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using the inner corset to help curvature in the upper spine

nagle
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using the inner corset to help curvature in the upper spine
Here's a question for you: how can using the inner corset a lot help the rounding of the thoracic spine that I've got? My guess is more developed ab / lower back muscles ---> longer muscles ---> longer spine ---> less curvature. Is that right? Thanks!
Esther Gokhales Bild
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More developed inner corset muscles - longer erector spinae muscles - longer, less curved  lumbar spine. The curves higher up in the spine (thoracic and cervical) tend to reflect the lumbar curve - it also works the other way around. So straightening out the lumbar spine takes away some of the origin of the excessive thoracic curve. So the inner corset really works on the platform on top of which the thoracic spine sits, not directly on the thoracic spine. The other important origins of excessive thoracic curvature are bending poorly by curving the thoracic spine, letting the shoulders hang too far forward along the torso and having the head cantilever in front of the spine. All of these cause and reflect excessive thoracic curve - and you can break the cycle and improve the situation by working on any part of this cycle. As you develop increasing awareness of the relevant postural habits, it is a good idea to work on mobilizing the thoracic spine, which can get pretty rigid after years of being curved a certain way. Bodywork (massage / acupuncture / chiropractic) and mobilizing stretches and implements (e.g. foam roller, bolster, tennis balls, etc.) can be helpful at this stage.
nagle
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Thanks!
nagle
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Do you have any focused suggestions for the kind of bodywork or interventions I should pursue? My current plan is * I'm going to see a massage therapist who is quite good, and has taught me self-care techniques too. I am going to talk to her to learn and do some sessions to learn what I can about self-care (or partner care and bring one of my friends with me) for curvature in the upper spine. Is what I'm looking for here disc mobilization, release of tension of certain muscles ...? * I'm going to check out a chiro or two. I'm slighty wary because I've heard such hit and miss stories, but I have some good recommendations. Any thoughts on what to tell them what I go in? I can describe my problem, I can check if Sarah Penzel's diagnosis of being stiff necked, particularly at C1 and some at C2-3 are still problems for me, and I can see if they'll do self-care. Is there a particular kind of manipulation or strategy I want? (i.e., loosening muscles, mobilizing discs?) * You say tennis balls: again -- loosening muscles, mobilizing discs? * Any useful bodywork, massage, or general musculoskeletal resources? I've got the Triggerpoint Workbook by Clair Davies, which is quite good (and I recommend if you haven't seen it -- much more accessible than Travell and Simons work for the medical layperson, and possibly a good thing to recommend to clients.) * I'm seeing a acupuncturist once or twice a week, and this is going well, but doesn't feel like enough on its own. * I'm going to do a yoga practice daily with a friend for a week or two (I've practicing on my own a few times a week with a class once every two weeks. My internal awareness of my spine has gotten much better.) Any recommended poses? I know this is a long post -- let me know if you'd rather cover it in email or phone ... thanks Esther! On a side note, I just sat a 5-day solo sesshin, and ended it as my neck was getting slightly tight (I intended to go for 7 days.) This is such, such a difference from the last time I sat sesshin: 3 days in February that was just tremendously painful. It's something I wasn't physically capable of before I saw you -- another reason I am grateful for you and your work. Thank you! -Nagle
Esther Gokhales Bild
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Sounds like you've covered all the bases. Using a roller on the spine would be a good thing to add, especially since you like self-care. We can talk on the phone about it. I haven't come upon the notion of "disc mobilization" - joint mobilization (for synovial joints), spinal mobilization (for segments of the spine - and I think this is what you mean and this is what you want from your chiro) - discs mostly want to be left alone. Usually, the problem with discs is that they are mobilized too much. It's a good idea to loosen muscles alongside the spine mobilization - that will help the chiro make the adjustments, and help the adjustments hold. Tennis balls, massage, yoga, acupuncture - you're doing plenty. And general relaxation, increased awareness, the posture work (especially breathing in the back) should help the nervous system reset that also contributes to restructuring the area. Bravo!
gumba61
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There are some great pilates type exercises that can help mobilize areas of the spine. I am doing this myself and it's working wonders. You might need to get some individual help from someone who really knows what they are doing, though. The people at Center of Balance in Mountain View are good for this.
Jay Bell
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05/06/2010 - 2:54pm
Such an important topic here.  I apologize for digging out an old thread, but thoracic immobility is something I see in almost everything that comes to see me (soft tissue therapist).  On top of everything that has been listed, I wanted to share a link with some great thoracic mobilizing exercises.  I use these often and variations: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/how-to-improve-thoracic-spine-mobility/ The exercises are in part two of the writeup. I think it's important to understand that many low back problems are brought on by lack of thoracic and/or hip mobility.  The lumbar spine should be a stable structure...if the hips and/or thoracic spine are not mobile, the body creates that mobility in the lumbar spine, assigning a task to the lumbar vertebrae that it was not designed for.  Gray Cook has done some great work in explaining and writing on these problems based on Dr. Janda's research and rehabilitation work. Mike Boyle, a strength and conditioning coach in Boston, often says, "No one has enough thoracic mobility and everyone could use more."
bencrvr
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05/29/2010 - 6:23pm
Because of this post I got a foam roller and use it mainly for my thoracic like you said and it's an absolutely wonderful addition to the wellness mix. Thanks so much. Ben
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