Suffering from low back pain or neck pain? Mobilizing your thoracic spine on a foam roller may help! This is one of the most common exercises we teach our patients to help them improve and maintain their thoracic extension.
What to do:
- Lay down with knees bent and the foam roller placed horizontally underneath the upper back (t-spine)
- Start with the roller placed at the lower t-spine
- Place your hands behind your neck to support your head
- Point your elbows forward (away from your face)
- Gently bend backwards over the foam roller and hold briefly
- Come back off the foam roller (like a sit up motion) and gently bend backwards again
- Repeat for 10-12 reps
- Move the foam roller higher up on the t-spine and repeat in at least 3 different places on the t-spine (lower/mid/upper)
- Having the elbows pointed forward keeps the shoulder blades apart (protracted), allowing the foam roller more access to the vertebrae
- Roller should be placed no lower than the bottom of the rib cage and no higher than C7-T1
- You can move the foam roller higher up on the t-spine by rolling it up with your elbows or by scooting your bottom further down
- As you move higher up, the foam roller may start to slide. You can avoid this by lifting up the hips to get a better placement on the foam roller.
- Feel around for those stiffer segments and spend more time on those areas!
- Keep the stomach tucked in and the abs tight to help prevent extension from the lumbar segments to get the most out of this mobilization!