Your mid-back as a structure overall is built to be stiff and stable. This is because attaching to it are your ribs which are crucial for protecting your organs that are underneath it.
But a lot of people are in poor postures during the day and therefore have a rounded upper back. If the upper back is stiff then you will be unable to extend your back fully. Not being able to extend your upper back fully has knock-on implications for your neck, lower back and especially your shoulders. So, when trying to fix these issues it is important to not just look at the site of pain but try to fix the mobility in your upper back.
If a fire starts in your house and you running to the smoke alarm and taking out the batteries is similar to just focusing on the site of pain when you get an injury. Without looking at your upper back mobility you can miss the true cause of your problem and therefore not recover efficiently or perform optimally at a chosen sport. This is especially true for gym-goers and throwing athletes.
It is very common for people not to have enough mobility in the upper back and almost no one has enough. We recommend doing mobility work for this area every day.
How to help?
The cat camel is a great exercise to get movement back through your back. This is done by being on all 4’s. Then start by arching your back while taking a deep breath in. Then start to arch your back take a breathe out and tuck your rib cage down at the end of the movement. Then repeat. Aim for 15-20 slow repetitions.
The sphynx variation of the cat camel is great for really targeting your upper back, it is easy to hinge and get motion through the mid-back with just the cat camel so doing this variation might help you target your upper back better. Again start by arching your back and couple the movement with your breathing as this will help expand the rib cage (if your rib cage is not moving well, your upper back is not moving well) and make sure you’re doing the movement slow enough. Aim for 15-20 slow repetitions.
If you suffer from any shoulder issues or want to get more back mobility then contact the clinic today on 0578678904, direct message us on Facebook or book now.
Gaelic sports usually cause athletes to work their hips mainly in an externally rotated position due to the demands of the sports. This can cause a significant decrease in hip internal rotation as the body will compensate due to the increasing demand on the hips to open in one direction over the other.
Why does this matter?
This matters because having such imbalances will cause your body to create more compensatory patterns which can eventually lead to decreased performance or injury.
If you have limited hip internal rotation, then eventually the way you walk and move might be changed.
For example, you could start walking with your feet and toes pointing out more as your hips will not have the full movement to allow your foot to go back to a neutral position. The foot and ankle will then no longer be functioning in their optimal patterns and might start overpronating to allow you to keep walking undisturbed. The knee may also start picking up the slack for both the hip and ankle which could put more stress on the knees and the body as a whole. With every step, you are reinforcing these patterns which can eventually lead to pain or injuries.
So to make it simple, the most common injuries related to poor hip mobility are:
Low back pain
Hamstring and Groin strain
But this is not to say that your upper back may not be affected by this as well. It all depends on how you move. Take a squat for example, if your hip mobility is limited your body is going to find other ways to move through the position you are putting it through. We already went through the changes in the lower extremity when talking about walking. Now let’s talk about your back: if your hips can’t sit through the motion needed, your lower back might start rounding to allow you to go lower, and then your upper back might overextend to allow you to keep looking forward while squatting down.
Those are just examples, you understand by now it’s all about your own body patterns and whether your compensations are putting you more at risk for injury.
One good exercise to work on hip mobility is the 5 months hip & pelvis separation from Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilisation (DNS). This exercise helps your body work on hip and pelvic movements. Giving you more motion but also more control in those areas. It is important to work on both mobility and stability so that all increases in range of motions and overall movements still allow you proper control to avoid risk injuries.
During this exercise, make sure to keep pressure through the downward knee and foot, as well as the downward elbow throughout.
If you want more information or have any aches or pain, contact the clinic on 057-8678904 to see how we can help.