Tuesday, July 28, 2015

An Easy Way to Resolve Mid Back Pain

This is not another boring blog post!

Thank you in advance for choosing to read this blog post. I must begin by apologizing for the past 6 months of this blog. I have taken some time to reflect recently, and let's face it...the first 6 months of blog entries were down-right boring. Of course, being a Certified Muscle Activation Techniques Specialist and PT, I totally geek out over all of the ins and outs of muscles and their functions, but I do realize that most of you are not with me on this. That is ok! My intention was to educate, but I have decided to educate you in a much more practical, useful and enjoyable way for the second half of the year! Are you still with me? Good! 

I have been personally struggling with something recently, and I have seen many clients for this same issue over the past 16 years of PT practice. Luckily, I have stumbled upon something helpful in finding some relief. My problem for the past 4 years or so has been some chronic mid back pain. I have a client who refers to her similar pain as "Kitchen Back" as she often feels this when working around her kitchen. You may be familiar with this too. Have you ever experienced pain or weakness in the mid back and all of a sudden your shoulders are scrunched up toward your ears? Well, if you too are familiar with this feeling or have pain in your neck or shoulders, you will appreciate learning the exercises below. 

I'd like to introduce you this month to the wonders of the Rhomboid muscle. This is the part of the blog where I would usually spout off the origins and insertions (snooze....) but I believe Wikipedia does this well, so here is a link to what they have to say about good old Rhomboid Major: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhomboid_major_muscle

For those of you who like pictures, here it is highlighted in red below:

The Rhomboid muscles help to keep our shoulder blades against our ribcage to allow our arms to function throughout full range of motion with a stable base.  As we reach forward to lift or grab something, the Rhomboids help to keep our shoulder blades stable and connected to our "core," so our other shoulder muscles are free to intricately move the arm around through space. Try squeezing your shoulder blades together behind your back. That will get your Rhomboids shortening, or contracting. Reaching your arm across your chest will bring this muscle into an elongated position. 

As I was seated in my desk chair typing this post, I came upon an easy way to target this muscle and resolve some of the back pain I have been experiencing. In doing the following exercise, I could feel circulation flowing through this area that has felt restricted and tight for years now. Let me know about your experience.  

Active Movement Exercise:
1) Sitting up straight in a desk chair with arm rests, place your straight arms against the outside of the arm rests with your palms facing the chair. Gently press your arms into the arm rests and hold for a count of 10 seconds. Rest and relax for 5 seconds. Repeat 5-10 times. 

2) Now do the same as above with your palms facing away from the arm rests, with the chest open, and the upper arm bones in an outwardly rotated position. Gently press your arms into the arm rests and hold for a count of 10 seconds. Rest and relax for 5 seconds. Repeat 5-10 times.

Are you curious about other exercises that can target this area? If you are a gym member, the Seated Row machine and Lat Pull down machine will do the trick. At home, you can perform Plank exercises, Push Ups or you can perform doorway Rows with some exercise tubing or band. 

Only 5 months left of the Muscle of the Month Blog! Let me know if you prefer this format over previous posts. Also, I'd love to hear from you regarding any questions you may have, or issues you have been experiencing and I would be happy to include some helpful hints about the muscles that may be involved in up-coming posts. 

Move well my friends!