What exactly is your thoracic spine? This term you might hear during your PT, neurologist, or orthopedic appointments. And as a patient, it is important to be aware of your body and how it works in order to be the best advocate for yourself. A high amount of EDS/HSD patients suffer from thoracic dysfunction and pain, and we want to help! Below you will find a run down of the T-spine and its anatomy, as well as some safe mobilization exercises to get yourself feeling good.
The thoracic spine is the most complex and largest region of the spine. It connects the cervical spine to the lumbar spine, and runs from the base of the neck down to your abdomen. Your thoracic spine is the only spinal region that connects the spine to the ribs. And while the cervical and lumbar spine are built for mobility, the thoracic spine is built for STABILITY! Stability is something that many hypermobile patients struggle with, simply because of the laxity in our joints.
Your t-spine is made up of 12 vertebrae, and form a natural curve that allows room for the internal organs such as the heart and lungs. The thoracic spine has two main functions: protecting the spinal cord and anchoring the rib cage. Your spinal cord is a vital bundle of nerves that are in charge of sending electrical signals throughout the body, and starts at the brainstem in your cervical (neck) spine and goes down the spine before branching into a small nerve bundle in your lumbar (lower) spine.
Being sedentary for long periods of time contributes greatly to upper and mid thoracic pain, and can induce a stiff spine. Below are a few good thoracic mobilization exercises you can use to help ease that back tension!
— Thoracic spine extension: Use a foam roller and place it perpendicular to your spine onto the part of your spine that needs some extra TLC. While holding a yoga block or ball, elevate your arms as far as is comfortable without flaring your ribs. Focus on extending your spine on the foam roller while doing this!
— If you have a Pilates rotating disc, you can lay on this and pivot your upper body while keeping the rest of your muscles engaged.
There are also a number of helpful YouTube videos made for hypermobile people for strengthening your T-spine. But if you want a more hands on approach, we are here for you! Just reach out to our office to schedule a consultation or follow up!
Be sure to consult with your primary care physician or other medical professionals in regards to your medical concerns. This text cannot and should not replace advice from the patient's healthcare professionals. Any person who experiences unusual symptoms or feels that something may be wrong should seek individual professional help for evaluation and/or treatment.