Back Pain? Bump Up Thoracic Muscle Strength
Whether you have lower back pain or not, it’s good to strengthen the entire back. Your muscles work with each other to help each other and help take loads off the main muscles you are used to using. Train your body to distribute loads better.
Start early to engage your thoracic muscles – the upper ones between your shoulder blades. If you use those muscles more then there is less stress to the lower lumbar area, where most people feel their “achy back.”
I never knew to work my thoracic muscles until after I had back surgery and in physical therapy with recovery. I have various exercises to strengthen the thoracic muscles and do them daily. They start out sore but as I keep working on them, they will get stronger and help the lower back.
Thoracic stretches include:
Lie on your side on the floor with knees drawn up some, then put both arms and hands straight out in from of your face. Take the upper arm, keeping straight, and stretch it all the way to the other side of you to the floor, with your head following that hand. Do this 10 times per side.
You can do “rows” with bands – have a band wrapped around a door handle or secured to something so two ends are available. Grab on the ends with each hand and pull in, keeping at a level at about where your elbows are. You can feel the stretch in those upper back thoracic muscles. Repeat this 10 or so times. There are more variations to this that strengthen the thoracic muscles.
You can kneel against the wall and knee down next to the wall, with other knee up at 90 degrees. Put your hands and arms out, then bring the outer one all the way to the other side with your head following, 10 times then flip your position and stretch the other side. If you press against the wall, it will stabilize you, so your body doesn’t move but only the upper part of your body.
There are other ways to work the thoracic muscles to build up strength. Just work those muscles so it will help your lower lumbar muscles. Notice ways you can strengthen the upper muscles of the thoracic area.