Massage & Bodywork

SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2017

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A B M P m e m b e r s e a r n F R E E C E a t w w w. a b m p . c o m / c e b y r e a d i n g M a s s a g e & B o d y w o r k m a g a z i n e 55 This skeletal movement influences the surrounding muscle and connective tissue in one of two ways. Muscles will either be (1) lengthened, thus placing them at a mechanical disadvantage for their action, which eventually leads to weakening, or (2) shortened, thus giving them a mechanical advantage in their action, leading to increased tension and predisposing them to chronic-strain injuries. Although there are two paths, the end result of both is the same—chronic overload, reduced functionality, and pain. The upper cervical extensors will shorten and ramp up tension in response to the head's increase in weight to allow the eyes to remain fixed on the horizon. The upper neck will hyperextend, thereby lengthening the deep neck flexors and placing them at a mechanical disadvantage, which further diminishes the body's ability to resist gravity and allows the head to slip further into FHP. The scapular retractors will be pulled apart and weakened as the thoracic spine increases its kyphosis to attempt to counterbalance the increased weight of the head. Muscles of the chest, anterior shoulder, and arm will increase their tension as they become mechanically advantaged as a result of the decrease in their resting length. Moving further down the kinetic chain, the lumbar spine tends to hyperextend, contributing to an anterior pelvic tilt. The lumbar spine erectors and hip flexors become short and tight and the abdominals and glutes are pulled into lengthened positions and weakened—this is a classic example of Janda's lower-crossed syndrome. ADDRESSING DYSFUNCTION As a general rule, bodyworkers should avoid any techniques that lengthen, relax, or decrease the resting tension in muscle groups that have become mechanically disadvantaged as a result of the client's posture. Instead, techniques designed to lengthen and reduce the resting tone should be reserved for mechanically advantaged areas. For areas of the body that have increased their resting length, we would want to use closing techniques to help the body gain mechanical advantage, as well as adjunctive therapies designed to increase neurological activation and increase muscle tone, with the understanding that with enough time and repetition, the client can slow or even reverse the lengthening process taking place in those areas. Notes 1. Ocean Advocate, "Orca Dorsal Fin Controversy— Experts vs. SeaWorld," April 16, 2013, accessed July 2017, https://oceanadvocatefl.wordpress. com/2013/04/16/orca-dorsal-fin-controvery-experts- vs-seaworld; Wende Alexandra Evans, "'Flaccid' Fin Syndrome: Natural or Captive Phenomenon?," Nova Southeastern University (1996): 24. 2. Jennifer Kennedy, ThoughtCo., "Killer Whale Dorsal Fin Collapse," accessed July 2017, www.thoughtco. com/killer-whale-dorsal-fin-collapse-2291880. 3. Lindsey Bever, "'Text Neck' is Becoming an 'Epidemic' and Could Wreck Your Spine," The Washington Post, November 20, 2014, accessed July 2017, www.washingtonpost.com/ news/morning-mix/wp/2014/11/20/text-neck- is-becoming-an-epidemic-and-could-wreck- your-spine/?utm_term=.1b58302e2506. 4. A. I. Kapandji, The Physiology of the Joints: Vol. 3, 6th ed. (Churchill Livingstone, 2008). 5. Paul Comfort and Earle Abrahamson, Sports Rehabilitation and Injury Prevention (Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010): 313. Yoni Whitten, DC, is a native of San Diego, California. He has been studying wellness and human performance for over two decades. He holds a bachelor of science in kinesiology with a specialization in nutrition and health, and a doctorate of chiropractic. For more information on using the science of posture to improve your clinical outcomes, help more clients, and have more fun, go to www.posturescience.com. Contact Whitten at drwhitten@wellnessworkssd.com. heavily developed traps and complains of neck or upper-back pain that tends to be worse in the afternoon or evening and diminishes when they lie down at night. Very likely, this individual's tremendous trap development is the result of carrying around a head in FHP for years or decades. Upon palpation, you will detect increased overall tension, multiple "ropy" bands or "gristle," and trigger points with the muscle itself, as well as sensitivity to touch—even light touch will often elicit tenderness. Moving down the kinetic chain from the head and neck, we arrive at the thoracic spine. When a client's head has been pulled into FHP, their body's response is to increase the curvature of the thoracic spine. This bowing or hyperkyphosis of the spine in the opposite direction of the head translation is the body's attempt to counterbalance the significant increase in weight from the head being carried forward of its normal position. As with the alteration of the normal curvature in the neck, the increased curvature of the thoracic spine has significant consequences. As the upper back flexes to accommodate the weight increase at the head, the scapulae become disassociated from the spine, abduct from the midline, and move forward into a protracted position.

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