As part of our 6 week overhead mobility series, Justin introduces us to exercises to improve our stability utilizing the muscles in our mid-back. These muscles help us to maintain posture and stability. At Arise Physical Therapy, we see a lot of patients with mid-back issues and have found many similarities in the lifestyle of these patients. In this post, we will identify 2 of the muscles in our mid-back, some of the common issues for mid-back discomfort and exercises to help strengthen these muscles and improve our overhead mobility and stability.
The Big Two
During our Overhead Mobility series, you may have heard Justin talk about using our “mid-scapula” or “rhomboids”. Don’t worry, these are the same thing and are located between the shoulder blades. These muscles play an important role in maintaining good posture and preventing shoulder injuries.
Your “Traps” or “Trapezius” is a large muscle that covers your upper back and neck. Your Traps aren’t there just to look great but to help raise and lower your shoulders and move your head. The proper function of this muscle is essential for maintaining good posture and preventing pain and injury.
You’ve probably noticed that strengthening these muscles have the same outcome. That’s because they work in tandem to support the spine, stabilize the upper body, and facilitate movement of the shoulders and neck.
Why is your mid-back always sore
Today, we tend to live a more sedentary lifestyle. Many white-collar professionals find themselves slouched over their computer for 7+ hours per day. Blue-collar workers find themselves sofa’d in front of the T.V. at the end of a long day. Sitting all day and continued bad posture can lead to stiffness and pain in the upper/mid-back and shoulders. This pain and stiffness means that many of us will find it difficult to use our mid-back muscles which in turn means they become weaker. This can lead to even poorer posture, further reduced stability, and more increased risk of injury.
What can we do about it?
In week 2 of our Overhead Mobility series, you can find some exercises that can help with stabilizing and strengthening your mid-back muscles. Two of these exercises will have you on the floor stomach down, chest and head up with your arms out to the side or in a prone-y position. Lifting your arms in either of these positions and squeezing your mid-back will have you fatigued rather quickly. But when you feel that fatigue, you can be sure you are strengthening those important mid-back muscles. If you’re more comfortable with the gym you can also perform exercises such as rows, pull-ups, and scapular retractions. Just ensure that you are squeezing those shoulders together.
Let’s wrap it up
The mid-back muscles are an essential part of the human musculoskeletal system. These muscles work together to support the spine, stabilize the upper body, and facilitate movement of the shoulders and neck. Proper posture, regular exercise, and avoiding prolonged periods of sitting or standing can help prevent issues with the mid-back muscles and promote a healthy, pain-free back.
Below is week 2 of our overhead mobility series below. Justin will introduce you to 3 exercises to help with stability and mobility, helping you to strengthening those important mid-back muscles.