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Unlock Your Thoracic Mobility: A Touch, Move, Renew Guide

Ever feel like the middle of your back is wound up about as tight as a cable rope? Trust us, you are not alone... Between cell phones, desk jobs, and good old gravity, our mid backs (aka thoracic spine) take a toll.

At Thrive HQ, we developed our treatment philosophy around the idea of needing to combine soft tissue work and movement, while also remembering the importance of recovery and putting our body in a position to recover. We coined this framework as "Touch-Move-Renew" and we have seen it work wonders for hundreds of clients!

In this blog, we want to show you how you can use that framework for yourself to address that mid back tightness. Let's jump right in!

"Touch" - Foam Rolling

Begin with the "Touch" component of our approach, which involves using a foam roller to massage and release tension in your thoracic spine while improving tissue pliability.

  1. Setup: Sit on the floor with your legs extended. Place the foam roller horizontally behind you, right below your shoulder blades. Support your head with your hands, and keep your knees bent.

  2. Rolling: Gently lean back over the foam roller, allowing it to move along your thoracic spine. Use your feet to push and control the rolling motion, focusing on areas that feel tight or restricted.

  3. Breathing: As you roll, take deep breaths. Inhale through your nose, expanding your ribcage, and exhale slowly through your mouth. This deep breathing helps to relax your muscles and enhance the release.

  4. Duration: Spend 2-3 minutes rolling, paying extra attention and time to any knots or tight spots you encounter.

The "Touch" component with foam rolling allows your thoracic spine to "chill out", releasing tension, limiting muscle guarding, and improving tissue pliability. All of this is preparing you for the next component in our framework.

"Move" - Butt to Heels Thoracic Rotations

Now, let's move on to the "Move" part of our framework. This is where we re-teach our body and mind to use the new range of motion you just created during the "touch" component. There are a million options, but one of our favorites here is thoracic rotations.

  1. Setup: Kneel down and sit butt back to heels. Place elbow of front arm in front of your knees. Place hand of opposite arm on low back

  2. Rotation: Keeping your butt down on your heels and lower body stable, initiate the movement by rotating your upper body up. Focus on the muscles in the middle of your back creating the rotation.

  3. Return: Slowly return to the starting position, maintaining control throughout the movement.

  4. Repetition: Perform 10-12 controlled rotations to each side.

The "Move" phase with band resisted thoracic rotations targets the muscles responsible for thoracic mobility and encourages a greater range of motion.

Renew: Downdog with Box Breathing

Lastly, let's "Renew" your thoracic mobility with a yoga-inspired posture and mindful breathing.

  1. Setup: Start in a tabletop position with your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips.

  2. Downdog: Push your hips up and back, coming into a downward-facing dog position. Spread your fingers wide and press your chest toward your thighs.

  3. Box Breathing: Inhale for a count of four, hold your breath for a count of four, exhale for a count of four, and hold your breath again for a count of four. Repeat this box breathing pattern for 4-5 cycles.

  4. Thoracic Focus: During each breath cycle, visualize your thoracic spine expanding and opening up as you inhale and relaxing as you exhale.

The "Renew" phase combines the benefits of downdog's thoracic stretch with box breathing's calming influence, allowing your thoracic spine to reset and renew.


By following this "Touch, Move, Renew" framework, you'll be on your way to improved thoracic mobility in just a few minutes a day! Remember to listen to your body, be patient with your progress, and enjoy the journey towards a more flexible and pain-free upper back!

Need a little more assistance in addressing your mid back pain? Setup a free discovery session to see how we can help!

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