17 exercises to improve your thoracic spine

Did you know that…

Your thoracic spine plays one of the most vital roles in maintaining your posture?

In fact – It is absolutely impossible to attain the ideal posture if the thoracic spine is not addressed.

 

//  Where is the thoracic spine?

thx

The thoracic spine is the area between your neck and lower back. It consists of 12 vertebra, 12 pair of ribs and a multitude of muscular connections.

It’s quite significant actually. It makes up the majority of your torso.

Ideally – the thoracic spine should be mobile and flexible. However, due to poor posture (especially when it’s coupled with prolonged sitting), the thoracic spine becomes stiff. This usually results in the many poor postures that I see on a daily basis.

Poor thoracic function could be the cause of your bad posture!

So having that said, it is imperative that we know how to address the thoracic spine.

 


Disclaimer: All exercises are to be performed pain-free. If you are unsure if you should be doing these exercises, please contact me or see a health professional.


// Thoracic spine exercises

Releases:

Muscular tissue can become “unhealthy”!

Those muscles which tend to be over-active, weak and/or tight can develop knots/trigger points/stiffness. As a result, they are no longer able to function properly. Releasing these “unhealthy” tissues will break down any adhesions, loosen the muscle up and return the “healthy” muscular tissue.

NOTE: Make sure you are able to breathe throughout these release exercises. If you find that you are holding your breath, back off on the pressure being applied.

Aim to hold each position for 1-2 minutes. Feel free to hold it for longer if you are particularly tight in the area.

1. Between shouder blades

shoudler blade ball

Instructions:

  • Grab a massage ball. (tennis or lacrosse ball will work fine)
  • Position your body over the ball as to target the areas as shown above.
  • Apply appropriate amount of pressure onto the ball.
  • Slowly circle around the target area and pause at any areas that illicit more tenderness.

2. Chest

ball chest

Instructions:

  • Grab a massage ball. (tennis or lacrosse ball will work fine)
  • Place ball onto a wall or floor.
  • Press your chest against the ball on the wall/floor.
  • Apply appropriate amount of pressure onto the ball.
  • Slowly circle around the target area and pause at any areas that illicit more tenderness.
  • Move arm around to increase release.

3. Lats

latfoam

Instructions:

  • Place a foam roller on the floor.
  • Position your body on top of the foam roller so that it is in direct contact with the lats (see above).
  • Apply appropriate amount of pressure onto the foam roller.
  • Slowly move around the target area and pause at any areas that illicit more tenderness.
  • You may want to move your arm around to increase the release.
  • Repeat on other side.

4. Upper abdominals

ball upper abs

Instructions:

  • Grab a massage ball (tennis or lacrosse ball will work fine)
  • Position your body over the ball as to target the areas as shown above.
  • Apply appropriate amount of pressure onto the ball.
  • Slowly circle around the target area and pause at any areas that illicit more tenderness.
  • Note: Please take care with this release. Too much pressure can compress your organs!

4. Intercostals

intercostalx

Instructions:

  • With your finger, feel the gaps between your ribs.
  • Starting from the outmost side of your ribs, trace this gap towards the midline.
  • Apply appropriate amount of pressure through your finger tip.
  • Slowly circle around the target area and pause at any areas that illicit more tenderness.

 

Stretches

Now that you have released your muscles, the next step is to stretch! It is important that your body is capable of movement through normal range.

Hold each stretch for a minimum 0f 30 seconds. Make sure you feel a stretch in the targeted areas.

 

6. Side stretch

Side stretch

This stretch predominantly targets the latissimus dorsi muscle.

Instructions:

  • Reach over and bend to the side.
  • Aim to feel the stretch on the side of your body.
  • Repeat on the other side.

7. Front stretch

Chest stretch

This stretch predominantly targets the pectoralis (chest) muscle.

Instructions:

  • Place your outreached hand on a door frame.
  • Lunge forward.
  • Aim to feel a stretch at the front of your chest.
  • Repeat on the other side.

