The 17 Best Thoracic Spine Stretches

Do you have upper back stiffness? Try out these 17 simple (but effective) ways to stretch the Thoracic Spine.

Thoracic spine Stretches

(Note: The following Thoracic Spine stretches will also help address Scoliosis and Thoracic Kyphosis.)

Start with Releases: Before you perform the Thoracic Spine stretches, it is important to release all of the tight muscles that attach directly onto the Thoracic Spine and rib cage first.


1. Between shoulder blades

(Muscles targeted: Trapezius, Rhomboids, Erector Spinae, Intercostal)

release between the shoulder blades


  • Lie down on your back.
  • Place the region between the spine and shoulder blade on top of a massage ball.
  • Apply an appropriate amount of pressure on top of the massage ball.
  • Slowly circle around the target area and focus more time on any tight areas.
  • Once you find a tender spot, move your arm up/down to increase the release.
  • Make sure to cover the entire area between the spine and the shoulder blade.
  • Do not place your spine directly on top of the massage ball.
  • Duration: Aim for 1-2 minutes.
  • Repeat on other side.

2. Chest

(Muscles targeted: Pectoralis Major/Minor, Intercostals)

chest muscle release


  • Lie down on your stomach.
  • Place your chest muscles on top of a massage ball.
  • Apply an appropriate amount of your body weight onto the massage ball.
  • Slowly circle around the target area and focus more time on any tight areas.
  • Once you have found a painful spot, move your arm around to increase the amount of release in the area.
  • Duration: Aim for 1-2 minutes.
  • Repeat on other side.

3. Latissimus dorsi

lat release


  • Lie down on your side.
  • Position your body on top of the foam roller so that it is in direct contact with the sides of your rib cage. (see above)
  • Apply an appropriate amount of pressure onto the foam roller.
  • Roll your body up/down on top of the foam roller. (Focus more time on any tight areas.)
  • Duration: Aim for 1-2 minutes.
  • Repeat on other side.

4. Upper abdominals

upper abdominal release


  • Lie down on your stomach.
  • Position your body over a massage ball as to target the upper abdominal region. (below the rib cage)
  • Apply a small amount of pressure onto the massage ball.
  • Slowly move your body over the ball.
  • Keep your abdominal region completely relaxed.
  • Duration: Aim for 1-2 minutes.

(Note: Please take care with this release. Excessive pressure in this region can cause injury to your internal organs!)

5. Intercostals

intercostal releases


  • With your finger tips, feel for the gaps in between your ribs.
  • Starting from the outer side of your rib cage, trace this gap towards the mid line.
  • Apply an appropriate amount of pressure through your finger tip.
  • Once you have found a tender area, maintain the finger tip pressure and take 3x breaths in/out.
  • Make sure to cover as many ribs as you can locate.
  • You may need to use a massage ball to release the intercostal spaces at the back of your rib cage.

Now that all of the tight muscles have been released, let’s start with the Thoracic Spine stretches!

6. Side stretch

(This stretch predominantly targets the Latissimus Dorsi muscle.)

lat stretch


  • Assume the position above.
  • Hold onto a door frame with your hand.
  • Whilst anchoring your legs as shown, aim to bend your mid section as much as possible.
    • Use your body weight to sink into the stretch
  • Twist your pelvis away.
  • Aim to feel a stretch on the side of your torso.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat on other side.

For more stretches like this, make sure to check out this blog post: Latissimus Dorsi Stretches.

7. Front stretch

This stretch predominantly targets the Pectoralis Major/Minor (Chest muscles).

Chest stretch


  • Place your outstretched hands onto a door frame.
  • Lunge forward.
  • Pull your shoulder blades backwards.
  • Do not arch your lower back.
    • Do not over extend your lower back.
  • Aim to feel a stretch at the front of your chest.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.

For more stretches like this, make sure to check out this blog post: Chest Stretches.

8. Intercostal stretch

The Intercostal muscles are situated between the ribs.

(Surprisingly, they can actually get pretty tight!)

intercostal stretch


  • Lie on your side whilst leaning on your elbow.
  • Whilst keeping your waist pinned down to the ground, push your torso up right.
  • Aim to feel a stretch at the side of your rib cage.
  • Aim to take deep breaths into the area of stretch.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat on the other side.
  • To target the lower portion of the side rib cage, perform the exercise with a straight arm instead.

9. Posterior line stretch

best thoracic spine stretches for the back


  • Whilst sitting down, pull your head down and bring your chin closer to your upper chest.
  • Bend as far forward as possible whilst making sure to round the upper back.
  • Aim to feel a stretch between the shoulder blades.
  • Take deep breaths into the area of stretch.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.

10. Side stretch with flexion

(Area targeted: Side of spine)

thoracic spine stretches


  • Hunch your upper back region forwards.
  • Side bend the spine away from the side you would like to stretch.
  • Look towards the arm pit.
  • Pull your head towards the armpit.
  • Aim to feel a stretch on the side of your spine.
  • Take a deep breath into the area where you feel the stretch.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat on the other side.

11. Stretch into Extension

thoracic extension with foam roller


  • Place a foam roller on the floor.
  • Lie down on your back.
  • Position the foam roller so that it is in the middle of your upper back.
  • Stretch arms over head and arch backwards.
  • Keep your lower ribs down to prevent over arching of the lower back.
  • Oscillate in this motion for 30 repetitions.

12. Flexion Stretch

cat cow thoracic spine stretch


  • Get into the 4 point kneel position. (Position 1)
  • Proceed to round your upper back as much as you can. (Position 2)
    • Aim to feel a gentle stretch at the back as you round your spine.
  • Return to the starting position.
  • Alternate between these positions for 30 repetitions.
  • Progression: Try to round your upper back one vertebra at a time. (aka Segmental control)

13. Rotation

thoracic spine rotation


  • Sit down on a chair.
  • Place your hand on the outer side of the opposite knee
  • With the other hand, grab onto the back of the chair.
  • Rotate your spine. (as to look behind you)
  • Oscillate in this position for 30 repetitions.
  • Repeat on the other side.

14. Translations

thoracic spine translation


  • Sit on the floor as shown above.
  • Keep the arm locked straight.
  • Lean your body weight into this arm.
  • Slide your rib cage towards the side.
  • Aim to feel a stretch on the side of the rib cage.
  • Continue for 30 repetitions.
  • Repeat on the other side.

15. Rotation in 4 point kneel

4 point kneel thoracic spine rotation


  • Get into the 4 point kneel position.
  • Reach your arm as far as possible towards the opposite side. (See above)
  • Hold for 5 seconds.
  • Repeat 20 times.
  • Repeat exercise on the other side.

16. Thoracic spine Decompression

thoracic spine stretches


  • Start in a standing position.
  • Bend over and reach under your toes.
  • Lock your finger tips underneath your toes.
  • Tuck your chin towards your chest. Relax you arms. Lean backwards as you pull your upper back towards the sky.
  • Take a deep breath in to increase the stretch.
  • Hold for 10-30 seconds.
  • Note: Take care with this stretch if you have lower back issues.

