Thoracic Spine Health and Back Pain

Your thorax is the part of your body between your neck and your abdomen, so your thoracic spine is that mid-to-upper back area around your shoulders. Frequently, people associate back pain with the lumbar or lower spine, but much of those pain problems might actually originate from issues the thoracic spine. Thoracic issues can also lead to shoulder pain, neck stiffness or pain, and a host of other problems throughout the body. 

The thoracic area is the central part of the S-curve of your spine, and has the ability to flex, extend and axially rotate. The thoracic region is also the longest portion of your spine, and the only one attached to the rib cage. As you can imagine, the health of your thoracic spine is going to have a huge impact on the other portions of your back. With 12 vertebrae, the Thoracic spine is the most complicated portion of the spine, and therefore a good place to look if you are dealing with bodily pain. There are two major types of thoracic issues I see daily in the gym that can contribute to back pain issues. 

Bracing for back pain management

In the first installment of the Your Beautiful Back series, we talked about pelvic tilt, and the effect the position of your pelvis can have on the health of your back. This week, we are focusing on how to appropriately brace your core to support your spinal health. 

Bracing is when you activate specific muscles in your core to keep your spine in a neutral position while you move. It’s something we learn to do as kids as we grow and build our body awareness, but as adults our movement becomes limited, our body awareness and abilities may decrease, and suddenly the brace is forgotten like an elementary school Tamagotchi. 

Use Pelvic Control to Help Back Pain

Dearest readers, thank you for jumping on board this new venture with me. I am so excited to have the opportunity to share some of my personal expertise with all of the incredible Constellation clients. In this series, Your Beautiful Back, my goal is to offer you small changes you can make that will help you manage your back pain through simple changes in your patterns, as well as some easy at-home movements.

Maybe it feels like I am making a big assumption that your back hurts, but according to National Institute of Neurological Disorders, about 80% of adults experience low back pain at some point in their lifetimes. So, even if you aren’t experiencing it now, you may at some point. 

Why All Athletes Should Get Acupuncture

Kobe Bryant does it. So does McKayla Moroney. Dee Dee Trotter even brought someone to London with her in order to continue her treatments during the Olympic games. What’s their secret to functioning at the professional athletic level? Acupuncture.

Once only thought of as a last resort for people with low back pain, people with conditions varying from autoimmune diseases to generalized anxiety are now turning to acupuncture for help. This is especially true for active individuals. Athletes of all levels are embracing the benefits that acupuncture produces: quicker recovery time after strenuous workouts, help healing from injuries, less anxiety during competitions, and the list goes on and on.