The part of the spine that starts just below the neck to half-way down the back is technically called your thoracic spine and is often a neglected and abused part of the body.
A stiff thoracic spine can cause pain between the shoulder blades but can also cause excess loading of the lumbar spine, the neck and shoulders, which in turn can lead to pain in these areas.
Regular stretching of the thoracic spine will relieve stress across the shoulders and greater flexibility should improve posture and sports performance.
The Prisoner Rotation is one of many exercises that will help improve the flexibility of your thoracic spine. It can be performed seated or kneeling.
Assume a kneeling position and interlock your hands lightly behind your head without pulling the head forward.
Engage your core muscles to stabilize the lumbar spine, and maintain this contraction throughout the exercise.
Exhale and slowly rotate the arms to the right until a point of resistance. Avoid rotating the hips.
Hold this position for 15 seconds and then bend your trunk, pointing your right elbow toward the floor. Hold this position for 5 seconds.
Return to an upright position and then perform the stretch in the opposite direction.
Perform four to six repetitions to each side.
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