If you have a computer job, are constantly driving, or just sitting at home for multiple hours at a time, it’s trashing your spine. Sitting is the new smoking! It creates a lot of mid-back problems that are typically secondary to what’s going on in your cervical spine. How can we fix it? First, you always want to take care of the nervous system by correcting and improving those curves by getting adjustments and chiropractic care. Beyond that, there are some simple things you can do to relax and relieve the muscles and tension and to help strengthen and relieve those problems:
- Use a foam roller or ball to loosen the muscles. This can be done against the wall or on the floor to make it easier.
- Against the wall, put a ball behind your back and let it roll down from the wall until the placement is between your shoulder blades. Press your back against the ball and work side-to-side and up-and-down. The more pressure you put against the wall, the more it’s really kneading those muscles and getting them to relax. Other items you could use that may be around your house would be a medicine ball, basketball, soccer ball or tennis ball that would work just as well.
- Open up the thoracic cage. Some of us really need to open up the roundedness we get in our backs by doing extension exercises. This will strengthen and stretch the mid-back and takes you the opposite direction of being rolled.
- Put your forearms against the wall and then force your torso towards the wall while bringing your rhomboids and shoulder blades together. The wall will help with balance and will help open up that mid-back spine. Perform for 30-60 seconds. Great exercise if you’re dealing with roundedness.
- Cat-cow position exercise. This will help stretch and work the full range of the thoracic spine that can get tight and sore.
- On the floor, position yourself on your hands and knees (all fours). Round your back and roll your spine towards the ceiling (like a cat stretch) and get full flexion in your spine. Then arch your back, and sag your stomach towards the flow (cow position). This will bring your thoracic spine through a full range of motion. Perform for 30 to 60 seconds or 24 to 40 repetitions.
- Use spinal wedges. Wedges can be used to open up the chest and creep the ligaments back into their correct position.
- Lay flat on your back with a wedge in between your shoulder blades. Let gravity open up the chest cavity and stretch it out for about 60 seconds. Essentially you’re doing the opposite of what sitting at a computer does to your spine.
These simple at-home exercises will reinforce the thoracic spine to go back in the right direction and stop all that mid-back pain that you’re experiencing.