The thoracic spine is the area of our upper/mid back, comprised of 12 vertebrae and 12 pairs of ribs. This region can be a common source of pain and dysfunction with our clients, often due to lifestyle factors leading to "poor posture." The thoracic spine plays a crucial role in posture, spinal alignment, and neck/shoulder function.
When we see dysfunction in this region, typically, we see increased kyphosis (forward rounding) and forwardly rotated shoulders that limit the thoracic region's ability to extend and rotate. (Note that we are generalizing here, and all individuals have different causes/treatment courses pending their unique issues). Typically we alleviate this dysfunction by identifying what soft tissue structures (muscles etc.) are tight and work to improve their length AND strength. Find what hard structures (bony, joint) are stuck or lacking mobility and work to increase the ability to move. Lastly, work to improve strength in weak areas and build endurance to maintain improved alignment for prolonged periods.
Though it is important to work to improve spinal alignment and, in turn, posture in general, we believe "your best posture is your next posture." No one posture is ideal for prolonged periods, and that frequent bouts of movement are ideal for keeping your spine and tissues healthy "motion is lotion" for your body!
Anatomy: Click the link for a video intro of the basic anatomy of the upper back!
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If you have questions about your thoracic spine or want to learn more about how to improve your mobility and posture, reach out, we are here to help!
Helping you live and feel your best, Nicole and the OMPT team Want workouts specific to your activity? Reach out for a customized plan.