Written by: Emilie Smale, Certified Athletic Therapist
Are you constantly feeling like you have a tight feeling in your upper back or ‘knots’ around your shoulder blades? Stagnation in your thoracic spine, or t-spine, may be what is causing these problems. Stagnation, or rather, lack of mobility is best combated with movement rather than static stretching or massage.
We’ll start off with what the T-spine is; the T-spine is the part of the spine that is categorized as the upper back. Located underneath the neck and above the lumbar spine (low back). It is comprised of 12 vertebrae. The t-spine is meant for movements in many directions, compared to the low back which is designed for stability rather than mobility.
Decreased movement abilities in the upper back can lead to the neck, shoulder, low back, pelvis, and surrounding muscles to compensate for the lack of movement. This will eventually lead to injury such as a shoulder impingement or imbalances throughout the lower body.
A great way to demonstrate how t-spine mobility and shoulder performance are linked is by sitting and slouching throughout your upper back. From this position try lifting your arms straight up. Now, try sitting with a nice straight posture and try the same movement with your shoulders. See the improvement?
Wondering if you have decreased t-spine mobility and could benefit from mobility and strengthening exercises? Stand by a full-length mirror and look at your body from the side. Is your upper to middle back overly rounded? If so, try some of these mobility exercises shown below.
T-Spine Foam Roller Extensions
This exercise will help stretch out the chest and back muscles, relieve muscular tension, and improve thoracic mobility. Place the foam roller under your upper back and lift your arms up and back. Extend your thoracic spine back over the foam roller and roll slowly up and down the vertebrae, pausing on any stiff or sore parts. Do not roll the neck or lower back, focus solely on the t-spine.
Thread the Needle
Begin on all fours, reach one arm underneath your body to the opposite side. You should feel a nice stretch along your upper back, hold this pose and breath deeply for about 5 seconds. Next, rotate all the way back through and reach high with that same arm. Repeat on the other side.
If you think your t-spine mobility is causing pain and imbalances, contact an Athletic Therapist for an assessment!
Muscle Strain: Lower back Part 2
Strength & Stretch Program
Written by: Melanie Talastas-Soriano BA-Kin, CAT(C), ISSA-CPT
Athletic Therapist, Personal Trainer
Important steps regarding muscle strain injury were listed on the last article. It was also highlighted the importance of prevention of injury by prescribing strength and stretch program by an Athletic Therapist. In this article four strength exercises and four stretches are demonstrated.
Stretches can be performed daily holding each stretch for 30 seconds, complete 3 sets. If stretching one leg or one side be sure to complete 3 sets on the other leg or side.
Strengthening exercises can be performed every other day. Complete the exercises 3 sets of 30 seconds/10 repetitions. Give yourself time to complete the strength and stretch program 3-4 weeks until your are comfortable to increase the intensity and frequency of the exercises. You can also slowly add the exercises to your regular fitness program.
Strength Exercises and Strerches
Bridge: 30 seconds hold 3 sets.
Knee to chest: 30 seconds hold, 3 sets.
Plank: 30 seconds hold, 3 sets. *If it’s too hard, perform the plank on your knees.
Torso twist: bend both knees close together, drop to one side and hold for 30 seconds, 3 sets.
Quadruped: lift both opposite arm, opposite leg, hold for 3 seconds keeping your core engage at all times, then alternate with the other arm and leg. Complete 10 reps, 3 sets.
Toe touch: hold for 30 seconds, 3 sets.
Side plank: 30 seconds hold, repeat 3 sets on each sides.
Hamstring stretch: Hold your stretch for 30 seconds, 3 sets and repeat on the other leg.
If you injured your lower back or if you have been suffering with chronic lower back pain, do not hesitate to book your Athletic Therapy appointment today. Email Melanie at email@example.com (subject: Athletic Therapy appointment) or call/text at 204-999-0933.
Thank you for taking the time to read our articles. To read part one , visit our website at www.insahyu.com Look out for more rehab and exercise tips here at Ang Peryodiko newspaper. Do not forget to grab a copy every 2 weeks. Follow us on instagram for weekly simple workout videos and on our facebook group page for motivational posts.
TRAIN HARD, RECOVER FASTER.
Team Insahyu: Certified Athletic Therapists.