8. Intercostals

These muscles are situated between the ribs. Surprisingly, they can actually get pretty tight!

intercostal stretch

… I call this my sexy pose 🙂

Instructions:

  • Lie on your side whilst leaning on your elbow
  • Bend your body to the upper side.
  • Aim to feel a stretch at the side of your rib cage.
  • Repeat on the other side.

9. Posterior line stretch

Posterior line stretch

Instructions:

  • Whilst sitting down, pull your head down and bring your chin closer to your upper chest
  • Bend forward making sure to round your upper back.
  • Aim to feel a stretch at the back between the shoulder blades.

Mobility

Let’s get moving! You may feel/hear clicks when you perform these mobility exercises. Don’t worry – it’s normal. The tighter your joints, the more clicks you’ll have.

10. Extension

Thoracic extension

Instructions:

  • Place a foam roller (a rolled up towel will work too) on the floor.
  • Lie down on the ground and position the foam roll so that it is in the middle of your upper back.
  • Stretch arms over head and arch backwards.
  • Hold for 1 minute.

11. Flexion

flat round back

Instructions:

  • Get into the 4 point kneel position.
  • Proceed to round your upper back. Feel a gentle stretch at the back as your elongate your spine.
  • Proceed to flatten your back.
  • Alternate between these 2 positions for 20 reps.

12. Rotation

rotation

Instructions:

  • Sit down on a chair.
  • Place your hand on the outer side of the opposite knee
  • With the other hand, grab onto the back of the chair.
  • Rotate your spine (as to look behind you).
  • Oscillate in this position for 10 repetitions.
  • Repeat on the other side.

13. Translations

thoracic translation

Instructions:

  • Try to keep your shoulders level whilst performing this movement.
  • Lean your shoulder to one side.
  • Alternate sides for 10 repetitions.

 

Strengthening

14. Wall angel

angel 1 angel 2

Instructions:

  • Stand with your back to a wall.
  • Keep your back and arms pulled backwards as to remain in contact with the wall throughout movements.
  • Place your arms in the ‘W’ starting position.
  • Transition to ‘I’ position.
  • 10 repetitions.

15. Parallel angel

horizontal retraction

Instructions:

  • Support your chest on a stool. (as to keep your body parallel with the floor)
  • Place your arms in the ‘W’ starting position.
  • Transition to ‘I’ position.
  • Keep your back muscles pulled backwards throughout all movements.
  • 10 repetitions.

16. Side bends

side bend with weight

Instructions:

  • Whilst standing, hold a weight in your right hand.
  • Proceed to side bend to the left hand side.
  • Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 20 times.
  • Repeat exercise on other side.
  • Note: Start at a weight that you are comfortable with. Increase the weight when you are ready to progress the exercise.

17. Rotation in 4 point kneel

thoracic rotation 4pt kneel

Instructions:

  • Get into the 4 point kneel position.
  • Place one hand behind your head.
  • Proceed to twist your body to the side where the hand is on your head.
  • Brace your abdominals. Keep your ribs cage low
  • Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 20 times.
  • Repeat exercise on the other side.

 


Here are the best 17 exercises that I know of that will significantly improve your thoracic region.

Let me know how it goes!

Share some love in the comment sections below! I’d love to hear from you.

 

 

About

I am a physiotherapist who has personally experienced the pain as a result of bad posture. I would like to offer you some of the solutions that I and my patients have greatly benefited from.

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57 thoughts on “17 exercises to improve your thoracic spine

  1. Hi Mark,
    thank you so much for sharing your knowledge?
    I suffer with chronic thoracic pain which started due to tense muscles/armoring from stress. I am seeing a remedial massage therapist who is helping me to un-hunch my back, but also to fix the rest of my posture (pelvic alignment, rounded shoulders strengthen lower abs etc).
    I am quite overwhelmed with all the stretches and strengthening, and often spend over an hour on the work she has suggested for me, but I’d like to add in what you’ve advised in these articles. Can you suggest how to go about my whole body releasing, stretching and strengthening so I don’t have to increase the time I’m spending to even more than an hour a day? I mean, should I do lower body one day, upper the next? I know that you can get a better response with one part of your body after you’ve realigned another part, hence I have been doing the whole body.
    Thanks again, your site is awesome!

