Stretch Your Way to Healthier Middle Back

iStock_000008894314XSmallOver the course of this month we have discussed upper and lower back stretches, but for this installment we want to focus on the mid-back.

The main muscle in the middle of the back is the latissimus dorsi muscle and it is one of the muscles that is most affected in the particular area whether it be due to poor posture or sitting for long periods of time.  If you don’t properly take care of your mid-back, other issues may arise.  As we age the back is susceptible to conditions that begin to put stress on the mid-back.  Osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and degenerative disc changes may all be conditions that can lead to added strain.

In order to maintain a healthy back, exercise, stretch and maintain a healthy weight.

Below we have listed 4 stretches to relieve tension in the mid-back area!

  1. Chair Stretch: While sitting in a chair, place your feet flat on the floor in front of you. With a straight back, bend down and touch your toes. To intensify the stretch, place your feet further away from your chair when bending down to touch your toes.
  2. Arm stretches: While sitting straight up on the floor or a chair reach both of your arms straight up into the air. To intensify the stretch of your mid-back muscles, stretch your arms further up into the air. Make sure to only go as far as your body will allow.
  3. Thoracic Spine Foam Roll: Lie on the ground with a foam roller under the middle/upper back area. Place your hands behind your head, with your elbows resting away from the body. While relaxing you head and neck, lift your hips off the ground and start to roll back and forth across the foam roller on your middle/upper back area.
  4. Doorway stretch:  Stand in a doorway and raise your arms to shoulder height, bend your elbows to 90 degrees and place your forearms on the frame of the door.  Stand up straight, keep your head in line with your shoulders and slowly take a small step through the doorway.  Oftentimes just putting your arms up into this position will offer enough of a stretch, but if you feel you can tolerate a little more of a stretch cautiously step through the door and stay in an upright position.  Breathe slowly and hold for about 10 seconds, repeating 5 times.

Always remember to go easy when incorporating new stretches into your routine. If you begin to feel pain or discomfort, adjust your movements or discontinue the stretch.

Click here for stretches to help relieve upper back pain!

Do you have any mid-back stretches to add to the list?

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