Many Americans suffer from back pain in one form or another. Thoracic back pain means the pain is located in the upper or mid back. There are many causes for thoracic back pain, like not lifting properly, poor posture, spending too many hours in a bad chair at work or a previous injury.
Whatever the cause, thoracic spine exercises for pain can help. Thoracic back pain exercises that address proper posture, as explained by Berkshire Healthcare, can also address underlying causes of thoracic pain.
Consult a doctor if your pain interferes with your ability to do daily tasks.
1. Butterfly Stretch
- Place the hands on the shoulders with the palms facing down.
- Keep the hands in place on the shoulders and try to bring the elbows as close to each other as possible in front of the body. There should be a stretching feeling in the muscles of the upper back.
- Hold this position for three breaths and then return to the starting position.
- Do one to three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions of this exercise.
2. Thoracic Stretch
- Sit on the floor with the legs stretched out straight and feet pointing up.
- Place your hands on the mid-thigh area to hold; then slowly move the head and neck to curl toward the stomach. Hold this curled position for 15 seconds, and then repeat three times.
- The stretch continues to part two by pointing the right elbow and shoulder forward toward the ground and twisting the upper body to the left.
- Hold this twisted position for 15 seconds.
- Repeat the sequence to twist the opposite way with the left elbow pointing forward.
- Twist each side a total of three times.
Read more: Back Exercises that Help Postural Kyphosis
3. Overhead Shoulder Stretch
- Stand up straight with your feet hip-width apart.
- Interlock your fingers or hold a towel, band or strap taut in front of you with both hands.
- Straighten the arms and move the towel, band or strap up and over your head, as demonstrated by Massachusetts General Hospital.
- Only stretch as far back as the arms can go while remaining straight and without pain.
- Do the exercise a total of 10 times.
4. Mid-Trap Strengthening Exercise
- Lie on your stomach on a firm surface. A pillow may be folded and placed under the chest for additional support and comfort.
- Take the arms straight out to the sides with the elbows straight, thumbs pointing toward the ceiling.
- Raise the arms slowly to the ceiling and squeeze the shoulder blades together.
- Slowly, lower the arms back to the starting position.
- Start with three sets of 15 repetitions.
5. Kneeling Back Extension
- Begin on your hands on knees.
- Shift your weight forward onto your arms.
- Round your shoulders and arch your upper back, as demonstrated by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Hold for five seconds.
- Shift your weight backward and rest your buttocks on your heels.
- Walk your fingers further forward until you feel a comfortable stretch.
- Hold for five seconds.