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Three Simple Hacks To Loosen Up Your Back, Neck and Shoulders

Thoracic Park

Is your upper back, shoulders and neck feeling stiff and tight? You need to memorize the term THORACIC MOBILITY!

The thoracic spine is the part of your spine between your neck and low back. It is what your rib cage connects to. It is supposed to be flexible and mobile, but more often than not, it is too stiff. Not only will this create pain and stiffness in the mid-back, but it can also cause problems in the neck, low back and shoulders.

Dr. Katherine Edgecombe | Calgary Chiropractor

Series of Linkages

You see, we’re designed to move as a series of linkages that all have to work together in order to move well. If you mess up one of those linkages, then it creates additional stress and strain on the surrounding area(s).

So, if you stiffen up the thoracic area, you create additional stress and strain in the neck, low back and shoulders. We often see this in clinic where someone will come in with pain in the neck, back or shoulders but the assessment reveals that those areas are the victim of the thoracic area not doing its job.

Why is this important?

Unless you find and treat the culprit, you won’t get anywhere. If your neck, shoulder or back is the victim of poor thoracic mobility, it makes sense to improve the thoracic mobility first to offload the other areas. This isn’t as hard as it sounds.

Turns out, the good news is that the thoracic spine and mid-back region respond extremely well to the right dose of exercises. If your thoracic spine mobility is limited and your entire upper body is paying for it, these three simple exercises will get you moving well and feeling better!

Save this one for later and share it with someone who needs it!

Kneeling Thoracic Spine Extension

Do three (3) sets of 8-10 repetitions.

  • Keep your elbows on an elevated surface
  • Drive your chest towards the floor

PRO TIP: Avoid dipping/rounding through the low back

You may feel a stretch in the shoulders or lats for an extra bonus

Open Books

Perform three (3) sets of 8-10 repetitions on each side.

  • Side-lying on the mat with the knees bent, ankles stacked, arms are straight and palms together
  • Open up to the opposite side reaching towards the floor, follow your gaze with you hand as you reach
  • Keep the shoulders down and away from the ears during this motion

PRO TIP: Try to keep knees together and not open up through the hips to isolate thoracic rotation!

You should feel a nice and gentle stretch in the middle region of your back and chest (pecs) when you perform this exercise.

Thoracic Spine Windmill

Perform three (3) sets of 8-10 repetitions on each side.

  • Start in a 1/2 kneeling position against a walk with a ball between your inner leg and the wall.
  • Tuck your pelvic and engage your core
  • Try to rotate with your hand all the way around slow and controlled, then rotate back
  • Eyes follow the moving hand

PRO TIP: Place a ball between your inner leg and the wall. This will ensure you DON’T cheat with any hip/pelvic motion!



That’s it! These should only take you 15-20 minutes to do. Just think, in only 15-20 minutes a day, you will be feeling even more awesome than you currently do. Hard to believe right?

Stay tuned for more PRO TIPS and tricks from your friendly neighbourhood spine crew. 🙂

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