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Thoracic Spine Mobility - What It Is & Why It’s Important

Updated: Nov 24, 2021

This post is written by Joshua Weber, PT, DPT, CKTP, Physical Therapist at Riser Physical Medicine.

Poor posture & pain

Working from home poses unique challenges we never had to consider before.

Many of us find ourselves working on the couch, on kitchen chairs, or even bar stools with poor home office ergonomics.

Staying seated in these positions of poor posture can lead to pain in your neck and upper back.

Throughout the work day, you may find yourself with pain, discomfort, or stiffness that you can't seem to get rid of.

So what is there to do?

Thoracic Spine Pain

Your Thoracic spine, or midback, is capable of movement that allows us to perform certain daily activities such as reaching, twisting, and breathing.

Stiffness in the mid back, or thoracic spine region, is usually caused by poor posture leading to muscle tension.

This pain can be felt anywhere from your neck, to your shoulders, and middle back between your shoulder blades.


The essential treatment for thoracic immobility is postural correction and education of where to keep our bodies when we find ourselves working in these suboptimal conditions.

But while true postural change can be a slow process, here are 2 exercises that you can do at home or at your desk to relieve some of your pain.

1.) Thoracic extension over chair

  1. Sit upright in your chair with your feet flat on the floor and your back against the seat back

  2. Interlock your fingers behind your neck and bring your elbows forward

  3. Gently arch your upper back over the top of the chair until you feel a gentle stretch in your spine, hold for a few breaths and return to upright position

  4. Repeat up to 10 times

2.) Thoracic rotation stretch

  1. Sit in your chair with your feet flat on the floor and your back away from the seatback

  2. Squeeze a ball or pillow between your knees to help engage your core and limit movement in the lower back

  3. Cross your hands over your chest and slowly rotate your torso to the right until you feel a gentle stretch on the left side of your mid back

  4. Hold for a count of 10 seconds then rotate to the left

  5. Repeat up to 10 times

Let us help

At Riser, we’re committed to helping you achieve a healthier, happier, pain-free, and more active You.

Come to Riser Physical Medicine in NYC and let our expertly trained clinicians assess your pain and get you started on the right treatment plan.

Patients travel from all over New York City to visit one of our state-of-the-art offices in Union Square, Hudson Yards, or Murray Hill.

Our certified therapists bring their clinical expertise to create a unique program designed specifically for your areas of concern.

Let us be your one stop shop for all your wellness needs.

Book an appointment

If you’d like to get in touch with us for an appointment, please call us at 646-661-2181, email us at, or click the button below to book an appointment online.


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