17. Hanging

hang stretch for upper back


  • Hold onto a horizontal bar.
  • Drop down into a squat position and allow your body weight to completely hang off your arms.
  • Make sure that your feet are gently resting on the floor for support.
  • Lean slightly backwards.
  • Round your upper torso forwards.
  • Tuck your chin in.
  • Look downwards.
  • Aim to feel a stretch in the upper back region.
  • Take a deep breath in between the shoulder blades to increase the stretch.
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds.


The Thoracic Spine stretches listed in this blog post will help loosen up the upper back region.

Performing the stretches regularly may help reduce pain, decrease stiffness and improve Thoracic Spine mobility.

It is important to feel a significant stretch in the specific area that you are targeting.

What to do next…

1. Any questions?… Leave me a comment down below.

2. Come join me on the Facebook page. Let’s keep in touch!

3. Start doing the exercises!

Disclaimer: The content presented on this blog post is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. It exists for informational purpose only. Use of the content is at your sole risk. Seek guidance from a health care professional before starting any exercise. For more information: Medical Disclaimer.

144 thoughts on “The 17 Best Thoracic Spine Stretches”

  1. Hey Mark I have extremely tight thoracic area. My Spinal erectors are locked and I can’t get them to release. No one can. I’ve tried everything. Any ideas?

  2. Hey Mark,

    Thanks for all the amazing information and routines. I used your guide a while back to correct my rounded shoulders and am back again for issues I’ve been having with the thoracic spine. Long story short I had a concussion in 2018, this led to compression of some of my cervical / thoracic spinal joins. This was mostly corrected but then in August of 2022 I got Covid which seemed to aggravate this area again.

    I also began having heart palpitations and panic attacks after the infection. A pain specialist I saw explained that Covid can attack / reactivate old injuries. He treated my spine with dry needling and injections which cleared up my symptoms for a number of weeks. However the symptoms of panic / palpitations are starting to surface again.

    I was told that these symptoms are due to irritation of the nerves in my thoracic spine. Is there any recommendation you can make to help with my recovery? Or does this diagnosis make sense, I’d seek further treatment with the specialist but they are quite expensive. Especially if I can tackle this with a strengthening routine like this! I appreciate any advice or feedback you can provide.


    • Hey Scott,

      Sounds like that thoracic spine is quite compressed to cause the symptoms of palpitations/panic. This could be reflective of being in a parasympathetic state.

      I would encourage you to decompress the thoracic spine with the stretches mentioned here. (I find #17 very helpful.)

      Taking deep breaths in whilst performing the stretches will make the stretches even more effective. Try to imagine “breathing in between the shoulder blades” to encourage expansion in the upper back region.

      In addition to that, make sure you that you have full movement of the thoracic spine.

      Can you also check to see if you have flared ribs? See post: FLared ribs.

      All the best!


      • Thanks for the quick response Mark! Overall rotation feels more constricted on the left side. I have slight limitation when rotating my head to the left shoulder vs the right shoulder. Also when looking over each shoulder it feels as if I’m rotating lower in the spine on the left side to compensate for tightness in the thoracic region. I’ve also noticed since starting this routine that my left pec has gotten very sore along my sternum (not a bad pain – more like DOMS).

        I checked the post on flared ribs but I don’t think that is affecting me. I’ll keep working on this routine and try to gain control of individual vertebrae through segmentation exercises.

        Thanks again,

  3. Hi Mark,
    I have space in my T10 middle back.
    I was playing kabbadi game like wrestling. The oppenent caugth me in back and forced from abdomen to back which my backbone feacture has occured.

    Kindly suggest me some exercise for T10 having space.
    Thank you,
    Kind regards
    Said Mohd.

    • Hi Said,

      I am not too sure what you mean by having space in your T10 region.

      Do you mean your back was over extended leading to a T10 compression problem?


  4. Hi
    My upper right back is very has been 1 year I am going through this pregnancy suddenly I had a severe pain in right hip n buttock .showed to orthopedic n did MRI.I have mild L5 disc bulge…doctor told me it might be due to stress so gave me medication…which gave me some relief. After few days I fell from stairs n hurted my right ankle…after few days I started feeling tightness in my mid back
    And it started flaring my upper back. I feel my right leg is shorter than left .feeling numbness in right hand..n some what shorter than left may be due to tightness in my right side..
    Is it scoliosis. Cause I feel mild curve in my spine in thoracic region. Please help me as it is getting difficult for me to look after my 1 year baby also..moreover their is always pain in the hip .which exercise would help me..cause I never had this problem before..

    • Hi Reshma,

      Without assessing you specifically, it’s hard to determine the exact cause of your said symptoms.

      With new mothers, it’s commonly related to how you are holding your baby. (eg. Do you hold your baby on one hip? Do you always nurse the baby in the same position? Are you co-sleeping with the baby in a certain position etc)

      These can place more pressure on certain areas of your body and lead to some of your said symptoms.

      If you believe it is related scoliosis (which it can be), check out this post: Scoliosis Exercises.

      If you need pain relief in the upper right back, the exercises here might be a good place to start: Rhomboid Muscle Pain.

      If the pain in the hip is on the side, I am guessing it could be bursitis. (See post: Hip Bursitis Exercises)


  5. Hello Mark,

    Recently, I did an MRI and the result says disc desiccation and mild disc space narrowing at T6-T10, no focal disc herniation is identified. I’m still in my mid 30s, so you can imagine my concern. Would the exercises you’ve shown at the top help me?

    Thanks you.


    • Hi Kemmy,

      Did the MRI mentioned that the narrowing is more anterior or posterior?

      If it is more anterior, this could be related to thoracic kyphosis.

      The stretches mentioned on this blog post will likely help, but it sounds like you will need to do specific exercises to address your posture as well.


  6. We originally commented on twisted spine however Im not sure it’s working so I’ll try here..

    Hi Mark,
    My husband would like to know, where it says “aim to rotate in the area where your rotation is originating from” he is rotated from the very bottom, everything is twisted, he has already done this before for a month and a half giving himself a bad shoulder impingement have about gotten the shoulder back in place and straightened out the neck and had caught the twisted torso muscles tightening up severely. Lateral tilt muscles tightened up pretty good and twisted pelvis not so much. The psoas muscle seems to have tightened up. So question is the first time around he started the rotation at the base and rotated all the way up the spine seems this time he is thinking he should start the rotation at the base and only go up above the belt line vs all the way up the spine because the upper part seems ok because he has done rounded shoulders, hunched posture, uneven shoulders, and some shoulder impingement work along with the neck he had mentioned, and the dowingers hump, flared ribs, and lumbar lordosis that he is doing now. Also after three days of the twisted torso and lateral tilt everything is loosening back up fine.
    Thank you for your time,
    Doug and Tanya

    • Hi Doug and Tanya,

      Generally speaking – I would address the rotation from the bottom to top.

      Addressing the rotation further down may automatically improve the top.


