3 Yoga Poses To Help Relieve Thoracic Tension
Yoga has been proven to help release tension throughout the entire body. It does this by coupling both physical and mental workouts that can help relieve stress, enhance flexibility, and improve mobility. When it comes to the spine, regular yoga practice can strengthen the muscles in the back and help them stretch to support both the back and spine. The muscles that are worked during yoga include the paraspinal muscles, the multifidus muscles, and the transverse abdominis, all of which support the spine in different ways.
The spine is made up of five parts or segments. The lowest part of the of the spine is the coccyx, otherwise known as the tailbone. Above that is the sacrum, which sits between the hip bones. The other main parts include the cervical spine, which sits at the top of the spine, the lumbar, which is above the sacrum, and the thoracic spine, which is the middle section. But what is the thoracic spine, and what happens when it’s tense? Read on to learn all you need to know, including which yoga poses help relieve thoracic tension.
What is thoracic tension?
As previously mentioned, the thoracic spine sits in the middle of the back and goes from the abdomen through the upper back. The main job of the thoracic spine is to protect your heart and lungs by holding the ribcage in place. It also protects the spinal cord, which is the bundle of nerves that helps your body communicate with your brain. There are 12 vertebrae within the thoracic spine, making it the longest section of the spine.
Thoracic tension is caused by issues with the muscles connected to the thoracic spine. Thoracic pain can be caused by poor posture, muscle strains or spasms, or inflammation of the soft tissues of the thoracic spine. Inflammation can also develop following a car accident or sports injury.
The pain that occurs with thoracic tension feels dull, as if it’s pressing onto or between your shoulder blades. It also gets worse the more you move your thoracic spine, and your mobility will be limited. Discomfort in the neck and feeling like you need to slouch can also be a result of thoracic tension.
Image by Katee Lue on Unsplash: How do you open the thoracic spine in yoga?
How do you release tension in the thoracic spine?
Relieving tension in the thoracic spine will depend on the cause, but for the most part, it can be done by stretching, massage, and over-the-counter pain medications. Some people may not want to take medications, and that’s perfectly okay. Heat and ice therapy, which involves alternating between putting a heating pad and an ice pack on the affected area, can also be helpful.
Yoga can help to lessen tension in this area. Stretching and releasing the tension is the best way to treat thoracic pain, after all! If you want to try yoga for thoracic pain, there are many different poses for you to try.
Yoga poses to help relieve thoracic tension
Is yoga good for thoracic pain? Yes, it certainly can be! Yoga helps to stretch and strengthen the muscles in the back that support the spine. There are some poses that are better than others when it comes to thoracic spine pain.
One important thing to remember if you are feeling thoracic tension is that you must manage between effort and ease. You don’t want to make the tension worse by going too far into the pose, but you want to make sure what you’re doing is making a difference. Listen to your body while doing the poses and practice the effort-and-ease method to ensure you’re helping and not hurting your thoracic spine.
1. Seated Side Bend
Seated side bends help to lengthen the spine and stretch the muscles in the back. To do this pose, sit comfortably on the floor with your legs crossed or out in front, and your hands gently by your sides. On an inhale, take your left arm overhead and bend your body to the right side, your shoulder blade lifting with your arm. Exhale to a starting position and repeat on the opposite side. Repeat the movement with the pace of your breath five to six times on each side.
2. Table Twist
To do a table twist, first get into tabletop position with your knees under your hips and your shoulders over your wrists. With your fingers spread wide, keep your neck long and aligned with your spine. Draw your belly button in to keep your core muscles engaged and stabilized while you put your right hand on the back of your head. Once there, take an inhale and twist your spine to the right. On the exhale, tap your right elbow to your left elbow. Do 10 rounds on both sides.
Image by Katee Lue on Unsplash: Can you do yoga for thoracic spine pain?
3. Cobra Pose
To help extend the spine and strengthen your back muscles, try cobra pose. Start by lying flat on your stomach, legs straight back and hands flat on your mat, directly under your shoulders. With your toes pointed backwards and legs hip distance apart, push your body up using your hands while pushing the back half of your body down using your pubic bone and an engaged core. You can go as high or as low as is comfortable for you. Hold the position for up to 10 breaths.
These poses are all great and offer strengthening, extension, and twisting in the thoracic spine that will help to release tension in that area. Be careful not to push to a point of further pain while doing these poses. Try doing them back-to-back for a short yoga flow to help relieve tension and pain in the biggest part of your spine.
Featured image by Dane Wetton on Unsplash
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