As is the case with any exercise, you may want to consult with your doctor, especially if you suffer from a disease.
The following information has been gathered and compiled over a period of years, through personal experience, while traveling, teaching classes that include T’ai Chi, Qi Gong, herbal information, martial arts and other health related subjects. The article also contains feedback from students and anecdotal information from friends and readers of my columns. The following are my opinions and deductions from those sources.
Pinched nerves in the middle, thoracic, area of the back can cause many problems including chronic fatigue. The human body is designed to be held vertical and erect. Slouching, slumping and rounded shoulders, require more energy than sitting, standing and walking with correct posture. Sitting at a computer contributes to poor posture and physical fatigue.
In the following exercise you need to stand with the heels about six inches from the wall. Your gaze is straight ahead, your chest is open, your chin is slightly tucked. Put the palms of your hands on the wall behind you without raising or lowering your shoulders. You should be standing vertical, erect and with good posture. Your arms are on a diagonal and your palms are on the wall about twelve inches away from your body. Next, push yourself forward and away from the wall until your chest opens and rises slightly. Breathe slowly in as you push away. When you’ve pushed yourself away from the wall, hold your breath for a count of five. Next, without jerking, release the pressure on your hands and begin breathing slowly out.
The more you practice, the further you will be able to push yourself away and the more your chest will rise. Do as many repetitions as feels comfortable to you. Keep track and try to do one or two more per week. In order to make any change, it’s necessary to occasionally get out of our comfort zone. The exercise, besides strengthening the arms and opening the chest, will help tone and strengthen the muscles in the middle of the back. Working at a computer is a pain in the back, the middle back, for me and the above helps alleviate the pain.
The following is an exercise that is used in many fitness programs to strengthen the lower back. It also helps improve balance, and overall muscle tone.
Get on your hands and knees. The neck is straight, do not tilt the head back, this puts pressure on the vertebrae in the neck. First, straighten the right arm out in front and parallel to the floor. At the same time raise and straighten the left leg and bring it parallel to the floor. Hold for five seconds and return to the starting position. Next, straighten the left arm and right leg, hold for five seconds and return to the starting position. Repeat as many times as feels comfortable to you. Start slow and work up. If you go too far in the beginning, you’ll lose your incentive to continue and everything that you’ve gained to that point will be lost.