How to make your own spine mobiliser

by Trevor Aung Than on February 24, 2013

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I’ve been playing around with thoracic mobility drills lately and this homemade thoracic spine (T-spine) massage device really can’t be beat.  I first saw or read about this years ago done by Mike Boyle and some of you may have already seen this but it’s so important I want to repeat it here.  A lack of T-Spine mobility may be the biggest underlying cause of neck and shoulder pain/injury in all the clients I see – period.  If you’ve ever experienced neck pain or felt the nasty ache of a rotator cuff injury you should add this simple tool to your belt and be much better for it.  It’s so simple, will take you less than 5 minutes to make and costs less than 10 bucks.  What’s not to like?

What you will need

    • 2 tennis balls
    • strapping tape or electrical tape

Get to work!

Begin by taping the two balls together, then begin to cross tape them in an X-pattern until the tennis balls can’t be seen anymore. There’s not much more to this one folks! See the pics below.

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How to use the gizmo

Just lie down on your back and place the device behind your back. The crevasse made between the two tennis balls is for the central part of your spine, the spinous processes. Basically just perform little mini-crunches over the ball; stretch out both hands overhead with legs outstretched on the ground. See Mike Boyle in the video below:

T-Spine mobilisation

Keep moving the ball up towards your neck. Stop at any points where you may be sore or super stiff – it may take a little time to get used to the pressure. If you’re used to using a foam roller over your spine this is a nice variation.

Shoulder and neck pain is one of the most common things I will see in my clinic.  Rotator cuff tendonitis/bursitis can be a real tough injury to treat and often the shoulder pathology is the result of poor mobility elsewhere in the body, especially the T-Spine.  Similarly for neck pain.    Incorporate this little exercise into your workout routine for 5 minutes and you’ll be on your way to better shoulder and neck health.

Till next time, stay healthy!

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Susie Lau February 25, 2013 at 1:25 pm

Trevor I’m suffering from both shoulder and neck pain for months. Travelling from UB to Beijing with a roller as hand luggage!!! I’m going to try this tomorrow ! Thanks


Trevor Aung Than February 25, 2013 at 9:32 pm

Hi Susie,

Sorry to hear! Must be from sleeping in the yurt all those months :)
Hope it helps – PM if you need any more help!



ray March 15, 2013 at 10:12 pm

Trevor, you are a genius! As a fellow physio, I respect and love what you do for yourself and for the physio industry. Keep it up. ;)


Trevor Aung Than March 16, 2013 at 7:14 am

Thanks mate! Means a lot to me that you say that :)


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