I was talking to a client today who has an accentuated kyphotic curve in her thoracic spine and forward head syndrome. She asked why I was not working in her upper back between her shoulder blade and her spine. I explained that because her ribcage was pushing posterior and moving her scapulas into abduction, the muscle she was pointing to (rhomboids) was already elongated and weakened. I told that by working it directly I was likely to make her pain worse, but by working on the outside (lateral border) of her shoulder blade, her outer shoulder, and her chest, the shoulder blade could hopefully move back toward neutral and the pain in rhomboids would subside.
Next, we began to talk about her neck as part of the pattern. She said, “I always love it when massage therapists put pressure right up in here,” and pointed to her sub-occipital area. I asked if it alleviated her pain, and she told me, “momentarily.” I told her that when we work her neck in her next session, I will save that area for last, only working on it after I release her first ribs and work the front of her neck.
When she asked me why, I explained that there is a muscle in the front of the neck, longus capitis, that attaches to the bottom of the head. There is one of these muscles on each side, and if one is tighter than the other it will pull the head toward that side. This results in the head being crooked on the neck and causes instant tension in the sub-occipital muscles. I told her we could more than momentary relief if we worked on other areas as well. She is excited about our next session!
I will be teaching SMRT for the Neck and Head in Coeur d’Alene, ID on May 16 & 17, and in Watford City, ND on June 13 & 14. For more information or to register, https://efullcircle.com/class-schedule/