The THORACIC Spine Needs TLC!

Thoracic aches and pains. Cervical aches and pains. Shoulder aches and pains. 

These three areas are so interconnected that without the principle of mobility, stability and strength in all three of these areas, harmonic stability is compromised.

In this post, let us look at the basics and once we understand those, then we can delve even deeper!

On numerous occasions, I have had clients walk into our studio with report after report after report from so many health care or movement professionals. Their frustration levels are high, their results are few and they feel that there is no hope of improvement.

THIS IS SIMPLY NOT TRUE! Kyphotic spines seem to be treated in the same manner as everything else. STRENGTHEN IT!

But there is one problem, they can’t move it so how do you want them to strengthen it? They seem to get this general program of prone ‘thoracic’ back extension and when we observe them doing the exercise that they were given on a ‘piece of paper’ to do at home, their execution is very poor. I will state it as a fact that minimal long term improvement will occur and the current injury or problem will worsen or reoccur. 

Why were they not given thoracic mobilization into extension? I just don’t get it? Why were they given the exercise to do at home that they clearly cannot do when you are teaching them? How are they supposed to get a positive outcome if they are not even able to do the exercise effectively in your facility?

Thoracic strengthening can only occur once the joints are mobile enough to get into extension. This seems self-explanatory. So why is it not happening this way?

We have to take a look at the mobility of the following joints:

  1. Gleno-humeral joints
  2. Cervical spine
  3. Thoracic spine

Now we are talking! Now we have a plan and now, we know where to start with creating a program that is 100% client-specific. 

If you ignore the importance of the above 3 areas of mobility, then you must expect the following compensations to occur in each repetition;

  1. Cervical extension
  2. Lumbar extension
  3. Shoulder extension

Which are all an illusion of what you are trying to achieve …….THORACIC EXTENSION!

If the above compensations occur, then the exercise is and was pointless. 

The golden rule is: 

Ensure mobility is achievable and only then start targeting the thoracic extensors against low to medium load! When we learn about the spine, its movements and its ranges in all of the literature, we end up generalizing spines and how they should move. But when you have worked with thousands of people, you come to realize that something is wrong with what we are reading. Our clients do not fit into any of these categories and we know they are human (hahaha). This is where the big adventure begins… who are they, what spines do THEY have and how does THEIR SPINE move? 

Why not check out this course: The Why Behind Compensations


Of-CourseOnline -Our passion is post-education for the movement and rehabilitation industry!
Author: Tanya Thompson – Founder of


More to explore

New Website is Live

Now this is super exciting. Our team has worked so hard to get this website ready for you to enjoy. We have 23 movement based categories for you to learn from with new content uploaded weekly. The more you learn about the human body, the more you realize how incredible

Read More »

New Mentorship Program available now

Our new mentorship program is going to blow your mind. We cover everything relating to building your career, getting your mind focused to achieve success and tools to beat your competition. Enjoy video 1 with its handout and brace yourself for all the videos are are ready to be uploaded

Read More »

Join our webinars for free

When you become an Of-CourseOnline Silver or Gold member, you get to enjoy our webinars for absolutely free. Go to our upcoming webinars and book now for ‘The biomechanics of foot training’ and ‘Client sensitivity – The Human Factor’. Click here

Read More »