Joint Health Month – Week One

All month long we are going to be focusing on keeping your joints happy and healthy (and hopefully, creak-free).

This first week, we are working on the lumbar spine. Need some mobility in that area? Try this first exercise to get it moving. Need some stability? Try the second exercise to turn on those low back stabilizers and give your spine some support. Want to have a healthy back? Do both. ūüėú

Move That Mid-Back to Save Your Neck and Low Back

I know I know. ¬†You are probably sick of me talking about the thoracic spine, but I can’t help myself. ¬†A few months back, I talked about the thoracic spine in my post “Exercises for a Tight Neck and Shoulders“. ¬†Today, I want to dive a little deeper and talk about the whole spine and the importance of movement and fluidity especially in the thoracic spine.

For an array of reasons, your spine needs to move fluidly.  Proper movement in your spine not only allows you to move properly and avoid injury, but it also helps nourish the discs in your spine and move cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) to and from your brain.  Today, due to high levels of stress, constant sitting, and working on computers, our spines do not get a lot of chances to move forward, back, side-to-side, and in rotation.  The place this shows up the most, is in the thoracic spine.

The thoracic spine is the the middle portion of your spine. ¬†The spine should move like a snake – flexible but strong. ¬†Imagine you are holding a snake (I know it’s gross, but it’s just pretend), if you hold onto the center of the snake, his head and tail are going to move like crazy! ¬†The same thing happens to your back. ¬†When we lose movement in our thoracic spines, our necks and low backs become hyper-mobile. ¬†This excess of movement puts huge forces on our vulnerable discs and vertebrae and can lead to muscle soreness, nerve pain, and bulging discs.

So, now that I have scared you into moving your spine (I am totally proud of that by the way), let’s give you something you can actually use to help yourself. ¬†Below you will find videos to move your thoracic spine in 3 different ways – flexion and extension, lateral movement, and rotation. ¬†Do the whole set or pick one from each movement and get your mid-back moving!

Thoracic Mobilization – Flexion/Extension

Thoracic Mobilization – Lateral Shift

Thoracic Mobilization – Rotation

Podcast, Episode 6 – Low Back Pain and the SI Joint with Katharine Hauge, DPT

Brenna Backe sits down with Katharine Hauge, DPT to discuss low back pain, and specifically, the role the SI joint can play. They cover why the SI joint is so important, how an imbalance can lead to pain or injury, and how to differentiate between hip pain, knee pain, and pain caused by the SI joint. If you have ever had low back and/or hip pain, you will want to listen to this episode.