“People often associate this feeling of a ‘knot’ as an area of tightness that needs to be stamped on, but for many of the people I see in my practice, it can actually indicate an area that is not stable, especially if stretched [and] massage hasn’t helped,” explains Dr. Clare. “If an area lacks stability or strength, the body will try to provide this false stability by ‘tightening’ things in the area — it’s protective in a way.” In other words, the more you try to stretch and massage the knot away, the worse it gets. To break that cycle, Dr. Clare to strengthen the center of the back, which will help reduce tightness and magically make the “knots” disappear.
So how do you build strength in your mid-back? Below is Dr. Clare us by adding the top move she recommends to your routine.
The number 1 move to get rid of the buttons in the center of the back
First, let’s see what causes these faux center back buttons. dr. Clare notes that repetitive movements, area injuries, and prolonged static poses (i.e. slouching or holding yourself upright for long periods) can all contribute to mid-back discomfort.
This exercise uses the scapula stabilizers, which provide stability through the shoulder blade. It also targets the rotator cuff, which supports the arm bone in the socket of the shoulder and keeps it stable during movement. And this move also helps improve thoracic mobility, which Dr. Clare refers to your mid-back mobility, or how much you can move by bending back and forth or twisting your mid-back.
Again, the goal is to strengthen the mid-back. “We’re trying to give the area some extra stability so the body isn’t reactively guarding,” says Dr. Clare. You will need a foam roller for this exercise. dr. Clare suggests a high-density 18-inch roller, which has a lot of versatility, but really, any roller will do the trick. Here’s how to do it:
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- Kneel on the floor.
- Place a foam roller horizontally in front of you.
- Place your forearms on the foam roller. Keep your palms open and facing each other, and your thumbs facing up.
- Apply light pressure to the foam roller with your forearms and gently roll your arms outward. Make sure the rest of your body stays in place, your back is flat, and your head is parallel to the floor and looking down. Only move your arms for this move.
- Once your arms are straight and fully extended in front of you, lift one arm 1-2 inches off the foam roller. Use your mid-back muscles and the back of your shoulder blade to do this. Keep your neck relaxed. Don’t pull your shoulders up into your ear.
- Place the forearm back on the roller and repeat with the other arm.
- Keep pressure on the foam roller and use your mid-back muscles to roll back to your starting point.
dr. Clare recommends doing 30 reps three or four times a week. As with most things, consistency is the key to getting results. In general, she says you should notice changes in functionality or discomfort after three to four weeks.
If kneeling is a problem, you can also do this movement standing up with the foam roller against a wall. dr. Clare says you can also lie flat on your stomach on the floor and run your hands across the floor in front of you, no foam roller needed.
Finally, Dr. Clare to listen to your body and see an expert if something doesn’t feel right. A sore mid back can also be pain coming from your neck (which is why working the mid back doesn’t help) or a result of nerve damage or other non-musculoskeletal conditions or diseases. Better to be sure – and safe – before proceeding.