Quite often, the Thoracic spine is limited in both extension and rotation due to chronic postural tension and a sedentary lifestyle. The Thoracic spine are the middle 12 vertebrae in your spinal column that have ribs attached to either side of them. The ribs naturally make the area stiffer and more prone to “locking up”.
If the thoracic spine is excessively tight, the areas above (i.e., the neck) and below (i.e., the lumbar spine) compensate and can be put under excessive stress and over time, get injured. Mobilizing the area with a foam roller is a great way to help to loosen a tight midback.
- Lie on your back with a foam roller placed across the middle of your back.
Keep your feet and buttocks on the ground, with your hands placed behind your head to support the neck.
- From the starting position, slowly stretch back and extend the upper back. DO NOT extend the low back; it may help to think of ‘bracing’ the stomach to ensure that the movement comes from the upper back.
- Slowly work the roller up and down the back, repeating the extension at the various spinal levels.
You can use a smaller firmer roller or a PVC pipe if the foam roller is too big to get a specific strong stretch.