• Correcting Cervical Issues

    Posted on June 9, 2017 by Amber McClincy in Anatomy, bodywork, Head & Neck, massage therapy, Spontaneous Muscle Release Technique.

    About 9 days ago I was shooting video for the streaming video service. My videographer mentioned that he was sorry he had been delayed but he had gotten a migraine. He said that he only began to get migraines about a year ago.

    If I’m honest here, I was hardly listening. When we are shooting video, I am in my head a lot continually three steps ahead of where we are, trying to make sure I know what I have to say and where we are going. My daughter was my demo. She asked him why he though he was getting migraines all of a sudden. He said he had fractured his second neck vertebrae twice.

    We finished the series we were shooting and I could not decide what we should do next. He rolled his neck around. I told him we should break for a few minutes to let me think and go upstairs to my office so I could work on his neck.

    Cervical Evaluation

    I began by evaluating his cervical vertebrae for position and mobility. His tissue was bound up at the posterior aspect of the right side of C2. C2 was also shifted to the left. I then felt for tension in the suboccipital area and deep in the upper anterior neck. The tension in the front of his neck was greater. This informed what I did next.

    I believed the issue was rectus capitis anterior. I checked the superior/inferior movement of the right transverse process of C2. It was superior, but in doing that I felt excess space on the inferior aspect of the transverse process, so I checked the superior/inferior movement of C3. It was inferior. It was also shifted to the right.

    Correcting Cervical Issues

    I placed one finger on the right transverse process of C2 and moved it to the left, superior on that right side, and then rotated it anterior (so the anterior aspect would move toward the occiput). I then placed another finger on the right transverse process of C3 and moved it inferior. Finally, with one finger on my left hand, I moved C3 to the right.

    It took about a minute to get to this point. I was still in my head wondering where we needed to go next with the videos. He said, “Whoa! Wow! Should that be affecting my vision?” I said, “Yeah, possibly.” A few seconds passed. He said, “That is absolutely the most amazing thing I have ever felt. It’s like my neck is melting.”

    I released the position, palpated the area again, and found greater mobility in both vertebrae, the spacing on both sides was more even, and the anterior/posterior suboccipital tension patterns were much more even. During this palpation, I noticed that his occipitomastoid suture on the right was shifted and tight. This pattern typically shows itself in posterior suboccipital tension and in a tightened SCM on the tightened side. I checked his right SCM. It was tight, adhered, and moved only anterior at the mastoid process.

    With my right hand I squeezed the temporal bone and the occiput on the right together. I then reached across with my left hand and pulled the upper fibers of SCM anterior. This was not quite right. I used my hand – without letting go of my hold – to move his head into slight left side rotation. His breathing changed. He body sank into the table.

    He said, “You know how many times I have seen you do this to people, but it looks like you are doing nothing. Now, feeling it, it’s like you are doing everything. Wow!” When I released I went back to his neck and felt the bound up tissue on the posterior right aspect of C2. It had diminished significantly. Now I could feel the leftover tension was in rectus capitis posterior major as it left the spinous process of C2 and headed toward the occiput.

    I put one finger on the spinous process of C2 and moved it to the right and toward the occiput. It needed more. I placed the superior muscle fibers, at the inferior nuchal line of the occiput, between two fingers and brought them together. Suddenly the muscle slacked. His breathing changed again. Ten seconds into this SMRT position, I felt C2 shift inferior and slightly anterior. I let go. When I repalpated there was no tension in the posterior tissue at the right transverse process of C2.

    SMRT works, even when the practitioner is distracted.

    He moved his neck around and said, “my neck doesn’t make any noise now!” To which I responded, “Based on this, I think we should go up from the hips and do the upper back.” We went back downstairs to continue the video shoot.

    I was still distracted! Even with the practitioner distracted, SMRT works wonders. Our advanced classes – advanced SMRT arm & hand and advanced SMRT head & neck – are for those that have already take the basic SMRT classes for these areas live or by video. You can learn to treat the head & neck effectively with these techniques. Register now here.