It’s time for another Austin-area sports medicine 101 class!
The thoracic spine is made of 12 vertebrae in the chest area and is the area of the spine where the ribs attach. It may come as some surprise, but thoracic spine mobility can influence shoulder health. Most of us work in an office where we sit all day. Over time, this can cause an increase in the natural forward bend in the spine called a kyphosis. This increased kyphosis can cause a relative downward rotation of the scapula placing certain rotator cuff muscles at risk due to a change in shoulder mechanics. Improving mobility of the thoracic spine with exercises such as foam roll extensions and rotations can go a long way to preventing a rotator cuff tear. Be careful to protect the neck throughout the exercise and avoid arching your neck. Foam roll thoracic extensions should be fairly gentle and performed 10-12 reps per level. Rotations are performed 20 each direction.