The 4 Best Thoracic Disc Herniation Exercises | Mid Back Disc Herniation Exercises

By Dr Ken Nakamura+

Best Thoracic Disc Herniation Exercises: chiropractor

Want to know the best thoracic disc herniation exercises?

 

Would you like to know why you have a thoracic disc herniation?

 

Do you have thoracic pain each time you sit for an hour or more?

 

In this article of I will try my best to explain to you the basics of the thoracic spine, then show you the exercises you need to reduce your thoracic spine disc herniation. The thoracic  spine or mid back are the vertebrae in between your lower back and neck.

 

 

The Thoracic Spine is special for a three reasons.

 

 

 

Wedges Stacked On Each Other Form An Arch

 

1. Your thoracic discs are wedge shaped. Your thoracic discs are fatter at the back and thinner at the front. If you stack up a bunch of wedge-shaped blocks you will form an arc. In your thoracic spine or mid back the wedges are more gently angled so that your mid back forms a gentle arc or curve for most of you. The big deal about this is that when your posture is bad and you are slouching as most of us do, this puts pressure on the thoracic spine but also your neck vertebrae called the cervical spine. For many of you, the pain that you suffer actually comes from a slouched posture putting pressure on your thoracic spine which in turn puts, even more, pressure on your neck.

 

 

 

thoracic-spine mid back showing the wedge shaped discs which help for the curve of the mid back.

2. The second reason the thoracic spine is special is that they are attached to your ribs. The rib attachment means that your thoracic spine is more stable. By being more stable there’s less motion at your thoracic spine but it also means that this area of the spine is less prone to injury.  Thus a forward head posture we talked about earlier puts pressure on your thoracic spine but much more pressure on your cervical spine. The stability of the thoracic spine is part of the reason why the most people don’t have disc herniations in their mid back but have far more disc herniations in their neck.

 

This is so important as this affects what needs to be treated. Often times the pain is coming from the neck and not the thoracic spine. So your chiropractor needs to concentrate on the neck, even when you only have pain in the thoracic spine. In my experience I could just treat the neck and most people’s thoracic pain will either disappear or lessen greatly. For a smaller minority, I have to treat the mid back to get rid of the rest of the pain. Rarer still is the person that has pure thoracic spine pain.

 

The key is that your chiropractor needs to able to distinguish between pain from the cervical spine vs. pain from both the cervical spine and the thoracic spine vs pain from just the thoracic spine.

 

 

Herniated Cervical Disc: Learn what treatments are best: Downtown Toronto Chiropractor Dr. Ken Nakamura

 

3. The third reason the thoracic spine is special is that your nerve is located above the disc so will less likely be pinched. In the cervical (neck) spine and the lumbar (lower back) spine the disc and the nerve are exactly at the same level. This means that if your cervical disc herniates or your lumbar disc herniates it will more likely pinch on your nerve.  If your thoracic disc herniates you probably won’t feel a thing.

 

You might be thinking that’s horrible to have a disc herniation even though you can’t feel it. According to research 30% of 30 year old have disc herniations and have absolutely no symptoms in the lower back.  If fact “It is very rare for an MRI. to come back with the words ‘normal study,“ said Dr. Christopher DiGiovanni, a professor of orthopedics and a sports medicine specialist at Brown University. “I can’t tell you the last time I’ve seen it.” From the New York Times

 

So if you took a whole body MRI you will likely find a few things wrong that will not likely cause you problems. Like your skin is not perfect there will be many spots and for the spine most people will have degeneration and disc herniations in the lower back and neck. While you may have thoracic disc herniations they likely are not causing any pain and are happily there not disturbing you.

 

What should you do?

 

If you are having no pain I would personally not do anything about it except for trying to have a good posture and getting up from your sitting position every two hours.

 

If you are having pain in your upper back I would get your neck treated.  If you are having pain in the lower part of the mid back likely it’s coming from the lower back.

 

Having said this most of you with pure thoracic pain can be helped with the exercises below.

 

Thoracic Extension for Thoracic Disc herniation: Toronto Downtown Chiropractor

Picture Reference #1

Exercise #1 Thoracic Sitting Extension

  1. Sit down and put your hands behind your neck loosely.
  2. Arch your mid back backwards while bringing your elbows as high as you can go to assist.
  3. You will also be arching your lower back but this is OK.
  4. You may feel a bit sore. As long as the soreness decreases with repetition this is fine. If the soreness increases stop right away. Do the exercises 10 times 4 times a day.

How to Improve Posture: Foam Roll -Toronto Chiropractor

Exercise # 2 Foam Roll Thoracic Curve Reverse

  1. Put a hard foam roll on the floor.
  2. Put the roll under your mid-back in the area that you feel the pain.
  3. Lie on it for 30 seconds and work your way up five minutes
  4. You may feel a bit sore. As long as the soreness decreases with repetition this is fine. If the soreness increases stop right away. Do the exercises 10 times 4 times a day.

 

Exercise #3 The Cow

Best Mid Back Pain Exercises: doing backbend in cow posture, bitilasana, exercise for flexible spine and shoulders, asana paired with cat pose on the exhale, studio

  1. Get on all fours with your knees under your hips and hands under your shoulders.
  2. Inhale and let your belly fall downwards toward the floor as you look up toward the ceiling for 2 seconds.
  3. Repeat 10 times 4 times a day.
  4. You may feel a bit sore. As long as the soreness decreases with repetition this is fine. If the soreness increases stop right away. Do the exercises 10 times 4 times a day.

 

Exercise #4 Bruegger 

Bruegger exercise-Toronto Chiropractor

Picture Reference #2

  • Sit on the edge of a chair
  • Tuck in your chin
  • Turn your thumbs out and bring your arms behind you
  • Squeeze the shoulder blades together and toward your tail bone.

 

Low Back Arch Test: Put both hands in the arch of your back. Push firmly forward as far as your low back will go until it stops. Notice that your head moves backwards. When you let go what do you notice? Your head goes forward.

So your low back is the foundation for your sitting posture. If your lower back isn’t in the right place than your neck and head won’t be in the right place. Leave your head for 8 hours like that everyday and you have the recipe for headaches, neck pain and you guessed it mid back pain.

Lumbar Support Roll: Help Your Posture and Mid Back Pain with A Lumbar Support Roll | Dr Ken Nakamura Downtown Toronto Chiropractor

Lumbar Support Roll For Your Mid Back {I don’t have any relationship or benefit in any way by endoring these products}

So if your chair doesn’t have enough support than first use a rolled up bath towel to see if you need more support. By using a towel you can unroll the towel to get less support and roll it more or use a bigger towel if you need more support. If it works and you are happy stick with the towel.

If you are tired of placing the towel in the arch of your back each time you sit down again then get yourself a lumbar support roll.

 

Picture Reference

  1. http://www.physioadvisor.com.au/exercises/flexibility-joints/upper-back-stretches/
  2. http://deltaspinalcare.com/DeskStretches.html

Author

Dr Ken Nakamura

Who is Dr. Ken? I’m a father, spouse, chiropractor, and I love what I do! I created Bodi Empowerment to bring you and everyone-else safe and effective methods for self-treatment by basing my articles on research to everything I can. Still many parts will be based on 18 years of experience, seminars, and collaboration with other health experts; which means you will get opinions as well. Sometimes my articles won’t agree with what is currently accepted, but I am not here to please everyone. I’m here to empower you through the knowledge that I give you. Dr. Ken works at Rebalance Sports Medicine in downtown, Toronto.

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