  7. Hi Marc, great stretch postures.
    I have problems with my thoracic spine from 1st to 7th vertebra, the whole area is painful and when I roll it out with a 10 cm yoga ball it’s like cutting the muscles off. It frequently causes light to serious extra systoles (up to every 2nd heart beat “missing” over hours or even days – scary) and I’m tired of it. Despite training like calisthenics and yoga I don’t get it under control (and still stay on a BMI of 30 – I’m 60 years old and damaged my spine and joints through excessive competition training until age 40, including a C5-C6 protrusion).
    I’m living in China, no good physio-therapists found until now. So need to find something what I can do myself. Any ideas?
    Thankful for any input which can help me fix the problem.

    • Hi Tom,

      The thoracic spine is believed to be able to influence the sympathetic nervous system. This in turn can affect the heart beat.

      If rolling your back into extension is painful, perhaps you need to focus more on stretching into flexion and rotation. See how that goes.


    • Oh am I struggling to get rid of the pain in my Thorasic spine. I hope and know your stretches WILL be the answers to help me once in for all. One question. When you say oscillate 30 reps oscillate in #12& #14 stretches, do you mean “hover” over a Thorasic spine area and move up and or down, oscillating for seconds instead! IF I’m I’m oscillating, hovering, for how long. 5 secs and move on but 30 x. Thank you. Great stretches.

      • Hey Richard,

        Oscillate means to rhythmically bounce at the end end range of the stretch. This should help mobilize the joints in the target area. (Think about how people open/close a door repetitively when they are trying to loosen up a rusty door hinge)


  8. Hi Mark,
    After a lumbar fusion surgery in 2010, I had a neuro stim device placed to help with chronic pain. Unfortunately the device did not work and upon removal, most of the vertebrae at T 4 was removed along with the cutting of the muscles around that vertebrae in order for the surgeon to remove the device which has left a large divot in my back and constant muscle pain there. I was told I needed to work on strengthening the muscles around the thoracic spine but have no idea what to do. Are the exercises above appropriate for my condition? Thank you!

    • Hey there Laural,

      The exercises mentioned here will help with reclaiming movement in the thoracic spine.

      As with any exercise that you do, it is important to make sure that you do not push into any pain.

      Do you have a rounded upper back? If so, you might benefit from some of these exercises: Hunchback posture


  9. Hi mark,
    Over the past 2 years I’ve been having trouble with my thoracic. I feel like my T1-4 area is all out of whack in that I feel like that area is misaligned (When I run my fingers down the vertebrae it’s not a straight line) as I can feel 1-2 of my ribs pressing against me when I breathe. The T2-4 area is also frozen. I’ve tried physio and chiro for a long time and so far not working. What’s your suggestion here? Should I do more face pulls and stretch the pec minor (since it attaches to rib 3-5)?

    • Hey Kevin,

      If there is a lateral tilt between t1-4, you may have a degree of scoliosis there. Check out this post: Scoliosis Exercises.

      Is this area flat? If so, check out the Thoracic spine section in this post: Flat back posture.

      Pec minor stretches and face pulls might work, but I would need to do a full assessment to see exactly what is happening.


  10. Hi Mark,
    Will I be okay to do the above exercises?
    I have cervical dystonia but my whole thoratic area feels twisted.
    Kind regards

    • Hey Julie,

      It is fine to do. Just make sure you go gentle to begin with and pay attention to how your body responds.

      Do not push into any pain or discomfort.

      If in doubt, definitely consult a health professional before commencing any exercises.


  11. Hi Mark!
    im doing a personal training course and i have some doubt about the folowing question, can you answer that for me please?
    If a client has a hyper-kyphotic posture due to tight chest and latissimus dorsi muscles and weak upper back muscles, what resistance training/core stability and flexibility exercises would you recommend?

    a. Resistance training/core stability:

    b. Flexibility:

    Thank you

  12. Hey Mark,

    Your website has been a miracle in my life, thank you so much! I have 2 questions for you, I’ll try to make them quick.

    1) My anterior tilt was a quick fix as everything about correcting it felt natural, however the head, shoulders and rounding have still been a problem. Long story short I finally realized when I put my thoracic spine in a neutral position, my ears, shoulders and hips naturally line up, my neck straightens up shoulders roll back and down, and everything is fine and it feels great, obviously I can only maintain that posture for so long before I wear out and when I relax out of it I feel tension in my lower back, is this normal or am I doing something wrong possibly?

    2) I’m determined to become a back sleeper after being a lifelong side/stomach sleeper, its difficult making the change but the biggest problem is my arms falling asleep, with or without resting them on a pillow. Any tips for this?

    Thank you very much,


    • Hey Ryan,

      1) You’ll need to train holding the thoracic spine in that position for longer periods. Pace yourself!

      Once you fatigue, it is likely other muscles (such as the lower back erector muscles) will start to kick in more so.

      2) You would need to have a look at the position of your head/neck and also the shoulder.

      If you want to sleep on your back, make sure that the pillow is not too thin as this will tend to make your head kink backwards and chin just upwards. This can compress the nerves that go into your arms.

      If your shoulders are naturally quite rounded, you might need to support them with even higher pillows. Make sure to support the back of the shoulder AND elbow (perhaps try having the elbows slightly higher than the shoulders.)

      See how you go with that!


      • Thank you for the reply!

        My shoulders are no longer rounding, and that’s just one month of your program ?, however the problem now is naturally they are back but slightly shrugged up, so I’m constantly having to depress my scapula. Should I keep on doing the shoulder program or should I be doing something a little more specific for this problem?

        My final postural problem, and I can’t really find anything on the internet, is I’m starting to notice myself standing with all of my weight on the balls of my feet and toes, to the point where my knees are further out than my shins, which obviously throws everything out of whack. That is what feels natural and I didnt even pick up on it until the other day. Are there any drills or exercises to help me balance on my feet properly?

      • Hey Ryan.

        Great to hear the shoulders are getting better!

        If you are excessive shrugging, then you might be engaging the Upper trapezius too much as you bring your shoulders back. If this is the case – try to specifically get the middle traps to engage more so.

        If your knees are in front of your feet, this can place your body weight in front of the center of mass. This will force you to weight bear at the front of your feet.

        Check out this post : Anterior pelvic shift and Sway back posture. (see if that relates to you)


    • Hi James,

      Rib 9 can translate to the right if there is some sort of compression occurring along the left hand side at the same level.

      Try to release the muscles causing the compression on the left, that might be a good place to start.


  13. Hi Mark!

    I have been having difficulty with breathing and my thoracic area is to blame. Are there any exercises you could recommend to me including breathing exercises? Thanks!

    • Hey Ellie,

      I usually couple deep breathes in when in the stretched position.

      For example: I would assume the stretch position #8, and breathe into the area where I feel the stretch.

      Breathing helps stretch from the inside out.

      In your situation, you will need to identify exactly where you are right, get in a position to stretch that tight area, and then attempt to take deep breathes into that said area.



  14. Hi Mark

    Love these stretches thank you so much!! I had s question for you; I wake up every morning with a tight mid back region despite all my efforts to mobilise my back. Is there tightness here because it’s over compensating for weakness elsewhere in the back of legs? I see a chiropractor each month who manages to correct any issues but I don’t feel like stretches are actually improving the situation they are just getting my through the day. I suppose I feel like I’m not really getting any better hi JUST doing the stretch routine; I need to find the route of the problem don’t i?