    1. Hey Krystal,

      If you are short on time, focus on just one area.

      It is better to do one area very well then move on to the next when you are ready.

      Mark

  2. Hi Mark,
    I’m a nail technician an have been experiencing thoracic back pain and deep feverishness at times, how do I correct my back.thanks
    Tilda

  3. Hello Mark, I’m having thoracic back pain I suspect due to ACDF surgery last November. What do you suggests. Thanks for your help.

  4. Hi Mark! I enjoyed reading this! I recently had a bad fall from a gymnastic stunt and fractured my t9 and t10. I’ve had my brace on for about 3 weeks now and although my spine doesn’t hurt for the most part, I’m scared to start stretching/exercising. Is there a correct time to start stretching again?

    1. Hi Kyle,

      It depends on how severe the fracture is but I would generally wait 6 weeks for the bones to heal.

      You may need to get a re-scan to make sure you are healing properly before you start doing anything strenuous with your back.

      Mark

  5. Hi, Mark. (Sorry this comment ended up being quite long). I have had thoracic pain since before Christmas, due to a job that had me standing and working at a table that was way too low for me. I spent the whole day looking downward while trying to avoid hunching as much as possible; the pain started in my neck and then moved to my middle back. I am no longer at the job, but I feel the habits have been ingrained in me. 90% of my pain now occurs at night while I’m sleeping. Often times I have to get out of bed in the middle of the night and come sleep on the couch (in a slightly sitting-up position where the top half of my body is basically resting up against a bunch of pillows in the nook of the couch, and my legs kind of curled up). For some reason, being laid out on a bed brings all the pain. I have slept in several different beds since the pain started, tried all sorts of pillow and posture combinations, but they only partially work. Any thoughts as to why sleeping on the couch in that position doesn’t hurt? When I DO wake up with lots of pain, the pain is 80% gone within an hour of being up and moving around. However, I do have a very general sense of pain in my back 24/7. I have tried many different stretches that help, but I still haven’t been able to determine and remove the cause of the pain. I want to destroy the cause, not just treat the symptoms. Should I go ahead and do your 17 exercises as described, or do you have any insight or specific workouts that might fit my particular situation? Thanks a great deal for your time.

    1. Hey Logan,

      Is your pain directly on the middle of your thoracic spine?

      Or more of a muscular issue between your shoulder blades?

      Lying down flat might place your body in a position where it irritates certain structures in your body. The partial sit up position is probably placing less pressure on these said structures.

      The 17 thoracic exercises will help you out, but you need to find out exactly what is hurting, and why.

      Mark

      1. Hi, Mark. Thanks a lot for the response!

        It’s definitely not muscular. It’s directly in the middle of the spine. I think it’s caused mainly from lack of motion. It’s almost like when I’m asleep, it’s getting locked into whatever position that’s causing it to hurt. Probably the same position that my previous job “trained” it to be in. At my current job, it’s hit or miss whether it hurts or not. I know there it’s caused from just slightly leaning over my work area as I stand. But I do everything in my power to avoid this position while I sleep. So either I’m still doing it and don’t realize it, or the problem is broader than I think it is.

  6. I suffer from spondylosis, retrolisthesis, and chronic pain syndrome (and other more serious conditions unrelated to pain). I’m scheduled to have a thoracic medial branch block on Monday. I suspect at least some of my pain is because of poor posture and deconditioning from three years of some serious health issues. I’ve already had nerve ablation on my lumbar spine after physical therapy failed to resolve my lower back pain. This site caught my attention, and I am looking forward to trying the releases, stretches, and exercises that I am able to do. I really don’t want to go through formal physical therapy for the fourth time. I am tired. (I will run them by my Pain Management Physician first.) I just wanted to thank you for sharing this. Most of them look “doable”, even if I may need help getting off the floor. 🙂 If it helps even a little, it will be such a relief. I was really feeling down. This page has me feeling a little more motivated and hopeful. Thanks again.

