Are you working from home or in a prolong seated position throughout the day? This blog article will teach you a series of postural exercises that you can do from home and you will also learn where to avoid compensating to really target that area between your shoulder blades!
Anatomy Lesson – The Thoracic Spine
When we specifically speak about postural exercises, we like to target the thoracic area of your spine. This is the mid part between your cervical (neck) and lumbar (low back) region. These are the vertebras that are joined with your rib cage and is often the area that is more rounded. Naturally, it is an area that is stiffer considering its anatomical complexity. The joints in this area promote rotational movements – turning to your left and right. Unfortunately, in our practice, we tend to notice that our patients have limited rotation. Can working in sitting for most of the day contribute to this? Most likely, but truthfully, we tend to see general stiffness in this area and most people tend to compensate rotational movements from other areas. We think everyone should spend a little time working on their thoracic mobility.
Is Sitting All Day Bad?!
For some individuals, being seated for a long time creates minimal or no complaints. This is great!
For others, this can create strain in your neck as we tend to adopt a forward head posture. This can consequently create other problems in other areas. To name a few:
- Tennis and golfers elbow (tendinitis in elbows);
- Carpel tunnel;
- Shoulder impingement (tendinitis);
- Sore spots (knots) between the shoulder blades;
- Numbness and tingling in various areas of your hand or arm.
Don’t get us wrong…seated all day is not a bad thing! As long as you spend time working on specific movements that counter that prolong rounded position. In fact, we encourage patients to get up and move a few times throughout the day, especially if you are glued to your seat for a long period of time.
You should also be mindful of a proper seated posture when working from home. You can reference to our previous blog.
Things to Avoid!
Before sharing with you some valuable postural exercises that you can do in the comfort of your home, we want to point out two areas where patients tend to compensate when working on their thoracic mobility. The goal of our blog is to help you identify the areas we would like you to avoid moving so you can target the thoracic area with more ease and therefore really grasp the benefits of these exercises. When working on thoracic mobility, you should feel a stretch in the area along your shoulder blade/mid upper back.
- Avoid arching the lower back. By doing this, you are encouraging more movement in the lumbar spine, and less in the thoracic area. To counter this, we educate patients to keep their lumbar spine in neutral by engaging their core, or we promote exercises where the trunk is flexed (bent forward).
- During some movements where you are working on extension (going backwards), we tend to see patients using their neck to gain more movement. We cue our patients to avoid hyperextending the neck and focus on the area between the shoulder blades instead.
Keep in mind that these are suggestions and do not take in consideration your personal limitations or previous injuries. We also strongly suggest consulting with a professional to be able to identify compensating areas that may be limiting you from benefiting from these mobility exercises.