    Any helpful advice would be welcome

  15. I just came across your site tonight. I had a spinal cord stimulator implanted back on March 7, 2019. I had a paddle for the stimulation which required a laminectomy at T-8. The SCS is doing wonders for my severe arthritis in my lumbar and the radiculopathy in my legs. My issue now the surgery site where the paddle is. I’m still getting severe muscle spasms and cramping in the area which reaches around through my ribs. I was told my muscle they cut through is atrophied. I’m exercising daily but can’t get this area to let up from being very painful, enough so I have to take medication for it most nights. Would these stretches help or is there something else I need to do? My next pain management appointment is in a month and I’m thinking of asking for trigger point injections. What are your thoughts?
    Thank you

    • Hey Laura,

      The first priority is getting the full mobility around that area. If you are quite locked or stiff in this segment, these exercise will help stretch out the tightness.

      More importantly, you will need to learn how to control and activate the muscles around this segment. I would recommend that you get very good at the “segmental cat/cow exercise”. (Have a look at how to do it on youtube).

      Try these exercises before considering the injections!


      • Mark,

        Thank you for your reply.
        I have been doing the cat/cow now a couple of months. I am also able to do push-ups on my knees with no pain. I find that strange. I will incorporate your stretches into my routine. I don’t want to have to have anything more done medically.
        Thank you again.

  16. Hello Mark,

    I believe I have a thoracic spine issue where it is causing me to have anxiety and panic attacks. It also feels like around the T5 area, it is pushing left which triggers my issues. Any suggestions?

      • Hi Mark,

        I believe I have the same issue as Johnny. I have other issues such as sweating and high-stress levels.

        Were any suggestions given to Johnny that may be useful to others?


      • Hey Mark,

        If the thoracic spine is not behaving optimally/not moving ideally/not positioned efficiently, it is said that it can sometimes affect the sympathetic nervous system.

        I have recently attended a course that has covered this material but I still need more experience with it before I can give a good answer.

        I would recommend learning how to control your thoracic spine. (Have a quick google search on: “Segmental cat cow exercise” on youtube)


      • You can believe that spinal misalignment can cause sympathetic nerve irritation. In my case, a right hand curve in my upper thoracic area caused nerve irritation that led to a very erratic and uncomfortable ventricular arrhythmia, which quickly led to heart failure and a sky high risk of heart attack. Prior to this I had been an exceptionally fit cyclist. A decade ago, heart rate variability showed me to be in the upper 5% of my age cohort. Even today I’m probably still in the top 10%. A visit to a cardiologist was worthless (I think most people with this issue drop dead before they can get to a cardio). But based upon my discussions with him I purchased a portable EKG device. When it arrived I immediately tried it out. I was sitting in a chair with good, upright posture. The heart rhythm was perfect. Relieved to hear this, I looked down to view the screen – my heart rhythm went berserk. Shortly after returning to my original position it went back to a normal rhythm. I Googled my symptoms and came across a video by Dr. John Bergman, DC. He described the misalignment that would cause my specific problem, so I found a local chiro (I was in Florida at the time). The x-rays he took showed the right hand curve in the upper thoracic spine that Dr. Bergman described.

        Currently, I am dealing with chronic pancreatitis. My personal belief is that it is caused by nerve irritation that most likely originates in or around T10. I’m researching exercises/stretches to correct where T10 slips out to the back (one of the pancreatic sympathetic nerves exists the lower thoracic toward the abdomen). I was making good progress, with a crucifix stretch being particularly helpful, but I got into the wrong position sleeping last night and have reverted. When I use a foam roller on my back, the discomfort is on my right side, adjacent to T10.

        If you want more information on how sympathetic nerve irritation can cause at times very rapid organ disease progression, research the Winsor Autopsies. These took place in the 1920 by an MD at the University of Pennsylvania. He had attended a lecture by a chiropractor who claimed a particular spine adjustment could cure a woman’s menstrual cramps, and that other manipulations cured various other issues. He obtained permission to perform necropsies on around 75 human and a couple dozen cat cadavers. He found 221 diseased organs. Of those, 212 had impingement of the corresponding sympathetic nerve.

        The chiro corrected my posture sufficiently to cure the heart problem, and my heart returned to normal just as quickly as it had been going down the toilet. The pancreas issue started about five months after completing that treatment. I believe he missed the issue of thoracic spine misalignment because my spine appears to be in alignment when standing, but in a bent forward position (as if cycling on a road bike) it was popping out of place.

        So I agree very wholeheartedly that the thoracic spine should be a first priority for anyone with a spinal issue. Correcting a lower back or cervical issue will always be compromised by not also correct the thoracic spine. And I will add that for most people it is prolonged sitting that causes thoracic misalignment.

        I’m 63 years old and take no prescription meds. My observation would be that it is age related muscle loss that makes spinal issues more likely as we age, and that such muscle loss can be mitigated through exercise at least until we reach our early nineties. Most otherwise healthy people die of diseases of “unknown etiology” caused by sympathetic nerve issues.

        By the way, my upper thoracic issue caused my wife (a former RN) to note that I was developing sleep apnea. When the heart issue cleared up, the sleep apnea also resolved. And my mother, in her mid-80s, had a pretty messed up upper thoracic/cervical spine, which nobody would attempt to fix because she had an unrepaired fractured C2 from a fall years earlier. She went into heart failure, which was corrected by a pacemaker. She soon after developed moderate sleep apnea that led to sleep deprivation. That led to paranoia and all sorts of negative outcomes. I firmly believe she could have been spared both issues if family practitioners were screening for these issues, especially in elderly populations.

  17. A very nice protocol kindly let me know if pateint had chronic pain of thoracic region 10 months ago from start how much of duration is used for each step? And when? Kindly clear

  18. Hi Mark,
    I took a huge hit to the back of my right shoulder and it bent my shoulder forward and my thoracic spine to the right and it’s twisted. I have an x Ray I could send over. It would mean the world to me if you could please take a look and advise. My spine was straight 6 weeks ago before the accident. I get really bad pain when I stand too long. Please let me know your thoughts. Thanks so much. You’re the best!

      • I do have full mobility, however it is still painful. Seems like my scapulas are uneven, my clavicles are uneven, and the shoulder has shifted down and forward (even though right clavicle is higher). I tried a chiro but left in tears after he did a shoulder adjustment and it seems that made things worse. The muscles on the left side seem to be permanently flexed, as if they’re in protection mode. They say I have mild scoliosis, however 2 months ago that was not the case. I’m desperate to find a solution and I’m willing to work as hard as I need to. I was in incredible shape 2 months ago and my diet is clean and strict. Please let me know your thoughts. Thanks.

      • I don’t think my reply worked the 1st time. I do have full mobility of my right shoulder. Full ROM but sloping slightly forward. My sternum is slightly bent and my clavicles are quite lined up anymore either. I can almost guarantee this happened in the fall, however one doc assumed it was structural/degenerative. Any help you could provide would be amazing. Thank you!