  7. Hi Mark

    Really happy I’ve come across this page this morning. Just tried out all 17 exercises – found the W’s and I’s particularly challenging!

    I’m 34 and have now been suffering with thoracic/cervical pain for two years. Within that time I’ve seen every type of provider under the sun, but am now at the situation where the pain and discomfort is probably as worse as ever. Irony is I’m relatively fit, but it is has impacted my work (teacher) and I no longer play golf and tennis due to the aches.

    My main complaints are stiffness in the trapezius muscles, also impacting the scapula and muscles in the neck. Rather disconcerting has been the massive increase in popping joints: neck, spine, shoulders and elbows all prone to cracking loudly with minimal effort. The chin tuck exercise recommended by most providers has become a habitual movement for me, but only to release one of the (what I believe to be) vertebrae in the cervical spine.

    Have resolved this morning to re-assert my efforts to remedy these issues. It still gets me down how no obvious trauma has caused such discontent. I have a new physio is going to do some connective tissue work/massage and I’m also looking to supplement that with acupuncture sessions.

    Can you give any general advice i.e. is there anything other than the exercises you would suggest? What about icing/heat?

    Thanks Mark and much empathy and positive vibes to everyone else who is in this club.

    1. Hi Jim,

      How does the rest of your posture look like? This basically determines the best way to treat you.

      If you are seeing a physio, I would suggest that they work on a lot of your anterior neck muscles (SCM, scalenes), pec major/minor, anterior deltoid, biceps, anterior upper traps to start off with.

      Couple that with exercises that strength the back/shoulder blade muscles and you will be a good place to start.

      Heat is good to help relax muscles.

      Mark

      1. Hi Mark

        Thanks for your reply.

        I would send you a photo of my posture if I could, but from what a couple of specialists have said, I have a decent posture with a fairly strong core, although my spine is quite flat in the thoracic region and I do show signs of very early scoliosis. I am very flexible, and even with joint and muscle stiffness still retain a lot of movement. The chiro I most recent saw suggested that I am developing hypermobility, so need to try my best not to habitually/forcefully pop my spinal and neck joints.

        Thanks for the advice re the muscle groups, I will mention it to my physio and/or look up some exercises myself. Can I ask, if there is one or two exercises that you would suggest above all others, i.e. to do 2 or 3 times a day, which ones would they be?

        Also can I just follow you up on the ice question, do you think this has any impact in healing chronic problems?

        Thanks for your time Mark, I know you are very likely to be busy so don’t take your time for granted in replying in your free time, much appreciated.

        1. Hey Jim,

          Funny that you have mentioned a “flat thoracic spine”! I am actually writing a blog post on this now.

          In terms of which exercises: I like the Wall angel (#14) and Parallel angle (#15) personally. But – for which exercise is best for you? That really depends what you are lacking.

          In terms of ice, I generally do not advise ice to any of my patients (acute or chronic)… unless they are in severe pain. In that case, the numbing effect is quite effective.

          Mark

          1. Hey Mark,

            Having some success with the exercises. To be honest, the wall angels get me through the day! I.e. when I do them, I seem to be fine for a couple of hours or so.

            My symptoms present as a ‘trapped/fixed’ sort of feeling in the thoracic spine when I roll my shoulders back; a tight catching in the ribs on my front left side when I breathe deeply; muscle stiffness around the upper back and neck; and crepitus – lots of popping/snapping/cracking, especially in the elbows, shoulders and spine.

            Are there any articles you’ve written which you would recommend I check out, in addition to the flat thoracic spine one mentioned above?

          2. Hi Jim,

            I love Wall angels! You should feel all your muscles in the back light up after doing a couple of reps.

            If you have a tight thoracic spine, you can have a look at some of the exercises by clicking here.

