10 ways to prevent back pain #6 Increase Thoracic Spine Mobility Our low back (lumbar spine) is stuck in between our hips and our thoracic spine (upper back/ribs). If we lack motion at our hips or in our upper back it puts a ton of extra stress on the lower back. In particular, as we age we lose hip mobility and thoracic spine extension. In our first blog post we talked about the importance of hip mobility for preventing back pain. Our body is an assembly line of joints and muscles, if one person isn’t doing their job the
others have to work even harder. When we cant extend or bend back through the upper back, the low back ends up having to overwork. This creates extra bending and torsion in the low back. The more mobile the upper back is the less twisting and bending the low back will have to do. To help improve your thoracic spine mobility and take stress off your low back, neck, and shoulders try these exercises.
Foam rolling for the Upper Back
Seated upper back extensions. This is a great exercise to do at work or when sitting for long periods. Make sure to get up and move around as well. Try some of the other stretches and exercises mentioned in this blog to break up your long periods of sitting.
Make sure to be aware of your general posture. If you are always slumped over or bent forward you will continue to lose thoracic spine mobility and put more stress on your low back, neck, and shoulder.
Breathing plays a huge role in thoracic spine mobility. An upper chest dominant breathing pattern leads to have a must stiffer thoracic spine and rib cage than a nice diaphragmatic breath pattern. Refer to our previous post on proper breathing for pain relief.
Hope you enjoyed the blog and see you next week. Until then foam roll that back and try some upper back extensions in your work chair.
-Dr. Ryan Dunn D.C.