Massage & Bodywork

MAY | JUNE 2017

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lordosis fl attened. This trunk- and hip-fl exed fetal position opens the posterior compartment, allowing the thinner disc endplates to suck in water to nourish the disc. The downside to this type of disc design is the increased risk of disc herniation due to lack of posterior fi ber integrity. Still, there's hope for damaged discs. A 2017 study found that conservative care fosters the drawing in of some disc bulges and may help relieve sciatic nerve root compression. 3 Gentle, pain-free hyperextension exercises, such as the cobra yoga pose, are often used to relieve posterior nerve root compression by moving the nucleus anteriorly. However, I have experienced greater success performing fetal tractioning maneuvers and client-assisted stretches, such as the ones demonstrated in Images 4, 5, and 6. Delivered throughout a series of sessions, these lumbar-pumping maneuvers appear to increase fl uid absorption and aid in body height restoration. Recently, I've begun using an accurate measuring device to track client height during intake and again after several sessions. I fi nd this tracking routine acts as a novel stimulus that helps keep both the client and therapist engaged in the process. To enhance the therapeutic outcome, I encourage clients to perform a variety of movements on their own time, from swimming and mini-trampoline bouncing to tai chi and hiking. These playful activities, when combined with myoskeletal therapy, bring awareness to movement "blind spots" and help clients break nonoptimal movement patterns. SUMMARY In sports and recreation, a healthy antigravity musculofascial system transmits and releases stored elastic energy from the ground up through the individual spinal segments, causing them to spring open and hydrate the vertebral discs. To relieve protective muscle guarding, restore antigravity function, and bring some lift to the body, I've found success using therapeutic stretching and manual spinal tractioning in a controlled, comfortable manner. Corrective exercise also aids in reducing protective muscle guarding and restoring body height as water and nutrients are pumped into injured and spasmodic muscles, ligaments, and intervertebral discs. Not only will your low back benefi t, but your golf swing also will, along with your ability to walk, run, climb, lift your children, and simply stand tall. Notes 1. J. P. Urban and S. Roberts, "Degeneration of the Intervertebral Disc," Arthritis Research & Therapy 5, no. 3 (2003): 120–30. The client grasps the top of the therapy table. The therapist's left hand snakes behind his back to secure the client's right hip while his right forearm hooks the lateral fascia. The client is asked to pull down on the therapy table against the therapist's resistance to a count of fi ve, then relax. To decompress discs and stimulate antigravity muscles, the therapist's forearm lifts the thorax while his left hand resists. Repeat. 3 4 5 6 The annulus resembles a radial tire encapsulating the (hubcap) nucleus. Image adapted from Kinesiology of the Musculoskeletal System by Donald Neumann (Mosby, 2010). To aid in disc imbibement, the client pulls their knees to their chest and tucks their chin. The therapist's left hand gently rocks the client so the therapist's right hand can come under the sacrum. The client is asked to perform slow pelvic tilts to hydrate discs. The client grasps the top of the therapy table. The therapist's soft palms meet on the lateral rib cage and hook the fascia. The client pulls down on the therapy table against the therapist's resistance to a count of fi ve, then relaxes. The therapist lifts the thorax to decompress the vertebral discs. Repeat. Nucleus pulposus Annulus fi brosis 2. J. P. Urban, S. Smith, and J. C. Fairbank, "Nutrition of the Intervertebral Disc," Spine 29, no. 23 (December 2004): 2700–9. 3. I. Altun and K. Z. Yüksel, "Lumbar Herniated Disc: Spontaneous Regression," Korean Journal of Pain 30, no. 1 (January 2017): 44–50. Erik Dalton, PhD, is the executive director of the Freedom from Pain Institute. Educated in massage, osteopathy, and Rolfi ng, Dalton has maintained a practice in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, for more than three decades. For more information, visit www.erikdalton.com. 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 . 91

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