            The tight catching feeling in the front of left side is probably a pec minor issue, rib misalignment and/or lung problem. (hopefully it’s not your lung, though). Does the pec minor releases/stretches help?

            Do you have Rounded shoulders? Check out this post. This is common with flat thoracic spine and can lead to a whole lot of popping and grinding in the shoulder blade area.

            Mark

  8. Hey Mark, I really appreciate what you are doing here! I’ve recently developed a pain in my back, between the bottom of the shoulder blade and the spine, on the left side only . Initially I could feel it after long working hours, recently it comes after periods of seating or even moving my arm. It’s not very acute, so I guess it must be a muscle that got tense from my bad posture and sitting position. Do you have any advice how to exercise it?

  9. Hello Mark!

    Great article. I have been experiencing soreness in my middle back when I put my chin to my chest and bend my head forward and down. I have been trying to release tight neck muscles through therapy, but I still feel a tight soreness on the thoracic region. It feels as if something is being pulled. Do you have any advice for me? Overall I have had terrible posture for years!

    Thank you.

    1. Hello Erick,

      You are probably stretching out one or all of these muscles at the back:

      In terms of what exercises to do, it really depends on what kind of posture you have/what you do during the day/what sports you play etc.

      Mark

  10. Hi Mark,
    I have had terrible pain in my back for months with no relief. I started PT yesterday and all the stretches she had me do are first felt in my neck (and the underside of my arms) instead of my back. I am not sure I am doing them right as she didn’t pay much attention. My neck has a herniated disk that is unrepaired below a plate with two discs they remade from my hip bone. I am afraid some of these exercises are going to continue to hurt my neck and I do NOT want to get back into that. It hurt awful for over 20 years before the repair. How can I make sure I don’t continue to make the neck pain worse? I also have a shoulder full of arthritis and damage from physical abuse (bone fragments floating around and torn rotator cuff and torn muscle that have’t seemed to heal- why not!?). This happened 5 years ago and continues to give me pain. I don’t want to make that worse either. Thank you for your time and attention.

    1. Hi there Terrie,

      As I haven’t seen you personally and given your medical history, My best advice would be to get your PT to specifically check your exercises.

      Make sure you get them to tell you exactly what to feel and where you should be feeling it.

      If you want to ask more questions, feel free to contact me through private message on facebook.

      Cheers!

  11. Hi Mark, A couple months ago I was suffering from terrible thoracic pain, it felt like constant pressure being applied to my thoracic spine ( I am pretty sure that was due to the uncomfortable chair at the office). To alleviate the pain, I asked someone to hold and squeeze me against them and tightly press me against their chest to pop the knots. It was quiet a lot of pressure as the person is much bigger than me. It was so bad that I developed costonchondritis and suffered for over 8 weeks with random breathlessness. Those symptoms have decreased dramatically but since the popping of my thoracic spine I randomly get a slight click in the back of my neck (middle where the spine is) when I turn my neck. I also experience voluntary popping of the thoracic spin (it does not hurt). One thing new which recently started is random headaches on either sides of my head and my left lower lid slightly twitches since two weeks back (randomly). Please advise.

    1. Hi RN,

      It sounds like your friend squeezed you so hard that it impacted the cartilage in the front of your chest. (which can lead to inflammation of the rib cartilage)

      Due to the pain/breathless in the chest etc, you may have adapted a slight hunched posture.

      Does this like it could be true?

      This could then impact the position of your neck leading to headaches and pain in the area. I’m not too sure about the eye twitches though. That is usually due to a nerve problem/stress/caffeine .

      Check out Forward head posture post. It may help with your neck/head issues if this is the problem.

      Mark

  12. Hello Mark,

    I am 32 years old and recently diagnosed with a 4-degrees bend in Thoracic Spine. I am a software Engineer and have to sit the whole day long for work. My spine has bent toward the left side(probably Scoliosis it is, but I am exactly sure), hence creating pressure and pain on the right side of the middle area next to the spine. Please recommend me some exercises from the above which will be useful for regaining of my posture back

    1. Hi Riz,

      I would start with this exercise:

      Bend towards the right side to open up the left side. Make sure that you can feel the painful area stretching.