  19. Hi Mark!

    love the articles and I am very interested in your flat back article. I have been dealing with some very right muscles in my upper thoracic area for years and have been to several docs. finally, I found a Chiro that specializes in posture and he said I have a very flat back and severely tight muscles in my upper thoracic. one of the worst he’s seen in years. He couldn’t even get my back to take an adjustment. it seems very tight when taking a deep breath and has also caused me some balance issues. He believes because my nervous system is confused from all of the muscle tension and misalignment.

    anyhow. think your protocol for fixing this issue will help?

    Thanks for any input!

  20. Hi Mark,

    Love your content on here and the fact you still reply to every comment. Hoping you will see this and may be able to help out.

    In the last few weeks I have developed a constant dull ache on the right hand side of my spine in between the bottom of shoulder blades. I would rate the pain a 5 out of 10. It feels like it’s in the spine itself and it is quite annoying as it still aches when lying down as well. I tried massaging with a hard rubber ball but it had no effect.
    I have had this issue in the past around 3 years ago and it was fixed after about 6-12 months of chiropractic sessions (they said one of the vertibrae was frozen and needed mobilising).
    It proved to be very expensive so was wondering if you could advise me if there is anything I can do myself to help here? Or if you have any other ideas what it could be and what I should do.

    To add, I have been told I have slightly rounded shoulders and APT.
    Many thanks,

    • Hey Mark,

      If the pain is coming from your joints, it is likely the facet joints or perhaps even the joints where the ribs meet the spine. (depending on the exact location of your pain)

      Do you have a flat thoracic spine? This could lead to pinching of the facet joints.


      • Wow! I googled what facet joints are and yes that’s it. My Chiropractor had shown me a model of these and told me that’s exactly what the problem was. The facet joint was pinching/rubbing on something causing inflammation and pain. I had no idea what they were called.
        Can’t believe you guessed that immediately…
        I tend the slouch a lot so I don’t think I have flat thoracic spine. At work right now so I can’t really assess properly but will do when home and will report back. Thank you for replying.

      • Lucky guess, I guess :)

        You might slouch, but you may segments that are flat.

        The flatter the spine, the more like the facet joints will jam up in certain positions.


      • Ok I have had a look from the side by taking some photos and yes it does look like my thoracic spine is flat, well a section of it. The rest of my spine (lower) is quite curved though (APT).

      • Thank you for this. I have been trying the stretches as you mentioned although I had also been taking ibuprofen to manage the pain and it seems to have gone now! Not sure which one it was but either way I am grateful for your help.

  21. Hi Mark! I injured my back over a month ago my upper lower back the part that bends in a back bend. I landed in a foam pit off a trampoline in an updog/cobra position and my whole back cracked very loudly. It was for awhile to sensitive to even touch. It is now not, so that is good. But I used to be able to do back bends very easily but now I get sharp pain there when I arch my back to much. Is there any exercises on here I can do so I can back bend again? I’m a circus performer.

    • Hi Liz,

      Sounds like you may have compressed your facet joints.

      Inflammation (and tenderness) to the area will usually follow shortly after but should subside with time.

      If you want to improve your lumbar extension, you will need to perform cobra poses in a gradual but progressive manner. Pay close attention to any sharp pain that you may get. Do not push into this barrier.

      I would also recommend doing segmentation exercises for your spine. (have a quick youtube of that)

      Over time – you should be able to perform back bends again.

      If the pain persist, get a scan to rule out things like spondylolisthesis.

      Good luck!


      • Hi Mark, I am having a number of problems but the one that never really has gotten better, is I have a bulging disk in my mid back. I have been to physical therapy numerous times. But nothing seems to stop the feeling like something is poking into my back. The intensity has lessened at times but worsens again in time. I always do the exercises etc. that I was told to do every day, in fact, I do them twice a day. Along with this issue I have tightness in my neck, which is on the opposite side of where my bulging disk is (not sure that makes a difference). And all along my ribs on both sides I have a burning sensation. I have recently been getting deep tissue massages. They were extremely painful the first few times. When I eventually spaced them out to three weeks things got worse again. But I don’t want to just rely on someone doing some kind of therapy on me I want to be able to better address these issues myself. I just started doing most of the exercises you have posted here for the therasic spine yesterday. Do you have any other suggestions for me? I do janitorial/ housekeeping work but I’m trying to find another type of employment. But unfortunately most things are repetitive no matter what you do. I am eager to hear from you!

  22. hey mark..please can you send me a link for kyphotic-lordoctic posture fix?? i really need it and you have great tips here but not for this specific posture…thanks alot

  23. Hi Mark,

    Thanks for putting together these exercises. My question is: How do you keep lumbar spine from taking over?

    Context: I have hyper flexibility in the lower back when it comes to backbends. But it over-compensates: middle of back can barely budge. When it comes to folding forward, I feel like I can only hinge forward with my back in an almost straight line. If I lie on my back try to do a backwards roll or candlestick (shoulder stand), I can’t lift my butt first then thoracic region — I have to practically lift my entire back up all at once because my spine won’t roll in the middle.

    • Hi Priscilla,

      A hypermobile lower back will usually compensate for a stiff thoracic spine.

      To isolate the thoracic spine, the best thing to do is lock out your lumbar spine by keeping it flexed. (You will also have to keep your pelvis posteriorly rotated for best results)


  24. Hi Mark!
    Thanks for this arcticle! It’s a big help for everyone.
    But would a patient with t12 compression can do these workouts too?

    • Hi Yanne,

      You can still do these exercises, HOWEVER- you will need to be very careful with how far you push yourself.

      If you wanted to stay safe, I would avoid exercise #10 as this may place direct pressure on the bone.


  25. Hi, Here,
    I am a 30 yr old lady with cervical lordosis and *C3-4:5-6 gaps), lumbar slip disc with slip disc at L5, and sacralization.
    My movement is very limited and recently started severe pain in thoracic region.
    Many times i experience numbness in both hands. My complete back gets into contraction / tightening of back muscles

  26. Hi Mark,

    I’m a 31-year old female and have had thoracic back pain ever since having my 16 month old baby. I wore him on my body with a ring sling until my back hurt too much to carry him around 9 months. Now, every time I sleep I can feel my thoracic spine slip, like a couple the vertebrae slip backwards out of place and it causes pain in my thoracic while I sleep in the laying down position. I often get up early morning to do stretches, a foam roller, etc. to make my back feel better. I’m often able to make it feel better, but inevitably it all starts over again when I sleep at night. Is there any way to end this cycle so I can sleep without pain? Thanks.

    • Hi mark and Kelly,

      I am 36 with a 17 month old…. I feel fine all day, some tightness in my thoracic region but exercise do yoga with no issue. By 4am I wake up and my thoracic region feels “ locked” every sleeping position hurts. After being up and moving it gradually losens and pain subsides. I have been on this cycle for four months.

