Modern ergonomic patterns often exaggerate the natural curve of our mid to upper back or thoracic spine. We sit at desks all day, slump while sitting in class, in meetings, when we eat, pushing a trolley, carrying a baby, driving a car, preparing food. These daily postures put the body into a constant forward flexion position. Aesthetically, this causes a visible rounding of the upper back, functionally however the problem can be much worse.
A reduction in thoracic mobility can have a number of impacts on how the body moves and functions. It’s easy to be lazy with our posture because we aren’t seeing the immediate side effects. However long term poor postural habits can be painful, debilitating and common.
Here are some of the more common side effects of decreased thoracic mobility.
- Breathing difficulties caused by stiffness through the rib cage
- Poor or decreased shoulder movements
- Changes to the lower back and pelvis leading to pain and injury
- Neck pain and Headaches
- Poor posture causing poor stabilisation and core control
When we have proper or increased thoracic mobility is allows lifting overhead and different exercises to notbe impinged by the shoulder blades, decreasing the chance of injury and allowing for more stability.
The ribcage attaches to the thoracic spine. Normal breathing requires the ribs to move like a bucket handle (lifting to the sides). The stiffer the rib joints are where they join at the spine means less movement can occur at this joint and this can make it more difficult to take a breath.