Although thoracic spine pain is not as common as lumbar pain, it can be a difficult area to treat effectively, especially by you, as it isn’t as mobile as the lumbar spine, and there is often rib involvement too. Whatever the cause, Somatic Movement Education’s gentle routines can be a great help in unlocking the causes of thoracic problems and tensions, leaving you pain free in a relatively short time, and leaving you with the knowledge and techniques to dissolve the problem in the future should it arise again.
The causes of thoracic spine pain can be as obvious as some physical trauma to the area, all the way through to subtler causes like shallow breathing, and even the subconscious fear reflex that causes the shoulders to go up and the head to move forward.
A very common cause nowadays is the sedentary lifestyle that many people lead. Sitting in one position for too long with bad posture, in front of a computer, a television, or while driving, can very easily knot up the thoracic area giving that familiar tight feeling in the muscles, and sometimes a very sharp pain on moving that often spreads across to the shoulder blades.
A key area to concentrate on is releasing the muscles at the front of the body as well as the ones at the back, because the muscles at the front have a direct bearing on the thoracic spine, pulling the whole thorax out of alignment. Releasing tight rectus abdominis and trapezius muscles can also help the whole area to unwind and regain a state of relaxation and balance.
Somatic Movement Education is designed to help us recognise and release chronic pain patterns in the body, and a gentle sequence of movements can be chosen for your specific problem which will unwind the holding patterns in all the areas that can affect thoracic pain, giving you a thorough and holistic answer that you can practice in the comfort of your home.
As well as looking at posture and releasing the muscles themselves, comfort in the thoracic area depends on releasing the diaphragm, and a great way to do this is with Somatic Movement Education. It is of great benefit to also learn diaphragm breathing – slower, deeper breaths into the bottom of the lungs allowing the abdomen to move in and out when inhaling and exhaling. This is a far more effective and generally relaxing way of breathing than the shallow, clavicular breathing that so many people use.
Lastly, hydrate! So few people hydrate properly during the day, and that doesn’t mean lots of tea, coffee, and soft drinks. All we need is water, so drink two or three litres of clear, pure water every day. The body is 70% water, and the cartilage between joints and discs between vertebrae depend on being hydrated to function properly. The Somatic Movement Education exercises help to draw that water into the discs, so make sure there’s enough water in the body to make this possible, as the exercises will not be as effective without them!