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Spine. What gymnastics for the thoracic spine should i choose?

By Editorial Team (2)
January 30, 2022

If you want to move your arm or leg, neck or hip, you can easily do it. But you can hardly order your thoracic spine to move. This is no surprise: we have already discussed that this is a quite immovable structure consisting of ribs, twelve vertebrae and many muscles and joints. The diaphragm is also firmly connected to thoracic spine; that is why it plays an active part in breathing. Also remember that muscles in the area of thoracic vertebrae are long bunches of fibers that are connected to a vertebra on one side and can be thrown over several neighboring vertebrae with the other one. 

That is why strengthening as well as relaxing of the thoracic spine muscle needs a very specific approach in the case of pain and spasms.

All people, especially those who are ill, can be convinced that it is necessary to do exercises for their spine. But it is extremely difficult to choose what YOUR back needs in contemporary world, where the number of fitness clubs exceeds amount of people who do exercises, where every second popular magazine gives advice on health and beauty.  

Mood, desire, and motivation all play special roles in doing exercises. We are self-confident and motivated when we make a promise on Friday to “Start doing gymnastics on Monday!” But then our natural tendencies towards procrastination and laziness gain the upper hand. At other times, when you have enough will-power, your pain intensifies or it shows up while you’re doing exercises in a fitness club or a medical center. This scares you. So you stop doing gymnastics for awhile and then never come back to it at all.

People who work in manual labor sometimes take another position about exercise.   They think exercise is unnecessary for them because of their everyday strenuous work. The trouble with this is that their joints and their spine receive continuous, repetitive loads. Cushioning and protective cartilages and intervertebral discs “wear out” and get old because of this. At the same time, the right amount of load, which will nourish skeleton joints, muscles and cartilages, is absent. Day after day their spines and joints are getting all of the sour and none of the sweet!

My patients belong to a special group of people: they exercise. These patients had either spine or joint surgery or they came to me for medical care instead of choosing surgery. These people are the most positive toward exercise and at the same time the most careful, because they understand the importance of the  doctor’s commandment “Do no harm!” and they apply it to themselves. This statement is especially important for those who are too active and are ready to move heaven and earth in order to recover the good physical shape they were in earlier in life.  

If a person who has had surgery does the exercises recommended by popular magazines and the internet, the result is likely to be the opposite of what they were hoping for. This is because most of the offered programs require both good health and fairly good physical conditioning to begin with. And if the result is negative and pain or disease returns, the person who attempted the program will be disappointed in physical training forever. He will become a passive patient and stop struggling for his health. And, of course, his disease will grow progressively worse and recur quickly. Such people have to remember that a medicine can be a poison. Everything depends on a dose. Like other remedies, this medicine has indications, contraindications, and side effects.  This is very true regarding physical exercise. It can be either a medicine or a poison to our bones, cartilages, ligaments, and muscles! That is why, when choosing exercise program, you have to clearly understand the goal of the training, what problems might occur and how you can avoid those problems.

You might not be able to do the same exercise routine as a 19-year-old lifeguard, but unless you’ve stopped breathing, you can do something! Don’t become a passive patient. Understand where you are, who you are and what you want to achieve. What you now see as a struggle, will soon be your passion.

It is especially important to take into account age-related changes that occur in the spine and joints.  Collagen in the ligaments, muscles, and cartilages gets older, and it becomes less stretchable. The amount of elastin fibers in connective tissue also decreases.   As a result, elderly people’s ligaments and tendons are more vulnerable to injuries and ruptures. In doing gymnastics you have to take these factors into account.  Just think how many people complain that everything in their bodies “wears out” or “breaks down” after forty years. A person at this stage of life begins to “feel” his age. He suffers from aches and pains, first in one place, then somewhere else. The reason for this is ageing and degeneration of connective tissue. It changes its structure and the properties of its collagen fibers are altered.

Physical training can and must intertwine with your day to day routine. Office gymnastics, gymnastics for tourists and drivers, gymnastics during work or while at rest will let you maintain the perfect shape over the course of the whole day, working or not.

ISOMETRIC POSITION-STATIC GYMNASTICS fully satisfies all of these various requirements, needs, and conditions.  

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