Thoracic Spine Mobility Exercises

by Jan 20, 2023Exercises

Improve your Thoracic Spine Mobility

We spend a lot of the day sitting at desks, and therefore our thoracic spine can get quite stiff. Keeping it loose and limber will help with pain alleviation, posture and for overall health.

T-Spine Side Flexion

  • Start by sitting with your hands crossed over your chest, doing this will help target the t-spine itself
  • For this movement we want to stay in a frontal plane, not bending forward or backwards, keeping that neutral middle ground
  • Start by leaning to one side, so you’re trying to bend your body all the way over to one side as far as you can and then come back to straight, and then all the way over to the other side
  • You don’t need to hold the movement because we’re doing a mobility exercise rather than a stretch
  • Try this 4 or 5 times, going back and forth, depending on how you feel
  • Pain limitation will be your indicator to stop or to not push too far

T-Spine Rotations

  • Start by sitting with your hands crossed over your chest, you want to be sitting because if you stand, the movement will be coming from your hips instead
  • Sitting nice and tall, twist your body towards one side as far as you can without lifting your buttocks off the chair, and then do the same to the other side
  • Make sure that your elbows are up and away from your body, that will help you allow better, greater movement
  • If you feel that you go further on one side, that’s an indication that you may be less mobile in that direction
  • Pain is something to be aware of, if it hurts, don’t force it, you can lessen the amount of repetitions you do

T-Spine Circles

  • In a sitting position, with your hands across your chest and elbows up in the air
  • Try to make big circles with your arms and therefore your t-spine
  • You will kind of arch backwards, bringing your elbows up and then bringing them down through like you’re drawing a circle or following the arms of a clock
  • Try to get that whole rotation and side bend happening at the same time in one smooth movement
  • If you notice pain or discomfort, you can adjust the direction or the angle of your circle
  • Make sure that you’re breathing while doing this!

Jefferson Curls

  • Start by standing up straight, and then slowly curl your neck down
  • As you curl your head down, curl your shoulder blades down and then your mid-back and low-back
  • Similar to a sloppy forward blend, from the bottom part you’re going to do the reverse, so starting from the tailbone, straighten out, into the mid-back, into the shoulder area and then into your neck
  • You can think of it like moving one segment at a time, slowly bending down, curling forward, reaching down towards your toes, allowing each segment of your back to bend and doing the reverse of that
  • If this isn’t giving you much of a stretch, you can hold a bit of weight, starting lift with maybe 10 lbs. you could also stand on a platform or stool that will allow your hands to go a bit below your feet

Cat & Cow

  • This exercise works all 3 segments of your back, not just the t-spine
  • Start on your hand and knees, tuck your head underneath your arms, as you do that, push up your shoulders and tuck your tailbone underneath 
  • Opposite to that, stick out your buttocks and let your stomach fall down, let your shoulders fall down and then look up
  • Try to think about moving each of the segments on your back one at a time as you curl through the different postures of the spine
  •  If you notice any of these areas causing discomfort or pain, try not to push through the extreme of those areas and just focus on the areas that are moving better
  • Overtime, you can try to think about getting everything moving well and to the furthest extent as possible

Check out the video below to follow along with the exercises in real time.