Why is Thoracic Mobility important you ask?
Clients ask us all the time why thoracic mobility is important … We like to use the following example: The human spine has 24 joints (not including the sacrum and coccyx). If a large weight was thrown onto that spine, the weight would be evenly distributed through all of the joints and each joint would therefore absorb equal pressure… now let’s pretend that you have stiffness in your spine and 12 of those joints (that’s how many segments that thoracic spine has) do not move well at all and can no longer absorb their share of the shock.
That means that each of the remaining joints has to now take up the slack and has to absorb additional pressure… which it’s not built to do. Each joint of our spine is designed to absorb a certain amount of force and provide a certain amount of mobility, as our spine stiffens in certain areas, other areas of the spine have to make up for that loss, which can lead to back pain and injuries in those areas.
Our focus is predominantly on the thoracic spine because the thoracic spine is designed for stability – it protects our lungs and heart. Because of its’ inherent stability, we, as humans, tend to avoid moving it, which makes it even more stiff, but it IS designed to move and absorb some of those stresses placed on the body. A stiff thoracic spine can lead to low back or neck pain because those extra pounds of pressure get redirected to the more mobile aspects of the spine.
As the wise Joseph Pilates once said, “You are only as young as your spine is flexible”.