Thoracic Spine Mobility

The thoracic region refers to the midsection of the spine, extending from the base of the neck down to the low back. It includes 12 vertebrae labeled T1-T12 that attach to a variety of muscles, ligaments, and the rib cage. This area of your body can flex, extend, rotate, and side bend.

The average American spends about 6.5 hours per day sitting, 1 hour per day driving, and several of their waking hours in front of a screen. The nature of our daily habits can lead to stiffness and soreness in the thoracic spine. Poor mobility in this area has also been associated with dysfunction in other parts of the body including the neck, shoulders, hips, and low back.

Exercise is a helpful way to increase movement and optimize health of the thoracic spine.  Here is an example of an exercise that can get you started.

  1. Sit in a non-rotating chair with a ball, pillow, or small object between your knees. This helps to engage your core and stabilize your lower body.

  2. If possible, place your hands on the back of your head. If this is uncomfortable, you can modify by crossing your arms over your chest.

  3. Rotate your torso to one side and slightly bend that direction as well. Repeat on the other side.

  4. Continue this movement back and forth for a minute or two, increasing the range slightly with each repetition.

Additional exercises for thoracic mobility are available on our YouTube page. Tune in and subscribe for biweekly tips!

If you have further questions about how to improve your health through movement, feel free to contact a physical therapist at Warm Springs Holistics Health for more information.

Alicia Oberholzer DPT, OCS

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