The region between neck and lower back
The thoracic area is a relatively immobile part of the spine compared to the neck and lumbar region. Mobility and correct movement is however extremely important in this part of the body as well, as breathing takes place in the thorax (20 to 22 thousand times a day).
The slightest imbalance in movement around the thorax can therefore be very significant, as it is a movement that happens a great many times and thus is very important for the body's overall functioning.
The region is therefore more affected by compensatory muscle tensions and consequent locking, i.e. some muscles become overworked as they attempt to compensate for the incorrect movement.
Less common are strain injuries and herniated discs, though these can also occur.
Posture can improve your breathing
Your posture is important for reducing the strain on the thoracic back region.
An incorrect sunken posture will amplify strain on the working muscles of the thoracic region. It presses the thorax flatter and restricts the possibility of breathing properly.
Protect your thoracic spine
- Vary your training, for example with endurance training and stability training as well as strength and circuit training.
- Avoid slouching your upper body - bring your shoulder blades together and sit with correct posture.
- Get ergonomic guidance in relation to your work stationVary your working positions.Take frequent breaks.
- Exercise regularly – see the exercises here
Many diagnoses are used to describe thoracic spine problems, such as joint locking, tension and to a lesser degree, disc protrusion and herniated disc.
Before you begin
- Stand in flat shoes or barefoot in comfortable, loose-fitting clothes.
- Make sure you have floor and arm space around you.
- Stand in a neutral position with both feet parallel, knees slightly bent, push your chest slightly forward and pull your chin in.
- Tense the deep core muscles and pelvic floor - take some deep breaths.
- Do each exercise at a slow pace.
- Repeat each exercise 5 to 10 times, take a break then repeat the exercise.
- The exercises should be performed daily.
- Stop immediately if you feel pain performing an exercise and consult your doctor or authorised therapist.
Contact your doctor
Always seek a physician or licensed therapist, if the pain has the same intensity for more than 36 hours.
- You can select several exercise by clicking on the icon below the video.
- Click on the top right corner to learn more about the exercise and see which muscle groups it trains.
- The video repeats and will continue to play until you click pause.
Thoracic spine problems
- Frequently, muscle tensions build gradually over time.
- Overstraining the musculature from monotonous working positions and lack of breaks.
- For example, crookedness of the spine (scoliosis) can cause the muscles to be chronically lengthened on one side and chronically shortened on the opposite side. An imbalance in muscle working can cause tension as the musculature will be overloaded.
- Other life aspects (psychological) that contribute to tension.
- Muscle tensions can give rise to aches to sharp pain. Muscle tension often feels constant spread over a wide part of the body.
- Often appear suddenly from a stooping position.
- Acute pain and severe muscle tension in the area between the shoulder blades aggravated by almost all movements and also often by breathing and coughing/sneezing/laughing.
- A pain described as being like "a knife in the back".
- Often "sneaks up" and worsens over a longer period.
- A protrusion of the disc core – can be the precursor to a herniated disc which is why the symptoms are similar but with lesser intensity.
- Localised pain in the neck corresponding to the location of the protrusion.
- Often initially experienced as pronounced back pain.
- A bulging or protrusion of the gelatinous disc core that leaks through the disc's cartilage ring and ligaments back toward the spinal canal.
- Reduced force or paralysis of individual muscles and sensory disturbances.