Thoracic Spine Mobility

Let's take a moment to chat about our thoracic spine and why movement in this region of your body is vitally important!

WHAT IS YOUR THORACIC SPINE Your thoracic spine is composed of twelve vertebrae in the middle segment of our vertebral column. Among these twelve vertebrae, they are surrounded by different rib components that allow for articulation and transverse movement patterns.

The first thoracic vertebrae have characteristics that resemble cervical vertebra movements. While the lower vertebrae is lower and thicker and resemble that of the lumbar spine. ROTATION On average, each thoracic vertebra can rotate approximately 3°. Therefore, the entire thoracic spine should demonstrate between 30 -35° of total rotation to each side. The lumbar spine also rotates, albeit less than the thoracic. The lumbar vertebrae demonstrate approximately 2° of rotation between each, resulting in 10° of rotation to each side. Thus, the total thoracolumbar rotation should be approximately 45° in each direction. WHEN YOU CAN'T ROTATE When you lack mobility through the thoracic spine, you are subject to more injuries involving the shoulder and neck. We also see an increased prevalence of low back pain in those that lack mobility.

If the thoracic spine does not rotate, the lumbar spine is forced to rotate more, which could play a role in low back pain or injury. MUSCLES TO STRETCH Muscles that play a role in thoracic spine motion that typically are tight and need to be stretched are the pectorals and the latissimus dorsi. ACTIVATION EXERCISE

Stability Ball Combo Begin with your arms in front, then move to a scaption “Y,” followed by retraction “T,” and then finally depression “A.” Move slowly and keep your spine neutral. Perform 12-15 repetitions, holding each position for 1-2 seconds.

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