The Sphinx Stretch
This upper back mobilization can be complemented with neck stretching, upper back stretching, and other mobilizations such as the cat-cow. The sphinx mobilization is very similar to the cat-cow lumbar mobilization, but it targets upper back stiffness (thoracic spine) and neck stiffness (cervical spine). It is great for helping with poor posture and to fix neck pain.
Start on the floor in a position on your hands and knees. In the sphinx position, your hands will be on the ground directly in front of your knees so that your wrists are in contact with your knee cap. Drop your buttock to your heels. Start the mobilization by slowly arching your upper back up, similar to the “cat” movement in cat-cow.
While you arch your back, push the ground with the outside part of your palms and feel your shoulder blade muscles contract, while your shoulder blades slide laterally along your back. Retract your chin so that you are looking at your knees. Most of the movement is supposed to come from your upper back and low neck. This is the first half of the mobilization (as demonstrated by the picture on the right).
The second half of the mobilization starts by trying to push your sternum towards the ground; this is a ‘cue’, you’re not actually going near the floor. The cue is trying to force you to get as much mobilization from the upper back as possible. As you slowly bend through your upper back, start to look upwards in your neck, while keeping it relatively straight. When at full extension, hold this pose for 5 seconds and repeat the first half.
Do this mobilization 10 times in a row, take a break, do some upper back stretches, and repeat the mobilization again.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the clinic for consultation.
Have a great day,
Dr. Lucas Tisshaw
Vancouver Chiropractor and ART Provider