Thoracic Spine Mobility : climb at your highest level and pain-free
In order to climb at your highest level and pain-free, you must have adequate mobility throughout your body. This article speaks specifically to mobility in the thoracic spine. The thoracic spine is the group of spinal segments below your neck and above your low back.
Thoracic spine mobility is important for overall health for three reasons
- Reduces stress on your neck
- Reduces stress on the your back
- And reduces stress on your shoulder
By performing thoracic spine mobility exercises, you can reduce the stress on other areas of the body. And also decrease your risk for injury.
Imagine a chain curving naturally from point A to point B. When there is adequate mobility in each link, a smooth curve results. Now imagine that the links are stiff). When the chain bends from point A to point B, it is not able to curve smoothly.
Instead, the more mobile joints have to move more than normal. And they work harder to make up for the lack of mobility in other links. Now imagine that these chain links are segments of your spine. If one segment of your spine is stiff, then the mobility has to come from a different segment of the spine. This excessive motion can lead to wear and tear over time.
Belayer’s Neck and Low Back Discomfort : why Thoracic Spine Mobility is so important
While belaying, your entire spine needs to be mobile. So you can comfortably look upward. If the thoracic spine is not mobile and it does not extend back enough, the neck and low back have to work harder to make up for it. This may lead to discomfort.
When you raise arms overhead, the thoracic spine needs to extend back. If the thoracic spine is stiff or hunched forward, it increases the stress on the shoulders when you reach up for holds. Additionally, if your spine is stiff into rotation, then when you reach behind to stem in a dihedral, your shoulder has to move more than it should to make up for the lack of spinal rotation. This may also lead to shoulder discomfort.