The thoracic spine – that’s the upper part – should be able to bend, flex, extend and rotate to varying degrees. But often is the case with most people – especially those of you sitting at a desk all day – those motions get diminished over time and the area can quickly lose its compliance.
Try it now. Move around in different directions; bend forwards, backwards, extend your arms over your head. Now ask yourself, how did it feel? We’re betting at some point you either grimaced or let out a slight groan. Pain in your neck or shoulders? It’s probably because your upper back is too tight.
“If you can’t get range of motion from this area, you will often find your glenohemral (shoulder joint) or lumbar spine having to compensate in some way, which isn’t great and could lead to injury,” says CHHP’s Osteopath and Strength and Conditioning Coach Doug Tannahill.
“A high percentage of people I see in the clinic and on the gym floor present with suboptimal mobility – who also suffer from shoulder, neck and back problems – benefit hugely from having the area mobilised.
Whether you’re lifting big or simply want to reduce the discomfort you’re feeling at your desk, then spend a couple of minutes a day working on mobilising this area.
You may get some odd looks in the gym (or your office), but your back and your overhead press will thank you for it.