This TikTok By A Physical Therapist Melted My Upper Back Knot In Less Than A Minute
·4 min read
As someone who sits all day (and who cannot sit in a chair like a normal person), I typically have more knots in my shoulders and neck than a macrame tutorial. So when I came across a viral TikTok from Dr. Susie Spirlock PT, DPT, PPCS showing a quick exercise for relieving upper-back pain, I was instantly intrigued.
Note: If you have injuries or other conditions, consult with a physician before starting a new movement routine.
In the video, Dr. Spirlock (aka @dr.susie.squats) demonstrates a thoracic rotation on her hands and knees with one hand behind her head. She starts by tapping her elbow to the floor next to her hand.
I started with eight medium-slow reps on each side, and I was shocked by how much lighter and looser my shoulders felt right away. I especially loved the part of the move where my elbow points up to the ceiling, drawing the shoulder blades together and opening the chest. I tend to hunch forward, and this move feels like it's really counteracting that habit.
I was amazed at how this 30-second move melted the knot between my shoulder blades in a way that stretching, heat, ice, and massage never have. So I reached out to Dr. Spirlock to learn more about relieving pain and how to prevent it in the first place.
Dr. Spirlock says, unsurprisingly, that sitting can do a real number on your spine's flexibility. "Our spines were literally designed to move. When they don’t get the movement they want, spines can become stiff."
And she says that while stretching can be helpful, it's often not really the answer to our back pain woes. "Static stretching has a time and place, but when you’ve been sitting in a static position for a long period of time, the last thing you need is MORE static positions."
"Plus, active movements increase blood flow to the surrounding joints and muscles since the muscles have to actively contract to make that movement happen."
Interested in preventing aches and pains from sitting all day? Dr. Spirlock says so-called perfect posture is NOT the answer. "We have long been taught that slouching is ‘bad’ and sitting erect is ‘good.’ But, there is no strong evidence showing that avoiding ‘bad’ postures prevents back or neck pain."
She says that instead of worrying about posture, we should focus on finding comfortable ways to sit that feel relaxing to us and try to change positions every 30 minutes.
Finally, Dr. Spirlock says, "Getting to the end of the work day without pain is totally doable." Try adding a few of these tips or an exercise here and there, go slow, and find out what works in your body.