Thoracic Spine Stretches

The part of your spine known as the thoracic region resides in the upper part of your back at around the chest level. The thoracic spine is made up of 12 vertebrae; your ribs are connected to it to help protect vital organs. When muscles in your thoracic region become tight and painful, performing certain thoracic spine stretches may help ease your discomfort. Consult your physician before beginning any spinal stretching routine.

A woman rolling her spine on a mat in front of a mountain lake. (Image: DenizA/iStock/Getty Images)

Rolling Spine

To roll your spine up and stretch the thoracic area, get onto the floor on your hands and knees. Look down at the floor and slowly pull your abdominals in and up, rolling your spine one vertebrae at a time. Release back to the starting point and repeat.

Belly Button Dip

The belly-button-dip stretch for your thoracic spine begins with you on your hands and knees on the floor. This time, dip your belly button down toward the floor. Feel it move one vertebra at a time, then raise back to the start and repeat.

Towel Roll

Roll up a towel into a tightly wound cylinder and place it on the floor. Lie down on top of it, so that the towel is on or just above the area of your back you want to stretch. Cross your arms over your chest, take a deep breath, then use your legs to roll your back over the towel as you exhale.

Infraspinatus Stretch

Stand comfortably and place your hands on your low-back area with your palms facing in. Let your elbows drop toward the floor and lean forward slowly, feeling the stretch in your upper back.

Latissimus Dorsi Stretch

Your latissimus dorsi are the muscles that run along the outsides of your upper back. To stretch that region, raise your left arm above your head, then bend your elbow so your hand is at the top of your back. Grab your left elbow with your right hand, then pull your left arm gently to the right, while bending until you feel a stretch. Hold it for several seconds, then release and repeat on the other side.

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