Rigo’s Remedy for taming tension in your upper back

Hi, everyone. My name's Rigo. I am a certified massage therapist and I am happy to be a new addition to ParkView’s healthcare team. I've been here for just three months now and in this time, I've become aware of certain things about the patients who come here and who I’ve had the privilige of working on. One of these, is that they seem to have a deeper understanding than most of how important it is to manage their health with self care and more "natural" methodologies. And they love it, of course, when their bodies function well and feel great as a result. And, as a professional, I'm glad to be here for them and to help assess and take care of their physical issues as they arise. There are always times, however, when you're at home or away, and in need of a little 'self-applied' therapy for something that you might "tweak" or an ache. So, I’d like to offer some simple but effective “tricks of the trade" to help relieve stress, stiffness and pain at home. Firstly, I recommend that you use the following:

  1. A space on the floor to lie down on, using maybe a yoga mat if you have one, or a blanket.
  2. A ball (or two) such as a tennis ball, rolling ball, hand ball, racquet ball, etc (not too soft).
  3. A yoga block or something similar in size such as a large book or two, pan, or box.
  4. Maybe some nice music in the background for relaxation.
  5. Dimmed lighting or closed curtains for relaxation as well.
  6. And be sure to not be hungry or full, just somewhere in between.

Now, just FYI, your upper back has major muscles on either side like the letter “T.” The vertical line represents your spine, going up and down and the horizontal line represents your shoulders, right and left.  Except for the bony center of the spine and the bony parts of the shoulders and shoulder blades, it's largely muscle, and it's muscle that frequently gathers tension due, simply, to the physical motions required by living in a "muscle-body" (not to mention, stress) The upper back is also affected by both arm and neck movements as well. So, I'd like to share with you a technique I'ved learned that focusses on this area to help alleviate this tension whenever you might experience it;

The idea, generally, is to use body-weight pressure on a certain point on the body (and, in this case using a ball or two) by doing the following;

  1. Lie down flat on your back on the floor (and mat), keeping your knees bent (to support your lower back) with feet flat on the floor .
  2. While on your back, gently place the balls under your back between your spine and shoulder blades. Adjust them until they 'feel' just right. 
  3. Then just lie there on the balls for about two minutes while slowly taking nice and long, but gentle, deep breaths.
  4. Following that, and when you feel ready, with both hands clasped together behind your head, gently lift your head up, bringing your chin to your chest.
  5. Still breathing gently and slowly, what this does is create a deep "pin and stretch" effect, allowing for a deeper tension release.
  6. As shown in the diagram below, this technique can be performed on three different parts of the upper back.
  7. Repeat on each point up to three times.  Happy Healing, and Happy Holidays too!  RIGO




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