A Tight Back
Your back carries the bulk of the stress from a day sitting in front of a screen. Here’s how to get your spine supple once again Your thoracic or “T-”spine is your upper back, the area between the neck and low back. The joints in this area allow a lot of movement, particularly rotation. But because we spend the majority of our lives hunched over computers, steering wheels and cellphones, our T-spine is consistently in a f lexed position. “Use it or lose it” is the motto of the human body. If we do not regularly move our joints through their available ranges of motion, we can lose mobility and f lexibility. So, as a result of too much time spent f lexed, with minimal extension or rotational movements, the modern day T-spine can get quite stiff. The ability to move freely through your T-spine is noteworthy to runners for these important reasons:
Your T-spine is connected to your ribs, and both the T-spine and ribs surround your lungs. Flexed posture restricts your ability to fully inf late your lungs. This results in less oxygen intake and inhibited capacity for aerobic exercise.
Energy transfer and injury prevention
Your spine is the link between your upper and lower limbs. In sports that involve alternating arm and leg movements, such as running, cross-country skiing or skating, this link needs to function properly for the impact of your foot on the ground to be absorbed and appropriately transferred through the body. With dysfunction in one area of the body, other areas are prone to imbalance, overuse or compensation. For example, a stiff upper back is compensated for by excess rotation through the low back, increasing the strain on the low back ( joints and discs).
When the bones of the body are in proper alignment and our joints have sufficient movement or “play,” this minimizes stress on the surrounding soft tissue structures such as ligaments, tendons and muscles. Proper alignment allows muscles to work at their ideal length and tension, producing larger forces with the least amount of effort. This means our body can work smarter, not harder.