The thoracic spine is built for rotation, flexion, and extension. It is highly mobile – or, rather, it has the potential for lots of mobility. Our modern lifestyle leaves us hunched in front of the computer for long periods of time. This causes our thoracic spine to “flex” forward (hunch back) and may cause restrictions in the joints over time. Hunching of the thoracic spine predisposes you to neck, shoulder and lower back pain.
When was the last time you thought about breathing? Normal breathing requires the ribs to move like a bucket handle (they lift to the sides) and create space for your lungs to expand. A lack of mobility in the thoracic spine means less movement can occur at the rib joints and this can make it more difficult to breathe in general, let alone during moments when you need a higher oxygen intake such as when exercising. A good supply of oxygen can come in handy!