When you breathe in (inhale) your ribs expand to allow the flow of air. The ribs are connected to the back of the spine by thick cartilage joints. If these joints become rigid, movement becomes difficult. No matter how good your lung function is, the amount you can inhale will significantly reduce if your rib cage cannot fully expand. Regular chiropractic adjustments can improve this mobility and expansion. Any stretches that can ‘open up’ the rib cage also provide this benefit.
Here is one simple and easy stretch anyone can do to open your rib cage.
All you need is a foam roller but if you do not have one of those you can also fold up a towel or two as an alternative. If you want to invest in a foam roller, we do sell them in the practice.
Foam roller stretch for rib expansion
- Place the roller on a supportive surface with enough room for you to lie down.
- Lie back on the roller, feet flat on the floor with bent knees, and rest your arms out to the side focusing on opening your chest but also keeping your core engaged
- Hold this position for 1 min with your arms out making a T
- Then bring your arms up to a Y position and hold for 1 min
- Bend your elbows to a 90 degree at shoulder height as if you are creating the shape of a square and hold for 1 min
- While in each position focus on your breath. Taking deep breaths and expanding your chest with each inhale.
- To get off the roller roll to the right side sliding off the roller and slowly press yourself up to a seated position. Take some deep breaths while sitting and feel how much freer your chest can expand.
- Repeat up to three times a day. If you need to start at 30 secs each position and work up to one minute, then start there. The key is to start.