Middle back stretches
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I’m a Physical Therapist and These Are the 5 Middle Back Stretches I Recommend Every Day for a Healthy Spine

Our bodies are supported by the 33 vertebrae, supporting the muscles and stabilizing the spinal cord.

The cervical spine is supported by the first 7 bones in the neck. The middle 12 bones in the middle back are the thoracic spine. The last bones in the lower back make up the lumbar spine.

The middle back, or thoracic spine, is an area that rarely causes pain for most people.

In fact, there are very few studies that have examined middle back pain. This is because issues in this area are unusual, and they often resolve on their own.

But for the select few who suffer from intractable middle back pain, relief can be hard to come by.

For this reason, I have compiled my 5 favorite stretches for this region of the back.

Top 5 Middle Back Stretches for Daily Use

Briefly, I want to offer a quick word of caution for those experiencing middle back pain. Then we can get on to the stretches.

Middle back pain has been associated with certain visceral issues, such as heart disease. 

If you’re experiencing pain in this area, and it doesn’t seem to improve no matter what you do, you should schedule a visit with your physician. Heart and organ problems are never issues that should be taken lightly.

But, if you just have some muscular soreness in this area, here are the best stretches to keep your mid-back flexible and pain-free!

1. Seated Double Hamstring Stretch

Seated Double Hamstring Stretch
Image // Gymguider

At first glance, you may wonder why a hamstring stretch is included in a list of exercises for the mid back. Without getting too technical, this is because of a concept known as the “posterior chain”.

The posterior chain runs from the bottom of the toes, all the way up to the back of the head. 

When any part of this chain is tight, a person can experience pain in other areas along the path. Therefore, we need to keep the whole thing loose!

How to Perform:

  • Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you.
  • Bending your back and neck forward, reach your hands toward your toes or ankles.
  • Once you’ve reached the farthest point of stretch you can, hold for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 4 times per day, every day.

2. Seated Overhead Sidebend Stretch

Seated Overhead Sidebend Stretch

The first few times you try this stretch, you probably won’t be able to extend very far. That’s ok! It takes time to master an advanced stretch like this. But once you do, you’ll truly reach a new level of flexibility. 

How to Perform:

  • Begin in a seated position, with your left knee bent and your left foot pressed into the inner part of your right thigh.
  • Carefully, rotate your trunk to the left.
  • Then, reach your left hand overhead and sidebend toward your right foot.
  • Hold this stretched position for 30 seconds and repeat it 4 times on each side.
  • Complete this stretch every day, as described.

3. Happy Baby Stretch

Happy Baby Stretch
Image // virily.com

We can learn a lot from watching babies as they learn to move around the world. Early in a child’s life, they will often be seen to lie on their backs as they grab their feet with their hands.

This is the essence of the happy baby stretch. It works just as well for adults as it does for babies!

How to Perform:

  • Lie on your back.
  • Keeping your knees bent, flex your hips as far as you can.
  • At this point, you should aim to have your back flat on the floor with your knees resting on the floor on either side of your chest.
  • Now, grab your feet with your hands and gently pull your hips back even more.
  • You should feel a good, gentle stretch in your low back and buttocks.
  • Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and repeat it 4 times.
  • Complete this stretch every day.

4. Tree Pose

Tree Pose

This is a good stretch for the whole body, to be sure. However, this stretch also has an added benefit: it can improve your balance. 

How to Perform:

  • Stand on your right leg.
  • Place the sole of your left foot on the inside of your right thigh.
  • Next, bring your hands together, as if you are praying.
  • Reach your hands up to the sky and enjoy this super stretch throughout your back and shoulders.
  • Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 4 times on each leg.
  • Perform this move daily.

5. Reverse Triangle Pose

Reverse Triangle Pose

This stretch is one of the toughest on the list. It combines balance and flexibility into one, awesome pose. Be careful when you’re first trying this. Many first-timers to this stretch have lost their balance and fallen over!

How to Perform:

  • Start in standing, with your feet close together. 
  • Next, step your right leg forward a few inches.
  • Then, reach both of your arms straight out to the sides, so that you are making a “T” shape with your upper body.
  • Rotate your trunk to the right, while reaching your left hand forward.
  • Lastly, bend forward in this rotated position, placing your left hand on the ground on the outside of your right foot, if possible. 
  • Hold for 30 seconds, repeat 4 times per side.
  • Complete this stretch daily.

The Bottom Line On Middle Back Stretches

With just a few simple stretches, you can relieve many of the issues that affect the mid back. Try these moves out and see if they are helpful for you!

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