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The 90/90 Thoracic Spine Rotation

May 7, 2018

We have natural curves in our spine that aid in distribution of force and mitigate wear on spinal structures.  Without these natural curves, the spine would be straight and every day bodily functions would be prohibited, while greater compressive forces would be present. This article and video focus on the thoracic spine (mid back) and its mobility.

 

If the thoracic spine is flat and lacks mobility, there will be a poor foundation for the shoulder blades to move on, as the curved shoulder blade would rest on a flat rib cage. In turn, thoracic rotation will be restricted with a less mobile spine, as well as poorly leveraged muscular use and increased extensor use. Conversely, an excessively curved thoracic spine will also prevent the shoulder blade from its proper positioning.

 

If the thoracic spine lacks mobility, proper positioning may not be achievable, and a few things may occur as a consequence:

 

  1. Full overhead position may not be possible.

  2. Compensations are likely at the shoulder (glenohumeral joint), which can damage the supraspinatus (rotator cuff) tendon.

  3. Individual often hyperextends the lumbar spine (compensation) which is a common cause of lower back problems.

 

Coaching Cues

  • Keep pressure against roll with top knee

  • Let your eyes follow your hand as you open up

  • Only rotate as far as you can keep your knee down

  • Exhale as you rotate

Remember

 

Forward head posture can also lead to increased curvature of the thoracic spine (mid back)

 

Improving posture and biomechanics are the best way to prevent reoccurrences once pain has been reduced and function improved.

 

Goals

 

Symmetrical rotation through thoracic spine

 

Thoracic rotation and shoulder mobility


 

*this exercise can also be called: 90/90 thoracic mobility and 90/90 t-spine*

 

 

 

 

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