      Then follow up with a side plank with the right side down:

      At work: make sure you set up your work station that it does not encourage you to slouch to the left side.

      These are great exercises to start 🙂

      Mark

  13. Mark,
    These are great. I had neck, shoulder, jaw, ear pain primarily on right side for several months. When sitting or standing for prolonged periods of time it seems like my right shoulder gets over tired and starts to drop and i feel pain in shoulder blade, traps, etc. Past PT has shown my right shoulder gets tired/weaker faster. Any suggestions to get over the hump?

  14. Hi Mark!
    I am SO glad I found this. I’m 28 and I’ve had bad back pain since I was 16. I always thought it was because I had an epidural with my daughter when I was 16 (yes I know, young mother). Well just recently I started realizing a lot of it has to do with my posture. I’ve been trying to correct it just by sitting up straight and that just makes ithurt worse and any position I sit in just becomes increasingly painful until I eventually just have to lie down or put something behind me to support my back to where I’m really not even sitting up on my own. So I’m glad I found this. I do have another question though. In the middle of my spine I guess on two of the vertebraes (those are the bones you can feel, right?) Well they feel bruised when I lean against anything hard or press on them. Also, in between the bones, you know how there are spaces in between each one? Well on those 2 spaces it feels like its just more bone, or it’s connected by something hard. Do you know what that could possibly be? It makes it very difficult for me to bend over and especially when I’m doing things like bathing my son when I’m finished, I can hardly get back up. It’s like its too painful to move and I have to very slowly stand back up. Anyways thank you for these excersises and thank you in advance!

    1. I forgot to mention that back in 2013 when I was 25 I had another child and I had an epidural then too but the man who did it kept messing it up and he had to redo it about 5-6 times. I know that affected me because the next day I was so sore in the exact spot I hurt in now. I’m just curious as to what it might be called or what I can do for relief. Thanks again ?

    2. Hey Ana,

      It sounds like you have issues with a structure in the centre of your back.

      This is usually something like a joint, disc or nerve issue. These can make it difficult to bend your back and can make it quite tender to touch.

      Is your pain in the thoracic or lumbar spine? If it is in the lower back (which is where they would have done the epidural injection), you will benefit more from lumbar spine exercises.

      Mark

      1. Ok, so I must be confusing. Starting in the area where they did the epidural and probably down to my tail bone is where it hurts when I bend over and stay stuck in a position. Also, when I lie on my back on the floor or hard surfaces, it feels like I’m going to become unattached… I don’t really know how else to explain that other than its pretty painful. Now in the middle of my back, that’s where it feels bruised so that would not be the epidural site correct? I’m not sure why I was thinking that’s where they did it but now that I’m really thinking about it, its a different pain in the actual area they had done the epidural. I think my back is just so messed up and I’m always trying to self diagnose that I must have mixed up the epidural spot. But the pain I was initially talking about is in the exact area of the picture at the top of the page. The part that feels bruised is in the middle of my back directly on my spine. Sorry for the confusion

  15. Hi Mark,

    I too suffer from forward posture and rounded shoulders, additionally i have a hunchback as well. it is safe to say that I need to start doing exercises. my question is, will it be okay if i do all the excersizes for all the bad postures every day or do i have to start with a certain part like the forward head before i start with the hunchback exercises?

    1. Hey Mustafa,

      You can do all of them if you have the time.

      Realistically – focus on the exercises that you feel give you the most benefit.

      But out of the postures you mentioned, I would try to work on the hunchback posture first as it it difficult to fix rounded shoulders and a forward head posture if your back is that curved.

      Let me know if that answers your question.

