We are now launching our Mobility Monday! This will be a weekly occurrence in which we work with Dr. Jay Griffith at Lone Peak Physical Therapy. The goal of these posts is to provide you a better understanding of how the body works and moves. Understanding this is the key to optimizing athletic performance, resolving pain, and preventing injury. We hope that you enjoy these informative discussions and if you want to know more about a particular subject, please feel free to ask Jay in the comments below!
By now most of you know the importance of spending at least 10-15 minutes a day on mobility is, not only beneficial, but also mandatory (if you have not in fact heard this then do us all a favor, START THE TREND! Tell your friends, families, frenemies, gym patrons, even strangers that MOBILITY IS GOOD AND NEEDS TO BE DONE DAILY!!!!!). Back to the topic at hand……. We all have seen that person in the gym, work, coffee shop, movie theater, the car next to you, the guy/girl sitting across form you at the computer lab and possibly even in your own household with a rounded, hunched-over back. This epidemic known as kyphosis is not flattering, nor is it healthy! Kyphosis has not only been linked to lower back pain, but also wreaks havoc on your shoulders and may cause rotator cuff injuries!
Your thoracic spine is built for rotation, flexion, and extension. It is highly mobile; however, if you are reading this on your computer with your shoulders rounded, then chances are it has the potential for lost mobility. Because of its design for mobility, the thoracic spine must be used and moved.
When you find yourself with a rigid thoracic spine, your lower back and scapula take over the work load, which neither of them are meant to do. Chronic lower back pain and your scapula(s) are forced to move away from the spine making any and all overhead work difficult and even painful.
Before you start with the exercises mentioned below (or if you would like even more, feel free to contact us and we can get you started!), let’s first gain some insight on how bad your thoracic immobility might be.
The industry standard way of determining your thoracic immobility:
Lie down on the floor, back flat against it.
Your knees should be up with your feet and glutes flat on the floor.
Lock your elbows and bring your arms directly overhead, attempting to touch your wrists to the ground above your head.
Make sure to maintain contact between your lower back and the floor; don’t arch your back to get your hands in place.
If you find yourself unable to touch your wrists or struggled with some discomfort or pain (please FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY AND KIND DO NO FIGHT THROUGH THE PAIN) you do not have great thoracic mobility. That being said, if you were able to move through this with relative ease make sure you keep working on it!
In this week’s video Dr. Jay Griffith demonstrates a stretch that can be done at your the comfort of your own home or at the gym to help improve your thoracic mobility!
If you’re having trouble with pain in your lower back or shoulders, contact Dr. Griffith today to start your road to recovery today!
Lone Peak Physical Therapy 406.969.6610
*Please note that trying to treat, diagnose, and prevent injuries yourself is not recommended. Consult your certified trainer or physician before performing any of the following activities to assure proper form and possibly uncover any underlying issues that would prohibit you performing the following movements!