Massage & Bodywork

MAY | JUNE 2016

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C h e c k o u t A B M P 's l a t e s t n e w s a n d b l o g p o s t s . Av a i l a b l e a t w w w. a b m p . c o m . 31 C h e c k o u t A B M P 's l a t e s t n e w s a n d b l o g p o s t s . Av a i l a b l e a t w w w. a b m p . c o m . 31 TABLE LESSONS best practices The Audience and the Orchestra Discovering the Body's Symphony By Douglas Nelson My new client, Ms. J., has been struggling with hip pain for several months. Observing her gait, I realized her stride length was restricted, leading me to wonder about arthritic changes in the joint. Those fears were answered when the radiology report showed loss of space, but minimal joint degeneration. "My doctor isn't sure what to do, as the joint looks better than my pain level refl ects," Ms. J. said. "The pain is really affecting my lifestyle, and I just don't know what to do anymore. My doctor thought coming to see you might be helpful. I know the fl exibility isn't good, but the hip is weak as well." "Show me how you know that," I replied. From a seated position, with her legs off the table, Ms. J. tried to hip-fl ex her right leg. It was clearly diffi cult, remarkably so compared to the left. "Let me try something," I said, while moving to the other side of the table. Placing my hands on her back, I slowly began to explore the multifi di and quadratus lumborum muscles. I examined them in minute detail, changing length tension relationships by altering fl exion, extension, and lateral fl exion movements of the lumbar spine. After releasing some exquisitely tender spots, I asked her to fl ex her hip again. She lifted her leg into much greater fl exion and with far less effort. "That's crazy," Ms. J. exclaimed. "That seems like a parlor trick or something." "No trick," I replied. "Just systems theory applied to anatomy. Lifting your leg is like pulling a drawbridge closed. The leg is the bridge, and the chain is the muscle, but you need a wall to act as the anchor. That wall is your lumbar spine. Since your spine is moveable, the wall is made stable by the muscular contraction of your lower back muscles. If those muscles are compromised, the brain acts as a protective mechanism and shuts down the movement. I treat your back, the wall seems stable, and the brain allows you to lift the leg. Cool, huh?" "Amazing," she agreed. "So, this is a strength issue?"

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