      Mark

  16. So glad I found this page, Mark :). I’ve had two rotator cuff injuries repaired – one big one in 2006, which required both open and keyhole surgery ( I had a 3cm full thickness tear, by then 6 years old…), and one smaller one in 2010 (I had big acromial spurs). So I’ve always had shoulder issues! Recently – I sit and write, full time, day in day out – I’ve had quite pronounced pain beneath my right shoulder blade, and I know it must be the hunching and poor posture, exacerbated by my general tendency… and it’s been great to find your exercises, coupled with your really good knowledge. I’ve just been going through them while half-watching The Chase. Feeling so much better already! Pain still there, but I feel stretched out and generally much looser. Will now do them religiously; not just when my back howls in pain! Thank you!

    1. Hi Lynne,

      Thanks for letting me know that your pain is feeling much better with the exercises.

      Have you checked out my post on Shoulder blade pain? Check it out here if you haven’t already.

      I think that will help you out heaps!

      Mark

  17. hey i was lookg for some exercises to me strengthen my thoracic region but i have
    Osteophyte in t2. and i feel alot of pain in that region almost all intire day, so what of these exercises i can do to remove that pain that i feel in my back?

    1. Hi Marccos,

      The T1/2 region is often regarded as a lower neck joint.

      So – although thoracic exercises will definitely help you out with your pain, you would need to focus on stretching your neck too.

      For an extensive list of neck exercises, try this post out.

      It is common to get osteophytes at T2 if you have something called Dowager’s hump. Check out this post for more info on that.

      Mark

  18. Hi! I love this page.. is there by any chance you can email me regarding the thoracic spine? I am a DPT student looking for effective exercises for T4 syndrome.

    Thanks!

  19. My back has been cracking a lot lately at work. I think it is because of my office jobs. I am going to try your stretches for the thoracic vertebrae. Hopefully, I can find some help that way! Thanks!

  20. hi Mark, thank you for the information shared. I have an issue with my spine and ribs. Few years ago, I was diagnosed with pleural fibrosis on my right chest wall resulting in crowding of ribs, curving my spine towards my right and drooping down the shoulder. this has also limited my lung functionality. Few weeks ago, pleural mass was successfully removed and few crowded ribs were released and lung functionality retained to its normal working condition, but few ribs did not release especially the 4 upper ribs and the spine did not retain to its normal. I would be very much delighted to know any corrective exercises to address this issue.

    1. Hi Saikumar,

      The best exercises to releases your crowded ribs is to do the intercostal stretch and translations. (both of which are mentioned above in the post).

      As you are doing these stretches, try to take deep breaths in and imagine the area expanding the area where it is tight.

      You may also benefit from doing side planks on your Left side to help strengthen your muscles to help open up your right side.

      Mark

  21. In side bends like number 16 I find that I frequently struggle to get a real stretch out of it because there doesn’t seem to be much space between the top of my hip bones and the bottom of my ribcage. It feels like I’m pinching the contracted side long before I feel any stretch in the elongated side. Any suggestions on how I could change my form to adjust for this?

    1. Hi Lauren,

      It sounds like you may be hyper extended throughout your spine. Do you have an anterior pelvic tilt?

      If so, it is common to feel squashed/pinched/compression on the contracted side when you do a side bend.

      Solution:

      Before doing the exercise:

      1) You can try contracting your glutes to bring your pelvis into a more neutral position.
      OR
      2) Engage your core/abs to bring your lower chest down.
      OR
      3) BOTH at the same time.

      Let me know if this doesn’t make sense.

      Mark

  22. Hey Mark, thanks for posting these. Been suffering from a back injury for 5+ years and i have never committed myself to these stretches enough to see any improvement. But I will definitely try. The visuals are very helpful but I was wondering if you had any videos doing these types of stretches? Sometimes I dont feel 100% positive I am doing it correctly and the visual is enhanced especially with video. Either way, thanks for posting this. Blessings

    1. Hey Mike,

      Thanks for visiting the website.

      I 100% agree with you that videos of the stretches will make it clearer to see how to do the exercise properly.

      I don’t have any at the moment, but can you tell me which stretch in particular you are having difficulty with?

      Mark

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