downright impossible to hold a handstand without being in thoracic extension. In the past, I’ve had rotator cuff problems, upper back pain, neck troubles, and an ability to throw my back out with any twisting movement. We have a blast! With improved thoracic mobility, you’ll enjoy: Lack of kyphosis – The bowing of the upper back, endemic in offices across the country, is almost entirely due to poor thoracic mobility. Just a thought. This post reminded me to book an appointment with my chiro. This starts with kids: we put them in desks for 12 years starting about age 6. This was accomplished through the self-mobilizations performed on the three target areas. Prone Back Extensions. For a fun (scary) test, exaggerate the round in your upper back; create a real hump, then try to press your arms overhead. What great posture and wide-open chests they have! Excellent post. Every breath is a natural mobilization for the spine, provided it is done right. My shoulder has been sore along the scapular area for a few days after doing some unassisted chin-ups so I’m backing off those for a while. I can feel is especially when I am working out. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. https://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/07/science/07neanderthal.html?pagewanted=2&ref=science. suggest that the protocol increased overall thoracic extension by stretching joint capsules, surrounding con-nective tissue and soft tissue of the thoracic spine. Healthier shoulders – No longer will a rounded upper back prevent natural scapular action during overhead movements, thus reducing the chance of rotator cuff impingement. b. Hyper-extend your thoracic ligaments creating laxity in the ligaments and hyper-mobility in the thoracic spine. May the awakening about the dangers of poor posture grow. Tomorrow, I’ll introduce a few strategies for regaining and maintaining thoracic spine mobility. A lot of the time shoulder pain can be prevented and overhead positional issues can be resolved by including thoracic mobility drills in your warm up. We need good thoracic extension to get into the proper position for the deadlift. You can get away with poor mobility if all you’re doing is isolation exercises on machines, just as millions of people “get away with” the SAD. Wide grip pull-ups are great, and it may be easier for some people to feel the difference between proper scapular position and the “scrunched up” position that we’re hoping to avoid, but a fit person with good proprioceptive skills should be able to do safe, effective reps with just about any type of grip. Mark, I’m always amazed at the wealth of information in your blog. Great Article, Mark–looking forward to part two. We should start with thoracic spine mobility exercises that work on increasing thoracic spine extension. When you first announced Maya’s presentation at PrimalCon I almost signed up then and there (too expensive for this east coaster, though). The quality of movement in any section of the spine and other major joints in your body can influence how nearby joints move and function. sales rep before getting laid off. Perform 12-15 reps. However, one component we often forget is that we also need to have thoracic extension STRENGTH. If people are unable to visualize and feel the movement of the thoracic spine, or if they’re unable to even grasp the concept of its existence, they’ll just attempt to twist, rotate, flex, and bend with something familiar to them: the lumbar spine. a. Lengthen and straighten your thoracic spine The lumbar spine is built for stability. And remember we are not only trained in spinal manipulation, but also other modalities including deep tissue massage and exercises for both prehab and rehab! I crashed my bike on Saturday when a freak accident jammed my chain round the bottom bracket I of course ended up on the road. Great post, Mark, as per usual. If you take a deep breath in, allow the diaphragm to descend and the chest wall to expand, the thoracic spine will move into extension. It’s tough to think about. All strokes in tennis require some degree of rotation and extension. Extension Increased extension in the thoracic spine has several benefits which in- “Spine” is what we hear, not “thoracic spine” or “lumbar spine” or “cervical spine,” but it’s much more than that. This is a muscle imbalance issue usually caused by poor posture brought on by prolonged sitting or standing. If a vertebrae has deviated from its natural position even if only a small amount 100% function and performance cannot achieved. Instead, your lower back will take over work for which it’s really not designed, getting chronic pain for its troubles, and your scapula (shoulder blades) will compensate by moving away from the spine, making overhead shoulder work difficult, dangerous, and painful, and a rotator cuff injury nearly inevitable. Decreased thoracic mobility makes it harder to get under a bar, leading to wider hand placements (and too wide does not maximise power from the lower limbs). Your Hip mobility article last week has already helped me a lot. Loosening up the thoracic spine and then using that extra mobility to round or distort the spine further while sitting or standing is in some ways worse than being inflexible. The roller acts as a fulcrum on the spine during this movement. If you’re (they’re) lucky, they’ll ditch the sugar and the grains and notice an incredible difference. The various vertebrae weren’t given different names for fun. Awesome post! It is highly mobile – or, rather, it has the potential for lots of mobility. He used to be a pharm. Once we have the appropriate range of motion, we need strength within that range to resist flexion under load. Do you get lower back or neck pain when doing twisting or rotational movements? But you’ll never know the difference until you give the other side a fair shot. The stiffer the spine or the more rounded the posture the less the ribs are able to expand properly which is important in sporting performance. A junk food diet reduces the am... You know that black hole of time between work and bed? Scoff at the prospect of thoracic spine mobility all you want; you still gotta have it. This point, along with many others, is a main reason why we chose to develop the Elite Baseball Mentorship program. This is why I left a salaried management position to wait tables again, so I can play with my kids all summer…YAY! Only when I sit for long periods of time does my posture start to slip away from me. thanks!! Extend Your Thoracic Mobility Pilates Style | March - April 2020 These upper-back bends might look simple, but their benefits are BIG, from reversing slumped-over posture to reducing your risk of injury and relieving back pain. Busy weekend coming up! Thanks for the reference of the book again – I will definitely buy it soon as it has sick reviews – 5 Star average – just like The Primal Blueprint! The human spinal column is composed of five segments: the cervical spine, which extends up the neck to the base of the skull; the thoracic spine, which encompasses the shoulder and chest area; the lumbar spine, also known as the lower back; the sacrum; and, finally, the coccyx, or tail bone (the last two of which are lumped together as “Pelvic” in the graphic to the right). 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