Sunday, August 5, 2012

Why Does My Back Hurt?



In my experience I would say that the biggest factor in back pain is that your shoulders can rotate almost 360 degrees. There are a lot of moving parts in that motion. If anything gets caught or pulled tight it will start to pull on the back and rib cage. Add to that tightening of the jaw, front of the neck and pectorals and things get pretty locked down. If your hips pull on your back in the opposite direction of the shoulder, it can cause a tightening that can lead to major distress.

What happens if you have any or all of the above scenarios and you fall down...or reach for something...or sleep wrong? All of your muscles are attached to bones. In the upper body many of these are attached to the rib cage. When you are tight and your body is pulling in opposite directions even a simple sneeze can pull a rib out of its proper alignment.

This rib misalignment can cause sharp pain by itself but as long as the rib stays out of whack it will cause that part of the lymphatic system to back up and get stuck. This commonly results in a stiffening and pain in the neck that can't be resolved until the rib goes back into place.

If you have ever reached for something and felt a sharp pain followed by your back or neck "not feeling quite right" or all of a sudden just noticed a weird tightness in your arms or neck that wasn't there before, you may have pulled a rib out.

If you are loose enough, sometimes a rib will go back in on it's own in time or you may be able to get it to go back in with some stretching or yoga. On the other hand, I have had clients that I suspect have had a rib out for several years.

When you hear that you may have a rib out, you might naturally think a trip to the chiropractor is in order. If you go to the traditional bone cracker, odds are this issue won't resolve. What needs to happen first is a loosening up of all the major tethering points or muscle attachments pulling opposite directions.

Draining the lymph is useful in the loosening process because what is sure to accompany the tightness is a build up of lymph fluid which can make the area more sore and deep work quite painful.

It took me years to know to look for a misaligned rib. If you have back pain and suspect you may have a rib out it would be worth your time to find a massage therapist in your area with the experience to release the areas binding the rib. Once you find somebody, often simple stretching after the work is enough for the rib to move back into place. If not, setting a chiropractic appointment for after the massage session will greatly increase the success of realignment.

Although many chiropractors now employ massage therapists, in many cases either the therapist doesn't have the experience or the sessions are just too short to do more than get the fluid moving and to warm up the muscles.

If you are in the Salt Lake area feel free to contact me for more information. If I can't see you, I can make a reliable referral.

If you are not local and would like more information on how to find someone who has the experience to help, you are welcome to leave a comment or send me a private email and I will try to offer some useful suggestions.


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