The thoracic spine or t-spine describes the area of your spine from the bottom of your neck to just above the natural curve on your lower back (lumbar spine) and is designed to be mobile with the ability to flex, extend and rotate. Modern day lifestyle (too much sitting and poor posture) means that many people lack sufficient movement in this are which can result in excessive movement from the lumbar spine, increasing the risk of injury to your lower back. The Thoracic spine also plays a big part in any upper body movements, so tightness will not only limit your movement, but again increase your chance of rotator cuff injury.
INSUFFICIENT T-SPINE MOBILITY =
POOR POSTURE + REDUCED ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE + INCREASED RISK OF INJURY
This article gives you a step by step plan in increase your t-spine extension and rotation, but please note that the information given is no substitute for being seen by a professional in person..
Step 1: Diaphragmatic Breathing
Breathing plays an incredibly important part when it comes to your posture and mobility. Many people flare their chest and ribcage when they breathe making it very difficult for the diaphragm to work correctly. This not only limits the amount of air you can inhale with each breathe, but also means that other muscles particularly in the neck will work harder to compensate, resulting in poor mobility around the neck and shoulder. Watch the video below for a drill to improve your breathing.
Step 2: Self-Myofascial Release (Foam Rolling)
Self-Myofascial Release is a fancy term for self-massage which is used to help release tension and trigger points or knots in the muscles. As with most things consistency trumps intensity so aim to spend 2 minutes every day rolling your thoracic spine.
Step 3: Passive Stretch
A passive stretch means you are using some sort of assistance to keep you in position rather than your own strength. In the video below, we use a foam roller to assist in extending the thoracic spine.
Step 4: Strengthen
Now we have improved our range of motion by relaxing and stretching, we want to strengthen the extra range of motion using the drills below.
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