The Thoracic Spine. What Do We Need to Know?

The thoracic spine (middle back) is a wonderful feat of engineering by Mother Nature.

It is the base for the cervical spine (neck) and the platform for the shoulder blades, which in turn form the base of the upper limbs.

The joints between the vertebrae (bones) run in such a plane that rotation (twisting) is maximised. This affords the upper limbs a greater span of reaching.

The thoracic spine allows ribs to attach to it through joints, which allow the rib cage to expand and contract as we breathe.

It has been my experience and is generally accepted in physio, that increasing the mobility of the thoracic spine may go some way to assisting neck and shoulder mobility and thus reduce the onset of painful conditions to these areas.

The thoracic spine also has a tendency to stiffen with age and inattention, thereby reducing some of the aforementioned advantages.

With modern life in chairs, driving and over screens, ’rounding’ of the upper back has never been a more pertinent concern.

Plus, decreased bone density in the elderly may see painful ‘crush fractures’ to the vertebrae, as these bones struggle to withstand the force of gravity and the changes in force distribution, secondary to reduced mobility.

Such changes culminate in ‘stooping’ in the later years.

And so, learning to strengthen this region and keep it flexible from year to year has numerous benefits, both in everyday life and sporting endeavours.

Put your health first, and let us know if we can help. – Evan : )

1300 GYM DOC (1300 496 362)

13 William Street, Raymond Terrace NSW 2324

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