5 vital thoracic spine mobilizations to save your neck and shoulders | Dr. Alex Ritza | Downtown Toronto Chiropractor near Yonge and Bloor |
473
post-template-default,single,single-post,postid-473,single-format-standard,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,qode-theme-ver-10.1.1,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-5.0.1,vc_responsive

5 vital thoracic spine mobilizations to save your neck and shoulders

5 vital thoracic spine mobilizations to save your neck and shoulders

Get That Thoracic Spine Moving

For those with chronic shoulder and neck pain, patients are often left wondering why? Why is it that all of a sudden pain suddenly comes with no major trauma? Or why is it that with recurrent treatment on those respective regions, they still hurt? For both instances, I think that part of the root cause of the problem might be the part of the body most closely approximated, the THORACIC SPINE. It is another example of a concept I have discussed before; the source of the pain may not be the cause of the problem.

Whether owing to a lack of training, stretching or a society that has us constantly bend forward, most people do not have enough proper thoracic spine extension. Improving thoracic spine extension is something I work with my patients on extensively for helping to treat and cure both neck and shoulder problems. Consider the following and it is easy to see why.

With 12 thoracic vertebrae, each supporting an intricate pairing of ribs, the thoracic spine supports and orients the cervical spine and heavy skull. Through the bond between the ribs and the shoulder-blade forming the scapulothoracic “joint” (where the shoulder-blade shifts on the back of the rib cage), the thoracic spine is also important for its positioning of the shoulder, often dictating how it is and is not able to move.

As an example, a more forward tilted and flexed thoracic spine, will lead to a more forward tilted shoulder-blade. This is a considerable problem that I, and other researchers have found can be associated with shoulder impingement syndromes and shoulder pain. Given that about 50% of the movement of the shoulder complex comes from this movement of the shoulder-blade floating on the rib cage, we definitely need to ensure that the rib cage and thoracic spine possess the ability to move properly and be in the correct position to allow for a fully functional shoulder. The point is the healthier the upper thoracic spine, the healthier the shoulder.

The same can be said for the neck with respect to the mid-back. Like a carrot leading a horse, the thoracic spine points the head and neck where to go. The better the ability for the thoracic spine to extend and remain upright, the better the posture of the neck, and the easier it is for the head to remain upright. Try it for yourself, if you flex the upper back forward, it is difficult to keep the head upright and becomes painful really quickly. Picture a grandmother or grandfather who may have a very curved mid back that aims the neck nearly parallel to the ground. It is going to be touch for this person to be able to look to the sky right.

So whether preventative or to treat current neck and shoulder pain, the following are some great thoracic spine mobilization exercises that are safe and effective. Do them daily for a month and you will be amazed at how much better you feel, your posture improves and maybe fix a current injury in the process.

Cat-Cow – repeat each cycle 10 times to warm up the spine

Let the low back arch, tilting the pelvis forward and look towards the ceiling

Let the low back arch, tilting the pelvis forward and look towards the ceiling

Starting position for Cat-Cow: Hands below sholders, knees below hips with a flat back

Starting position for Cat-Cow: Hands below sholders, knees below hips with a flat back

Push up

Push up through the hands and tilt the pelvis backwards to round the back and mobilize the spine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Prayer Stretch Progression

While maintaining a neutral lumbar spine, roll forward on the elbows until a stretch is felt in your latissimus dorsi and your thoracic spine - breath deeply in this position for 1 minute

2) While maintaining a neutral lumbar spine, roll forward on the elbows until a stretch is felt in your latissimus dorsi and your thoracic spine – breath deeply in this position for 1 minute

Push deeper into the stretch by pushing the elbows down into the ball (5 sec) - relax - push the stretch deeper - repeat

3) Push deeper into the stretch by pushing the elbows down into the ball (5 sec) – relax – push the stretch deeper – repeat

With your butt resting of the heels and the forehead on the ground, reach as far forward with the palms flat on the ground - 3 repetitions of 60 second holds - BREATHE ;)

1) With your butt resting of the heels and the forehead on the ground, reach as far forward with the palms flat on the ground – 3 repetitions of 60 second holds – BREATHE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

T-Spine Rotation – From the neutral position, rotate the spine and look to the sky and gently oscillate at your end range each side for 15 seconds over 3 repetitions

Gently oscillate, pushing the stretch farther here for 15 seconds

Gently oscillate, pushing the stretch farther here for 15 seconds

Starting position

Starting position

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gently oscillate, pushing the stretch farther here for 15 seconds

Gently oscillate, pushing the stretch farther here for 15 seconds

Alternative with external arm rotation

Alternative with external arm rotation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Modified prayer ball stretch

 

 

 

Be sure to keep a neutral spine without excessive lumbar extension

Be sure to keep a neutral spine without excessive lumbar extension

Continually deepen the stretch by pushing the hands into the ball (5-10sec) and relaxing to push the stretch deeper

Continually deepen the stretch by pushing the hands into the ball (5-10sec) and relaxing to push the stretch deeper

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Hip flexed to 100-110 degrees, arm wrapped around the rib cage, head supported, laying on your side

1) Hip flexed to 100-110 degrees, knee maintaining contact on a mat or foam-roller, arm wrapped around the rib cage, head supported, laying on your side

Starting position

1) Starting position from above

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oscillate at the end of your range of motion while breathing deeply to push the mobilization farther and farther over 15 seconds - repeat 2 times per side

2) Oscillate at the end of your range of motion while breathing deeply to push the mobilization farther and farther over 15 seconds – repeat 2 times per side

While keep the knee on the foam-roller, twist the spine by pull on the rib cage with the wrapped hand and look to where you want to go with your eyes

2) While keep the knee on the foam-roller, twist the spine by pull on the rib cage with the wrapped hand and look to where you want to go with your eyes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy,

Dr. Alex

 

 

Tags:
No Comments

Post A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

BOOK YOUR COMPLIMENTARY CONSULTATION TODAY