Why Your Thoracic Spine Deserves Some Attention

Neck, back, or shoulder pain? Chances are, your thoracic spine (or mid-back region) is contributing to this in some way. Let me explain why and show you how to fix it...

The body is always working together and finding ways to accomplish the task at hand. This is a big reason why the body is so resilient when it comes to physical injury. The body is usually able to find ways around a dysfunctional body part (in this case, a stiff or weak mid-back) until the "wheels fall off" (in other words: back, neck, or shoulder pain).

There are few movements in our normal routines that require a large degree of thoracic mobility and therefore we aren't often challenged in this way. In addition, most of us adopt a rested seated position in which we are slouched forward - bringing our thoracic spine into forward flexion. Over time, without intervention, we begin to to lose the ability to bend backwards, or extend, the thoracic spine. Along with this, we tend to lose rotation of this region of the spine simultaneously.

Why is this important? Well, like we said, the body is always looking for ways to accomplish the task at hand. If we begin to lose mobility or strength in one region of the body (in this case, thoracic spine), we begin to place a greater demand on other body regions (namely - the closest anatomical neighbors of the low back, shoulders, and neck) in order to complete the same task.

For example, if you hold weights overhead and you don't have the ability to move your thoracic spine well, your shoulders will need to extend further (likely hyperextension) in order to keep the weight overhead and over your center of gravity. This effect is further intensified if you hold a weight overhead in a deep squat position, such as in an overhead squat, because you limit the ability for the lumbar spine to help out.

Your body may be able to compensate in this way for a long time, potentially even years. However, you would benefit from becoming more efficient and free up this region.

Mobilize your mid-spine to reduce risk of neck, shoulder, or low back pain! Check out the video above for some moves to get started.

Utilize these simple movements to keep your mid spine (thoracic spine) healthy and mobile, in order of the video:

1️⃣ Lumbar locked thoracic rotation
2️⃣ Thoracic extension over foam roller (can add overhead reach and target upper or lower thoracic spine)

3️⃣ Thoracic rotation on wall
4️⃣ Quadruped thoracic rotation
5️⃣ Thoracic extension openers on wall

Like we mentioned, a weak or stiff thoracic spine impairs your ability to lift overhead in training and in daily life. Check out the moves in this video to specifically work on building overhead capacity and confidence.

We use cookies to improve your experience and to help us understand how you use our site. Please refer to our cookie notice and privacy policy for more information regarding cookies and other third-party tracking that may be enabled.

Thanks for visiting Revolution Performance! Connect with us on social media below

© 2021 Revolution Performance, LLC

By using this website, you agree to our terms and conditions and our privacy policy

Medical Disclaimer: All information on this website is intended for informational and educational purposes only. The authors and partners are not responsible for any harm or injury incurred. It is important to seek professional guidance about your condition or injury. No guarantees have been made or implied regarding specific results of the services described.

Facebook icon
Instagram icon
Twitter icon
Email icon
Created with
Mailchimp Freddie Badge