My daughter can do a back bridge. She can lie on her back, with her hands by her shoulders and her feet tucked up close to her butt. Then she can push effortlessly up into a bridge. Her thoracic spine extends beautifully. I decided that I should be able to do it except that she’s 7 years old and I’m 49, and I have lost a lot of thoracic extension. Could I win it back? I have been working at it for about 6 months. I do a few yoga moves, the cobra mainly, to get some thoracic extension. And then I cheat by putting my feet up on a chair or something higher, and bridge up from there. It gets easier, but it’s still not happening.
As we age some changes will occur that can’t be undone. We can’t win back some movements lost. No physiotherapy, no exercise, no medication can get it back. It is worth nurturing those joints and preserving the movement that we have while we can. Diet and exercise are key.
Thoracic extension gets largely ignored. But given how long we spend rounded forward (in the car, at the desk, over a work top, etc) it is no wonder that we lose the ability to extend it. This contributes to a host of problems, including Dowager’s hump, forward head posture, stiff shoulders, and too much (compensatory) lumbar extension and consequent degeneration in the low back. All of which can be painful.
The cobra is a classic yoga pose. Lying flat on your tummy, place your hands level with your head. Breathe out as you push up extending though the whole of your spine. Keep your pubic bone pressed down into the floor. Take care not to just pivot up from the low back.
Nurture what you’ve got. Win back what you can.
HealthMoves Physiotherapy, Edwardstown and Mawson Lakes Physiotherapy