The Thoracic Spine – What Does it Do?
Thoracic spine refers to the area between your neck and your collar bone. The thorax (chest) is made up of three parts: the lungs, heart, and diaphragm. All these organs work together to move air into our body through our lungs and expel waste products out of our bodies through our kidneys.
In addition to breathing, the thoracic spine supports the spinal column which holds all other bones in place. Without support from the spine, all four vertebrae would collapse inward and cause severe damage or even death.
When this happens, the ribs are no longer held in their sockets and they can break off. If not treated immediately, a broken rib could lead to internal bleeding or even rupture of the chest wall itself.
When the thoracic spine is injured, it may become unstable and unable to support its own weight. This instability causes the lower back to round excessively.
A rounded lower back increases the risk of injury when trying to walk or even sitting down. The rounded lower back also makes it difficult for the arms and hands to reach around because there isn’t enough space between them and your body. When you try to reach, the chest and upper back are forced to round.
What is Thoracic Spine Mobility?
Thoracic spine mobility refers to the ability of your spinal column to bend and twist on its own. In addition to breathing, spinal mobility is important for reaching around. When the spine is flexible, you can twist from side-to-side with little effort.
In some individuals, the bones of the spine are fused together. In these people, the spinal column cannot bend or twist at all.
If the column is not flexible enough, you may experience pain and limited range of motion. If spinal mobility is limited, it can cause other areas of the back, such as the lower back or neck to become injured.
What are the Benefits of Thoracic Spine Mobility?
When your spine moves, your body gains better control over its ability to breathe. When you play sports or run, your chest and abdomen must be able to rise and fall with each breath. If this does not happen, your body cannot expel carbon dioxide and take in oxygen.
When the spine is flexible, it can twist and bend in many different directions. This helps keep your organs from becoming damaged or compressed, such as the heart.
When the lungs and organs have room to move about, they are less likely to get injured.
What is Thoracic Spine Extension?
Thoracic spine extension refers to the distance between each of your vertebrae. Each bone in your spinal column is covered by a layer of muscles and soft tissue known as the paraspinal muscles. These muscles wrap around the front, back and sides of your spinal column. Together, these muscles and soft tissues are known as the thoracolumbar fascia.
When these muscles contract, they cause your lower back to bend forward or extend. When these muscles relax, your lower back returns to its natural position.
During exercise and activity, these muscles contract when you bend forward and relax when you return to an upright position.
What are the Advantages of Thoracic Spine Extension?
During compound exercises such as the squat and leg press, your lower back must bend forward (flex) in order to perform the movement correctly. Afterward, it should return to its natural position. If it doesn’t, you may suffer an injury such as a hernia or strain. By regularly performing exercises that involve spinal extension, you can strengthen the muscles around your lower back so they can better handle the flexion required for these movements.
What is Thoracic Spine Rotation?
Spinal rotation is the ability of your spinal column to twist on its own. Muscles in your back, abdomen and hips contract and relax to twist the spine one way or another. These muscles work in the same way as all other muscles in your body. They contract when they should and relax when they shouldn’t. If they don’t, you may suffer an injury.
What are the Advantages of Thoracic Spine Rotation?
Spinal rotation is important for many sports and activities. For example, when you throw a baseball, your arm moves in a straight line forward. Your body, however, rotates in a counterclockwise motion. When you swing a golf club, your arms bend backward (extend) while your torso twists to the right. These movements require rotation at various points in your spine. By regularly performing spinal rotation exercises, you can train your muscles to rotate your spine with greater ease and control.
What is Kyphosis?
Kyphosis (ky-foh-sis) occurs when the upper back begins to round forward.
Sources & references used in this article:
Solid to the Neck, Mid-Back and Shoulder: Simple Exercises to improve and prevent injuries by J Farand-Taylor – 2009 – books.google.com
Search for: Panther Blog Pain, Posture and Productivity: How to improve your workday Did you know that back pain is the leading cause of disability … by BGUAC Patient – panthersportsmedicine.com
Get Your Mojo Back: 5 Real-Life Tips for the Sleep Deprived by R Meson, VA Herndon – 2017
Effects of 16-week functional movement screen training program on strength and flexibility of elite high school baseball players by C Kobernik – breakingmuscle.com