Thoracic pain and stiffness is a common complaint experienced by many. The thoracic spine, commonly referred to as the mid-back, is composed of 12 vertebra bones between the neck and low back. This blog post will discuss why thoracic mobility is important and four exercises you can do to improve your mobility.
One of the reasons why thoracic spine mobility is important is due to something called regional interdependence. Regional interdependence is the term used to describe how various anatomical body regions can contribute to pain syndromes in other anatomical regions. For example, following the joint-by-joint approach, the thoracic region should be mobile. If the thoracic region is stiff, the body will accommodate by creating mobility in another region of the body, ie. either the low back or neck. Is this a coincidence that neck pain and low back pain are two of the most common complaints? I think not.
Of course, this can create a chicken or the egg scenario… is thoracic stiffness causing too much mobility in other regions or are stability issues in other regions of the body causing thoracic stiffness? Unfortunately, there is not always a clear answer to this. When addressing these issues, the solution is usually adding mobility to areas that need mobility while increasing stability in areas that need stability. Otherwise, the body will revert back to its original setting (ie. if thoracic mobility isn’t addressed, the low back will go back to picking up the mobility slack).
The video below demonstrates four thoracic spine exercises that can increase your mobility. To do these exercises, you’ll need a foam roller and a can do attitude! Let us know in the comments what you do to increase your thoracic mobility!