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, certain exercises may help take the pain away.
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According to the Schiffert Health Center at Virginia Tech University, the butterfly is a good rehabilitation exercise for those who have thoracic back pain. To start, place the hands on the shoulders with the palms facing down. Then, 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.
The thoracic stretch begins by sitting on the floor with the legs stretched out straight and feet pointing up. Place the 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.
The Columbia University Medical Center recommends the mid-trap exercise to rehabilitate upper back pain. Start by lying on the 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.
Yoga Shoulder Stretch
Stretching the shoulders is a popular way to help relieve thoracic back pain. Simple yoga poses and stretches can help compliment the exercise program. This stretch requires either a towel or a resistance band or strap. Start by sitting up in a comfortable position on the knees. Hold the towel, band or strap taught in front with both hands. Straighten the arms and move the towel, band or strap over the head on an inhale and then stretch the arms behind on an exhale. Only stretch as far back as the arms can go while remaining straight and without pain. Do the exercise a total of 10 times.