Yesterday I had a wonderful session with a client who has been coming to me for almost 10 years. Several weeks ago, as she arrived for her massage, Susan told me that she believed she had pinched a nerve in her back. She was in a fair amount of pain in a very specific place in her back. That place turned out to be a small area between ribs four and five, on the right side, just lateral to the transverse processes of the corresponding vertebrae (i.e., T3 through T5). I assessed her back and found a fair amount of tension and immobility in the ribs. I chose to work on her back.
Yesterday she arrived and told me sheepishly that the work had only given her partial relief and only for two days. Sometimes it seems difficult for clients to tell you that a session did not alleviate their pain. Personally, I have no issue with this. Sometimes I make a choice that, while obvious, is simply wrong. I explained to her that the problem was more than likely in the front of her ribcage. She expressed a desire to have some neck and head work done, and I said, “Great, we can check out the front of your ribcage while you’re in that position.” I found her right side ribs 1 through 4 were anterior, while her right side ribs 5 through 9 were posterior. Where they diverged was where her pain was in the back. Releasing the intercostal muscles, mobilizing the ribs, and releasing serratus posterior superior gave her almost instant relief. She came out after the session surprised and happy. Susan told me she had been reluctant to tell me that the previous session had not worked, but was so glad she did because now she had absolutely no pain.
By invitation we will be teaching our SMRT: Shoulder, Axilla, Ribcage, & Upper Back course in three different locations this year. Please check out those courses at http://efullcircle.com/class-schedule/