  27. I had a fracture injuries and I was not able to do many things, so I spent most of my time home. From the couch I sat poorly at the low table and spent a lot of time on the lap top. I almost noticed that my back was not the same anymore and I was diagnosed with kyphosis before, but it was not so terrible I not only had a good posture. I noticed when I was wearing a sweatshirt to see 2 curves along the spine (on both sides) probably trapeze, but it is very noticeable as if it was tightened probably from that sitting, the physiotherapist recommended me to practice the correction of the kite, but I did not get the answer for that, said I’m going to have to correct it as my orthopedic tells me that I should wear a back belt and that it’s from the spine. I did not have that curve before, only now I almost got them from an excessive sitting for a lap top in a bad position. Whether it’s just muscles or doctors are right. If they are not what I should do to get it back as before, I think he even even told me that I’m not doing the exercises just because they tighten my muscles ….

    • I forgot to say Hi * because i typing on google translate to not get bad gramatic.. I dont have big pain, when i sit or walk straight i get litle pain from muscles probably because they learn to get in bad sitting position…

  28. Hi Mark! I am 30 with an S curve scoliosis. I have a thoracic curve to my right on my upper back and a lumbar curve to my left on my lower back. It’s a bout a 40° each but I suspected my scoliosis is due to muscle imbalance as I am pretty much okay and it wasn’t too drastic of a body change despite the curve. However,the muscles bulge out a little due to the curve and results in me feeling tight. After much research, I gathered that with the right exercises, I can train my spine to support my back better and have better posture and possibly reducing the curvature.

    How can I help myself in my condition? Are there exercises to train my muscles on the concave side( on my top left and lower right) to be stronger and to relax my convex side (on my top right and lower left)? Thank you!

  29. Hi Mark,
    thank you so much for sharing your knowledge?
    I suffer with chronic thoracic pain which started due to tense muscles/armoring from stress. I am seeing a remedial massage therapist who is helping me to un-hunch my back, but also to fix the rest of my posture (pelvic alignment, rounded shoulders strengthen lower abs etc).
    I am quite overwhelmed with all the stretches and strengthening, and often spend over an hour on the work she has suggested for me, but I’d like to add in what you’ve advised in these articles. Can you suggest how to go about my whole body releasing, stretching and strengthening so I don’t have to increase the time I’m spending to even more than an hour a day? I mean, should I do lower body one day, upper the next? I know that you can get a better response with one part of your body after you’ve realigned another part, hence I have been doing the whole body.
    Thanks again, your site is awesome!

    • Hey Krystal,

      If you are short on time, focus on just one area.

      It is better to do one area very well then move on to the next when you are ready.


  30. Hi Mark,
    I’m a nail technician an have been experiencing thoracic back pain and deep feverishness at times, how do I correct my back.thanks

  31. Hello Mark, I’m having thoracic back pain I suspect due to ACDF surgery last November. What do you suggests. Thanks for your help.

  32. Hi Mark! I enjoyed reading this! I recently had a bad fall from a gymnastic stunt and fractured my t9 and t10. I’ve had my brace on for about 3 weeks now and although my spine doesn’t hurt for the most part, I’m scared to start stretching/exercising. Is there a correct time to start stretching again?

    • Hi Kyle,

      It depends on how severe the fracture is but I would generally wait 6 weeks for the bones to heal.

      You may need to get a re-scan to make sure you are healing properly before you start doing anything strenuous with your back.


  33. Hi, Mark. (Sorry this comment ended up being quite long). I have had thoracic pain since before Christmas, due to a job that had me standing and working at a table that was way too low for me. I spent the whole day looking downward while trying to avoid hunching as much as possible; the pain started in my neck and then moved to my middle back. I am no longer at the job, but I feel the habits have been ingrained in me. 90% of my pain now occurs at night while I’m sleeping. Often times I have to get out of bed in the middle of the night and come sleep on the couch (in a slightly sitting-up position where the top half of my body is basically resting up against a bunch of pillows in the nook of the couch, and my legs kind of curled up). For some reason, being laid out on a bed brings all the pain. I have slept in several different beds since the pain started, tried all sorts of pillow and posture combinations, but they only partially work. Any thoughts as to why sleeping on the couch in that position doesn’t hurt? When I DO wake up with lots of pain, the pain is 80% gone within an hour of being up and moving around. However, I do have a very general sense of pain in my back 24/7. I have tried many different stretches that help, but I still haven’t been able to determine and remove the cause of the pain. I want to destroy the cause, not just treat the symptoms. Should I go ahead and do your 17 exercises as described, or do you have any insight or specific workouts that might fit my particular situation? Thanks a great deal for your time.

    • Hey Logan,

      Is your pain directly on the middle of your thoracic spine?

      Or more of a muscular issue between your shoulder blades?

      Lying down flat might place your body in a position where it irritates certain structures in your body. The partial sit up position is probably placing less pressure on these said structures.

      The 17 thoracic exercises will help you out, but you need to find out exactly what is hurting, and why.


      • Hi, Mark. Thanks a lot for the response!

        It’s definitely not muscular. It’s directly in the middle of the spine. I think it’s caused mainly from lack of motion. It’s almost like when I’m asleep, it’s getting locked into whatever position that’s causing it to hurt. Probably the same position that my previous job “trained” it to be in. At my current job, it’s hit or miss whether it hurts or not. I know there it’s caused from just slightly leaning over my work area as I stand. But I do everything in my power to avoid this position while I sleep. So either I’m still doing it and don’t realize it, or the problem is broader than I think it is.

      • Hi Logan

        Did you ever find out what the issue was and how to resolve/ease it? Your symptoms sounds so similar and I’ve been suffering for 5 years. I’ve seen various physios, specialists, had MRI’s and no further on!


  34. I suffer from spondylosis, retrolisthesis, and chronic pain syndrome (and other more serious conditions unrelated to pain). I’m scheduled to have a thoracic medial branch block on Monday. I suspect at least some of my pain is because of poor posture and deconditioning from three years of some serious health issues. I’ve already had nerve ablation on my lumbar spine after physical therapy failed to resolve my lower back pain. This site caught my attention, and I am looking forward to trying the releases, stretches, and exercises that I am able to do. I really don’t want to go through formal physical therapy for the fourth time. I am tired. (I will run them by my Pain Management Physician first.) I just wanted to thank you for sharing this. Most of them look “doable”, even if I may need help getting off the floor. :-) If it helps even a little, it will be such a relief. I was really feeling down. This page has me feeling a little more motivated and hopeful. Thanks again.

  35. Hi Mark

    Really happy I’ve come across this page this morning. Just tried out all 17 exercises – found the W’s and I’s particularly challenging!

    I’m 34 and have now been suffering with thoracic/cervical pain for two years. Within that time I’ve seen every type of provider under the sun, but am now at the situation where the pain and discomfort is probably as worse as ever. Irony is I’m relatively fit, but it is has impacted my work (teacher) and I no longer play golf and tennis due to the aches.

    My main complaints are stiffness in the trapezius muscles, also impacting the scapula and muscles in the neck. Rather disconcerting has been the massive increase in popping joints: neck, spine, shoulders and elbows all prone to cracking loudly with minimal effort. The chin tuck exercise recommended by most providers has become a habitual movement for me, but only to release one of the (what I believe to be) vertebrae in the cervical spine.

    Have resolved this morning to re-assert my efforts to remedy these issues. It still gets me down how no obvious trauma has caused such discontent. I have a new physio is going to do some connective tissue work/massage and I’m also looking to supplement that with acupuncture sessions.

