People complaining of upper back pain, whether they realise it or not, will most often be referring to pain in the region of the thoracic spine.  The thoracic spine is made up of 12 vertebrae that sit roughly from the level of your belly button, to the junction of the neck and shoulders.  When viewed in profile, it is the convex curve between the two concave curves of the neck and lower back.

In the modern way of living, the thoracic spine is prone to slouching, and thus the discomfort people feel in this region is due to over-stretching of spinal ligaments and excessive compression of the intervertebral discs.

Below is a series of thoracic spine stretches and mobility exercises.  Patients often ask, “How often should I do these exercises?”  The build-up of postural discomfort throughout the day usually prompts some sort of alleviating activity towards the afternoon and early evening.  Since upper thoracic discomfort is largely postural in aetiology, it makes sense that performing these exercises, at least once, towards the end of the day would be more beneficial.

If one was really wanting to address postural strain and discomfort however, it would be far better for one to integrate these spine sparing activities more routinely.  Rather than pressure oneself to perform a certain number of sets and repetitions daily, perform these exercises regularly throughout the week either in anticipation of the onset of thoracic pain, or at the moment that pain arises.

Finally, before attempting these exercises, remember that not all of these will be suited to every individual’s condition.  Some may be either too challenging or not challenging enough.  Consult with your health professional as to the appropriateness of these suggestions for your particular injury of condition.

*DISCLAIMER: This discussion does not provide medical advice. The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained in this discussion are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this discussion is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this blog.