So its mobility month this month in clinic so we thought we would do a series of blog posts about; well mobility, its importance and how you can take a few simple steps to improve yours. Kicking it off is the king of mobility issues "THORACIC MOBILITY"...
So what is your Thoracic spine? - good question
Your Thoracic spine or "T-Spine" is the mid portion of your spine. Starting at the base of your Neck to your Abdomen. Your T-spine allows for movement in basically all directions - flexion (forwards), extension (backwards) and rotation (round and side to side). Today's more sedentary lifestyle leads to reduced mobility in the T Spine.'if you don't use it you lose it'. Like elsewhere a lack of mobility in the T- spine means that surrounding muscles and joints may compensate to allow you to move how you want to move. For example lumbar spine, pelvis, shoulders. Long term, compensations can lead to injury.
For example your shoulder blades lay on your rib cage. Your rib cage position is determined by your thoracic spine. If your thoracic spine is stiff and not able to extend, you can’t put your shoulder blades in the best positions for movement. This can lead to injuries such as shoulder impingement.
If you're lacking T- spine mobility, there’s also risk to your Lumbar spine (lower back). This part of the spine is meant to keep us stable and therefore is not meant to move as much. So when these joints that aren't meant to be mobile, are forced to be mobile in compensation, it increases the pressure going through your lower back. Which may lead to an injury.
So now we have established that Thoracic stiffness is bad, what can we do about it ?
Well firstly my advice is see a physiotherapist (predicable i know!) as we can help with joint mobilisations and muscle stretches and strengthening exercises. you can book an appointment with us in clinic here
Secondly there are a number of mobility exercises you can perform at home that will help enormously.
Thread the needle
Start on your hands and knees. Keeping your left hand planted and hips square, reach your right arm underneath your body. Are you able to drop your right shoulder and temple to the ground? Stay here for five deep breaths. Un-thread your right hand and keeping your right arm straight and hips square, twist to the right, reaching right arm toward the ceiling. Are you able to make that arm perfectly perpendicular to the floor, or is it falling short
Begin lying on your side with your bottom leg straight, your top leg bent at 90 a degree angle, and your arms straight on the ground together. Movement Slowly move your top arm away from your other arm, toward the floor on the other side, rotating your trunk at the same time. Tip Make sure to keep your top leg on the floor and only go as far as you can without arching your back.
Seated rotation - Can be done at your desk!
Start seated- sit up tall with hands together behind head/neck. Actively squeezing an object between your knees to activate core and prevent low back involvement
Several times a week for five to ten minutes
Roll over onto your back with the foam roller positioned horizontally along the tops of your shoulder blades. Slowly allow your head, neck and upper back extend back as far as comfortable. Don't rock, just lay backward and straighten your arms trying to touch your hands to the ground behind you.
If you need more help book in an appointment with us at Active therapy Clinic Cirencester, we would be more than happy to help you out.