Pain in the thoracic spine is a very common complaint. However, issues with the midback tend to be less severe than neck, shoulder and low back pain and it often receives less attention than it deserves. Mobility and posture issues with the thoracic spine can contribute to low back pain along with neck and shoulder problems. The truth is, as a whole, our society is spending more and more time sitting than our bodies were intended to. The following exercises are designed to help with posture and to give the thoracic spine more mobility.
1. Foam Roll for Thoracic Spine Extension
Place the round foam roll horizontally on the floor just below your shoulder blades. Support your head in your hands and lay back over the foam roll and keep your knees bent. Next, roll your spine backwards over the foam roll. You can slightly lift your hips and pelvis off the floor. Avoid letting your head fall back too far. Perform for about 30 seconds. Repeat 2 times per day.
2. Quadruped Extension and Rotation
Start on your hands and knees. Place your left hand on the back of your head. Then touch your left elbow to your right forearm. Next, bring the left elbow back and behind you as you rotate and extend through your upper back. Try pulling your left shoulder blade towards your spine as you lift the elbow up. Perform ten repetitions on each side.
3. Foam Roller
This exercise will have the biggest effect if done consistently. Sit back on the foam roll place vertically under the full length of your back. Have your head and neck supported on roll. Bend your knees with your feet on the floor. Start with your arms at your sides and then progressively raise them overhead over the course of 15 minutes. This exercise takes considerable time, but your posture can greatly benefit from it.