Your spine is made up of different sections, each supplying nerves to different body parts. However, the part in the middle (the thoracic spine) is increasingly becoming less mobile.
What is the thoracic spine?
This is the part of the spine that starts at the bottom of your neck and runs down to where your back arches in at the bottom. This is the part of the spine where the ribs attach to create the rib cage, vital to protecting your organs. This part of the body is affected largely by sedentary lifestyles and jobs, essentially too much sitting at desks in front of computers.
Prolonged sitting commonly leads to poor posture and to your head moving further forward, and your thoracic spine curves forward putting stress on the joints and nerves. This results in stiffness and discomfort.
So what movements have we lost?
Extension is when something gets longer, this equates to us leaning back. As we adopt more seated positions we curl forward losing this important movement.
“This leads to the previously mentioned forward head movement (also known as Anterior Cervcial Structure), which puts pressure on the nerves in the neck, meaning we are more susceptible to headaches, neck aches and problems into the shoulder, arms and hands!”
This also has leads to the low back part of the spine changing shape (as they’re connected) and can increase the likelihood of problems in the low back and legs.
Rotation is something we see more on movements. When clients report discomfort on reaching for something, or pain on a sporting activity, I find it is usually due to a lack of rotation. The movement in the thoracic spine isn’t sufficient so the muscles around it are strained and the joints around it (such as the shoulder) will have to move too much. A lack of rotation can lead to:
- Rotator cuff injuries
- Shoulder pain
- Rib pain
What do I need to do?
The main thing you can do day to day is the watch how you’re sitting and standing, avoiding looking down at phones or computer screens for extended periods of time. The other great thing is to see a Chiropractor for a full assessment of your body to find out the cause of issues, or to find any movement issues before they cause you pain in the first place.
Call us today to find out how we can help you move better and prevent injuries.