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Thoracic Spine Mobility

May 20, 2015

Your upper (thoracic) spine, is supposed to have a natural kyphosis in your upper spine, the region which starts at the base of your neck and ends at your lowest rib. This helps to absorb weight and shock and the demands of gravity on your body. 

 

However, many people have excessive kyphosis, which results in hunchbacks and an eventual Dowager's hump. Excessive kyphosis, that brutal anatomical position where your head is distended well in front of your body, your upper back protrudes oddly into your fitted shirts, and your profile begins to resemble that of a turtle, can be the root cause of all sorts of headaches, annoying neck pains, shoulder disfuction and never ending discomfort. 

 

To exacerbate this issue, much of our work and day to day lives involves reinforcing the kyphosis or hunchback position. Our computers, smartphones and cars alone require a head drop and shoulder rounding. Therefore, if you want to the range of motion in your shoulders and not get tension headaches (and worse, migraines), please do the following mobility exercises DAILY: 

 

1. Use a foam roller or peanut (two lacrosse or tennis balls taped together) to massage out your erectors and reduce the kyphosis in your spine. Lie down on the roller or peanut and do small crunches, with the balls at your lowest spine and up past your shoulder blades. The lacrosse balls should lie horizontally. 

 

2. Perform some sort of rotational exercise to unglue your vertebrae. Quadruped extensions and Bretzels are excellent for this. See the video below for the Quadruped Extension. I prefer to introduce the body to the simplest mobility exercises, as these are very easy to fit into the routine to begin with. 

 

 

 

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