A Stretch That Will Change Your Life

Want to know the greatest exercise in the whole world?

It’s a stretch that will change your life – and you just have to lie down to do it!! 

 

Spinal mobility/flexibility is vital for pain-free movement. Our thoracic spine (the part between your shoulder blades and the area that all of your ribs attach on to) is especially important. The thoracic spine has a tendency to get stiff and bend forward. Gravity is a big factor in this, as is the amount of sitting we do and the fact that most of the things we do are in front of us.

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1227
A decrease or stiffness in thoracic spine extension (the ability to straighten up) can have wide spread consequences.  It can lead to:-

·         Neck pain

·         Low back pain

·         Shoulder pain and restriction (especially in over head athletes: throwers, swimmers, racquet sports)

·         Thoracic rib or chest pain

·         Headaches

·         and even difficultly with breathing (if the ribs are not able to move easily)

 

HOW CAN WE STOP THIS HAPPENING?

 

Try this incredibly simple but amazing powerful and effective stretch to improve your thoracic spine mobility – You will need a pillow and a bath towel (not a bath sheet or beach towel as they are too big!)

 

 

1.    Fold dry towel in ½ lengthwise and roll it up

2.   Place it on the floor (or your bed if you can’t get down and lie down on the floor) on your back on b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1220top of the towel. The towel needs torun along the length of your spine – the top of it at the base of your neck and the rest running down between your shoulder blades towards your lower back.

3.    Have a pillow to support your neck (or 2 pillows if you need).

4.    Bend your knees up to protect your lower spine.

5.    Relax and breathe!!! Stay in this position for 2-3 minutes letting gravity and your body weight work for you to gently stretch and straighten (extend) your thoracic spine.

6.    For an extra beautiful stretch across the front of your chest, straighten your arms out to the side to make a “T” shape. N.B. Importantly this must FEEL GOOD. If it dosn’t – STOP!!

 

 

It should feel really nice – NO PAIN. You may experience some clicks and cracks in your spine while doing this. If so – don’t worry – it is quite normal as long as it is not painful.

Relax and breathe easily for 2-3 minutes. When it is time to get up – roll off the towel onto your side and then get up.

 

If we could all do this stretch daily we would have so many less problems.

Try it for yourself and see – you could be amazed!!

 

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1225

 

And to answer the common questions:

·         You can use a pool noodle or foam roller (it’s just not as comfortable for some people)

·         You can also do this with the towel/roller going across your back to target a specific area if directed.

·         It is useful for most people – not all. Modifications can be made for some people if necessary.

Remember – it should feel really good! If it doesn’t – STOP!

and keep calm and call RHP Physiotherapy!