    Can you give any general advice i.e. is there anything other than the exercises you would suggest? What about icing/heat?

    Thanks Mark and much empathy and positive vibes to everyone else who is in this club.

    • Hi Jim,

      How does the rest of your posture look like? This basically determines the best way to treat you.

      If you are seeing a physio, I would suggest that they work on a lot of your anterior neck muscles (SCM, scalenes), pec major/minor, anterior deltoid, biceps, anterior upper traps to start off with.

      Couple that with exercises that strength the back/shoulder blade muscles and you will be a good place to start.

      Heat is good to help relax muscles.


      • Hi Mark

        Thanks for your reply.

        I would send you a photo of my posture if I could, but from what a couple of specialists have said, I have a decent posture with a fairly strong core, although my spine is quite flat in the thoracic region and I do show signs of very early scoliosis. I am very flexible, and even with joint and muscle stiffness still retain a lot of movement. The chiro I most recent saw suggested that I am developing hypermobility, so need to try my best not to habitually/forcefully pop my spinal and neck joints.

        Thanks for the advice re the muscle groups, I will mention it to my physio and/or look up some exercises myself. Can I ask, if there is one or two exercises that you would suggest above all others, i.e. to do 2 or 3 times a day, which ones would they be?

        Also can I just follow you up on the ice question, do you think this has any impact in healing chronic problems?

        Thanks for your time Mark, I know you are very likely to be busy so don’t take your time for granted in replying in your free time, much appreciated.

      • Hey Jim,

        Funny that you have mentioned a “flat thoracic spine”! I am actually writing a blog post on this now.

        In terms of which exercises: I like the Wall angel (#14) and Parallel angle (#15) personally. But – for which exercise is best for you? That really depends what you are lacking.

        In terms of ice, I generally do not advise ice to any of my patients (acute or chronic)… unless they are in severe pain. In that case, the numbing effect is quite effective.


      • Hey Mark,

        Having some success with the exercises. To be honest, the wall angels get me through the day! I.e. when I do them, I seem to be fine for a couple of hours or so.

        My symptoms present as a ‘trapped/fixed’ sort of feeling in the thoracic spine when I roll my shoulders back; a tight catching in the ribs on my front left side when I breathe deeply; muscle stiffness around the upper back and neck; and crepitus – lots of popping/snapping/cracking, especially in the elbows, shoulders and spine.

        Are there any articles you’ve written which you would recommend I check out, in addition to the flat thoracic spine one mentioned above?

      • Hi Jim,

        I love Wall angels! You should feel all your muscles in the back light up after doing a couple of reps.

        If you have a tight thoracic spine, you can have a look at some of the exercises by clicking here.

        The tight catching feeling in the front of left side is probably a pec minor issue, rib misalignment and/or lung problem. (hopefully it’s not your lung, though). Does the pec minor releases/stretches help?

        Do you have Rounded shoulders? Check out this post. This is common with flat thoracic spine and can lead to a whole lot of popping and grinding in the shoulder blade area.


  36. Hey Mark, I really appreciate what you are doing here! I’ve recently developed a pain in my back, between the bottom of the shoulder blade and the spine, on the left side only . Initially I could feel it after long working hours, recently it comes after periods of seating or even moving my arm. It’s not very acute, so I guess it must be a muscle that got tense from my bad posture and sitting position. Do you have any advice how to exercise it?

  37. Hello Mark!

    Great article. I have been experiencing soreness in my middle back when I put my chin to my chest and bend my head forward and down. I have been trying to release tight neck muscles through therapy, but I still feel a tight soreness on the thoracic region. It feels as if something is being pulled. Do you have any advice for me? Overall I have had terrible posture for years!

    Thank you.

    • Hello Erick,

      You are probably stretching out one or all of these muscles at the back:

      In terms of what exercises to do, it really depends on what kind of posture you have/what you do during the day/what sports you play etc.


  38. Hi Mark,
    I have had terrible pain in my back for months with no relief. I started PT yesterday and all the stretches she had me do are first felt in my neck (and the underside of my arms) instead of my back. I am not sure I am doing them right as she didn’t pay much attention. My neck has a herniated disk that is unrepaired below a plate with two discs they remade from my hip bone. I am afraid some of these exercises are going to continue to hurt my neck and I do NOT want to get back into that. It hurt awful for over 20 years before the repair. How can I make sure I don’t continue to make the neck pain worse? I also have a shoulder full of arthritis and damage from physical abuse (bone fragments floating around and torn rotator cuff and torn muscle that have’t seemed to heal- why not!?). This happened 5 years ago and continues to give me pain. I don’t want to make that worse either. Thank you for your time and attention.

    • Hi there Terrie,

      As I haven’t seen you personally and given your medical history, My best advice would be to get your PT to specifically check your exercises.

      Make sure you get them to tell you exactly what to feel and where you should be feeling it.

      If you want to ask more questions, feel free to contact me through private message on facebook.


  39. Hi Mark, A couple months ago I was suffering from terrible thoracic pain, it felt like constant pressure being applied to my thoracic spine ( I am pretty sure that was due to the uncomfortable chair at the office). To alleviate the pain, I asked someone to hold and squeeze me against them and tightly press me against their chest to pop the knots. It was quiet a lot of pressure as the person is much bigger than me. It was so bad that I developed costonchondritis and suffered for over 8 weeks with random breathlessness. Those symptoms have decreased dramatically but since the popping of my thoracic spine I randomly get a slight click in the back of my neck (middle where the spine is) when I turn my neck. I also experience voluntary popping of the thoracic spin (it does not hurt). One thing new which recently started is random headaches on either sides of my head and my left lower lid slightly twitches since two weeks back (randomly). Please advise.

    • Hi RN,

      It sounds like your friend squeezed you so hard that it impacted the cartilage in the front of your chest. (which can lead to inflammation of the rib cartilage)

      Due to the pain/breathless in the chest etc, you may have adapted a slight hunched posture.

      Does this like it could be true?

      This could then impact the position of your neck leading to headaches and pain in the area. I’m not too sure about the eye twitches though. That is usually due to a nerve problem/stress/caffeine .

      Check out Forward head posture post. It may help with your neck/head issues if this is the problem.


  40. Hello Mark,

    I am 32 years old and recently diagnosed with a 4-degrees bend in Thoracic Spine. I am a software Engineer and have to sit the whole day long for work. My spine has bent toward the left side(probably Scoliosis it is, but I am exactly sure), hence creating pressure and pain on the right side of the middle area next to the spine. Please recommend me some exercises from the above which will be useful for regaining of my posture back

    • Hi Riz,

      I would start with this exercise:

      Bend towards the right side to open up the left side. Make sure that you can feel the painful area stretching.

      Then follow up with a side plank with the right side down:

      At work: make sure you set up your work station that it does not encourage you to slouch to the left side.

      These are great exercises to start :)


  41. Mark,
    These are great. I had neck, shoulder, jaw, ear pain primarily on right side for several months. When sitting or standing for prolonged periods of time it seems like my right shoulder gets over tired and starts to drop and i feel pain in shoulder blade, traps, etc. Past PT has shown my right shoulder gets tired/weaker faster. Any suggestions to get over the hump?

