Midweek Mobility: Thoracic Spine Floss

posted in: spine, The Lab | 0

Feeling stiff in your mid back area?  Want to know a technique that can help you wring out your stiff spine area prior to working out and or after?

There is research out there to include a study in the Cochran Library by Anita Gross and Jordan Miller et al in 2010 about mobilising (using manual therapy) the thoracic spine and cervical spine (not shown as a self mobilisation technique). The conclusions have been that mobilising your thoracic spine and even cervical spine (again not shown here) helps to treat neck pain and function that can lead to tension headaches.  So in this article and video you will learn how to self mobilize only your thoracic spine which will only benefit the above and below joints. Spine

As Gary Gray founder of the applied functional science would say, the thoracic spine can get pretty junky and it makes sense why.  Your thoracic spine that also has all 12 of your ribs attaches to them is there to protect your heart, your lungs, your throat, and houses your sympathetic nervous system which is the fight or flight mode of our autonomic nervous system.  That being said, if you are a desk jockey, lift weights, carry stress in your shoulders and upper back, this may be the mob for you that does not leave your crying, but sighing with relief!

Note that if your thoracic spine gets stiff, your low back, your neck, and your shoulders start to feel more of the stress.  This is played out in having to create more motion to make up for the lost motion in your mid and upper back (the thoracic spine) especially in transition zones of your spine such as the base of the neck and the top of the lumbar spine.

My recommendations to you all is to use the peanut or supernova above the low back where the ribs start, and right below the base of the neck, also where ribs attach.  If you really want to get into it, use that supernova on all 12 thoracic vertebral segments.

Use this thoracic flossing mob (video below) when you want a general stretch, muscle dynamic style. Also use this mob as a way to test re-test before and after using the supernova or peanut (2 lacrosse balls taped together) on the various stiff segments of your thoracic spine.

Have fun with this one and make sure to smile and take deep diaphragmatic breaths to help you open up the side you are rotating towards.  Your vertebral segments will love you, and your movement will thank you by feeling less restricted and stiff, therefore less likely to create a pathological dysfunction in your low back, neck and or shoulder.

Guest in video is Ray Regno, Head Coach and Co-Owner of CrossFit Stronghold