The spine is divided into 5 areas: cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacral and coccygeal.
The thoracic area (ribcage) is made up of 12 vertebrae and the corresponding ribs that attach to the vertebrae and the sternum in the front. Each connection creates a joint, a moveable part. Ideally at each joint, there is movement.
Ideally the ribs move with every breath like this. And ideally the spine moves segmentally at each vertebra, so when an area of the spine moves, or the head or pelvis moves, there should also be movement along the spine, kind of like a "chain reaction". This is the best demo I could find, an animation of the body riding a horse (BONUS: it's in German).
The reality is, is that life happens: we shallow breathe, we move the same way day in and day out, so we don't always have the freedom of motion as shown in these awesome animation videos. To stay healthy, mobile and pain free we need to give ourselves some let down time to relax our tense muscles that cross the joints, to rehydrate our connective tissues, and to mobilize the joints. Below I share with you one of my all time favorites! This a great movement sequence to target the knots between the shoulder blades and ribcage, as well as mobilize the entire spine. Enjoy!
Susan McLaughlin is a physical therapist who specializes in the management of pelvic floor and orthopedic dysfunctions. She is the owner of ALIGN integration|movement in Salt Lake City, UT. Helpful tips and other self care strategies can be found at www.alignforhealth.com.
FEEL GOOD SERIES: