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The Importance of Thoracic Spine Mobility


Before we discuss the importance of thoracic spine mobility, we should talk about the anatomy. The thoracic spine is the longest region of the spine, and by some measures it is also the most complex. Connecting with the cervical spine above and the lumbar spine below, the thoracic spine runs from the base of the neck down to the abdomen. It is composed of twelve vertebrae and is the only spinal region attached to the rib cage.

The thoracic spine is built for rotation, flexion, and extension. It has a potential for lots of mobility, however due to our poor postures and the addition of twelve pairs of ribs connecting to the spine we often lack thoracic spine mobility. The thoracic spine must be used, must be moved. Many of us however do not use our thoracic spine as it was intended to be use and thus use something more familiar, the lower back. When you lack mobility in a region of the spine that is intended to be mobile (mid back) you overuse a region of your spine that is intended to be stable (lower back). Which is one good reason why lower back pain is such an epidemic in our country.

The lower back or lumbar spine is built for stability. It’s supposed to support the weight of the body and resist excessive rotation and twisting. It is not meant to twist and bend and do all sorts of the acts that the mid back is supposed to do. It can move, obviously, but it’s not meant to be overly mobile.

The benefits of improved thoracic spine mobility

Below are some benefits of improved thoracic spine mobility, it is not something that you will regain overnight, it takes a habit of correcting poor postural syndromes and incorporating some of the exercises we go over in the videos below.

  • Improved range of motion
  • Less shoulder pain
  • Less lower back pain
  • Improved spinal curvature
  • Improved lung volume

The top three thoracic spine mobility exercises that we recommend

In the above video we go over the cat/camel stretch as well as thoracic spine rotations, these two work on inducing sagittal plane and transverse plant thoracic spine mobility.

In the above video we go over a side-lying thoracic spine mobility exercise utilizing a foam roller. This thoracic spine mobility exercise targets the mid back in the transverse plane of motion. With each of these above movements a good rep range is 3 sets of 10 with a 2-3 second hold on each repetition.

Chiropractic adjustments help to increase thoracic spine mobility

Dr. Behm is a licensed Chiropractor at Behm Muscle & Joint Clinic. He is highly trained in Chiropractic adjustments, which increase motion to the joints of the thoracic spine and reduce mid back pain. Behm Muscle & Joint Clinic is Chiropractic and rehabilitation clinic located in Bellevue Nebraska. We are a patient centered Chiropractic practice proudly serving the Bellevue and Greater Omaha area. If you are looking for a Chiropractor in Bellevue or have questions regarding whether or not your lack of thoracic spine mobility is leading to other issues, do not hesitate to call our clinic at 402-292-1450 or schedule an appointment online.

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