  42. Hi Mark!
    I am SO glad I found this. I’m 28 and I’ve had bad back pain since I was 16. I always thought it was because I had an epidural with my daughter when I was 16 (yes I know, young mother). Well just recently I started realizing a lot of it has to do with my posture. I’ve been trying to correct it just by sitting up straight and that just makes ithurt worse and any position I sit in just becomes increasingly painful until I eventually just have to lie down or put something behind me to support my back to where I’m really not even sitting up on my own. So I’m glad I found this. I do have another question though. In the middle of my spine I guess on two of the vertebraes (those are the bones you can feel, right?) Well they feel bruised when I lean against anything hard or press on them. Also, in between the bones, you know how there are spaces in between each one? Well on those 2 spaces it feels like its just more bone, or it’s connected by something hard. Do you know what that could possibly be? It makes it very difficult for me to bend over and especially when I’m doing things like bathing my son when I’m finished, I can hardly get back up. It’s like its too painful to move and I have to very slowly stand back up. Anyways thank you for these excersises and thank you in advance!

    • I forgot to mention that back in 2013 when I was 25 I had another child and I had an epidural then too but the man who did it kept messing it up and he had to redo it about 5-6 times. I know that affected me because the next day I was so sore in the exact spot I hurt in now. I’m just curious as to what it might be called or what I can do for relief. Thanks again ?

    • Hey Ana,

      It sounds like you have issues with a structure in the centre of your back.

      This is usually something like a joint, disc or nerve issue. These can make it difficult to bend your back and can make it quite tender to touch.

      Is your pain in the thoracic or lumbar spine? If it is in the lower back (which is where they would have done the epidural injection), you will benefit more from lumbar spine exercises.


      • Ok, so I must be confusing. Starting in the area where they did the epidural and probably down to my tail bone is where it hurts when I bend over and stay stuck in a position. Also, when I lie on my back on the floor or hard surfaces, it feels like I’m going to become unattached… I don’t really know how else to explain that other than its pretty painful. Now in the middle of my back, that’s where it feels bruised so that would not be the epidural site correct? I’m not sure why I was thinking that’s where they did it but now that I’m really thinking about it, its a different pain in the actual area they had done the epidural. I think my back is just so messed up and I’m always trying to self diagnose that I must have mixed up the epidural spot. But the pain I was initially talking about is in the exact area of the picture at the top of the page. The part that feels bruised is in the middle of my back directly on my spine. Sorry for the confusion

  43. Hi Mark,

    I too suffer from forward posture and rounded shoulders, additionally i have a hunchback as well. it is safe to say that I need to start doing exercises. my question is, will it be okay if i do all the excersizes for all the bad postures every day or do i have to start with a certain part like the forward head before i start with the hunchback exercises?

    • Hey Mustafa,

      You can do all of them if you have the time.

      Realistically – focus on the exercises that you feel give you the most benefit.

      But out of the postures you mentioned, I would try to work on the hunchback posture first as it it difficult to fix rounded shoulders and a forward head posture if your back is that curved.

      Let me know if that answers your question.


  44. So glad I found this page, Mark :). I’ve had two rotator cuff injuries repaired – one big one in 2006, which required both open and keyhole surgery ( I had a 3cm full thickness tear, by then 6 years old…), and one smaller one in 2010 (I had big acromial spurs). So I’ve always had shoulder issues! Recently – I sit and write, full time, day in day out – I’ve had quite pronounced pain beneath my right shoulder blade, and I know it must be the hunching and poor posture, exacerbated by my general tendency… and it’s been great to find your exercises, coupled with your really good knowledge. I’ve just been going through them while half-watching The Chase. Feeling so much better already! Pain still there, but I feel stretched out and generally much looser. Will now do them religiously; not just when my back howls in pain! Thank you!

    • Hi Lynne,

      Thanks for letting me know that your pain is feeling much better with the exercises.

      Have you checked out my post on Shoulder blade pain? Check it out here if you haven’t already.

      I think that will help you out heaps!


  45. hey i was lookg for some exercises to me strengthen my thoracic region but i have
    Osteophyte in t2. and i feel alot of pain in that region almost all intire day, so what of these exercises i can do to remove that pain that i feel in my back?

    • Hi Marccos,

      The T1/2 region is often regarded as a lower neck joint.

      So – although thoracic exercises will definitely help you out with your pain, you would need to focus on stretching your neck too.

      For an extensive list of neck exercises, try this post out.

      It is common to get osteophytes at T2 if you have something called Dowager’s hump. Check out this post for more info on that.


  46. Hi! I love this page.. is there by any chance you can email me regarding the thoracic spine? I am a DPT student looking for effective exercises for T4 syndrome.


  47. My back has been cracking a lot lately at work. I think it is because of my office jobs. I am going to try your stretches for the thoracic vertebrae. Hopefully, I can find some help that way! Thanks!

  48. hi Mark, thank you for the information shared. I have an issue with my spine and ribs. Few years ago, I was diagnosed with pleural fibrosis on my right chest wall resulting in crowding of ribs, curving my spine towards my right and drooping down the shoulder. this has also limited my lung functionality. Few weeks ago, pleural mass was successfully removed and few crowded ribs were released and lung functionality retained to its normal working condition, but few ribs did not release especially the 4 upper ribs and the spine did not retain to its normal. I would be very much delighted to know any corrective exercises to address this issue.

    • Hi Saikumar,

      The best exercises to releases your crowded ribs is to do the intercostal stretch and translations. (both of which are mentioned above in the post).

      As you are doing these stretches, try to take deep breaths in and imagine the area expanding the area where it is tight.

      You may also benefit from doing side planks on your Left side to help strengthen your muscles to help open up your right side.


  49. In side bends like number 16 I find that I frequently struggle to get a real stretch out of it because there doesn’t seem to be much space between the top of my hip bones and the bottom of my ribcage. It feels like I’m pinching the contracted side long before I feel any stretch in the elongated side. Any suggestions on how I could change my form to adjust for this?

    • Hi Lauren,

      It sounds like you may be hyper extended throughout your spine. Do you have an anterior pelvic tilt?

      If so, it is common to feel squashed/pinched/compression on the contracted side when you do a side bend.


      Before doing the exercise:

      1) You can try contracting your glutes to bring your pelvis into a more neutral position.
      2) Engage your core/abs to bring your lower chest down.
      3) BOTH at the same time.

      Let me know if this doesn’t make sense.


  50. Hey Mark, thanks for posting these. Been suffering from a back injury for 5+ years and i have never committed myself to these stretches enough to see any improvement. But I will definitely try. The visuals are very helpful but I was wondering if you had any videos doing these types of stretches? Sometimes I dont feel 100% positive I am doing it correctly and the visual is enhanced especially with video. Either way, thanks for posting this. Blessings

    • Hey Mike,

      Thanks for visiting the website.

      I 100% agree with you that videos of the stretches will make it clearer to see how to do the exercise properly.

      I don’t have any at the moment, but can you tell me which stretch in particular you are having difficulty with?



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