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Upper back kyphotic with pain where back changes curvature.

mig
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Upper back kyphotic with pain where back changes curvature.
Hi from Sweden again!
I am not intending to bomb the forum, but maybe I am overexcited with my new book 

I have a problem apart from regular lower back problems, which I am fairly used to.

It is that my thoracic back has a slight kyphosis, and the point where it switches curvature is giving me problems. It is at approximately the same height as the solar plexus. Here my back tends to tense up (chiropractors and the like have had a field day with getting that part of the spine to move again).
And lately I sometimes feel as it hinders my breathing slightly, it's like a corset over my back.

For many years, for instance when I meditate, I feel the need to "crack" my upper back through pulling my shoulders back when for instance sitting meditating with a straight back for a time. This seems to happen even though I rotate my shoulders back and they effortlessly land back (as described in the book). I.e. I feel I have to pull them back even more momentarily to crack the spine...

Long text this... But the question is, what is my main focus to relieve this problem?

I am VERY thankful for any input!
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09/10/2008 - 8:36pm
There is a point in the thoracic spine (usually around T5) where the kyphosis of the spine is maximal. If your spinal curves are exaggerated (typically too lordotic in the lumbar and cervical regions and too kyphotic in the thoracic region), that puts a strain on the spinal tissues especially at the high point of the curve. Excessive curves tend to settle into ever-more curvy contours over time if you don't do anything about them. The good news is that you are addressing them. I know from your other post that you are stretchsitting and stretchlying already - good. You need to work on lengthening your entire spine first. Next you need to have as good a stack as possible (stacksitting and tallstanding) and focus on recovering the natural movement in the spine with every inhalation. That will massage the tissues around your spine, softening them and providing them with good circulation. The inner corset will be very useful. The way you bend may be the main culprit in why your thoracic curve is exaggerated and painful - hiphinging will take care of that. Even glidewalking is relevant to your problem - you want to land softly with every step instead of jarring what is already a sore place.

The urge to "crack" your back tells us that the tissues in that area don't appreciate being squashed together. The fact that it can crack says it is still mobile (not super-arthritic and fused or rigid). You don't want to rely on chiropractic adjustments indefinitely because you don't want the ligaments at that spinal level to get too loose further exacerbating your problem in the long run. Your little self-help measure should be fine in this regard and I'm sure your body appreciates the reset.

After you master all the techniques in 8 Steps I recommend a Skype session with one of our teachers - we'll show you an extra way you can keep that area mobile and long. It's too early now - you first want to get some good habits to ensure you don't misuse extra mobility in your thoracic spine and end up curving still more there.

Just so you know, I'm teaching the Gokhale Method Foundations course in London Jan 22-24 in case you can make it.

Good luck - I'm sure it will go well. Keep us posted on your progress.
MBE
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11/30/2009 - 4:40pm
It sounds like I have the same problem in the mid-back.  I love my new StretchCushion in the car, and am mostly able to "hang" my back on it.  But I can't seem to get it adjusted here at work.  Mid mid-back is aching and I can't get that relaxing stretching feeling.  Of course, I am sitting at a computer all day -- trying not to reach too far forward with my arms. 

Any thoughtful advice?
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By working on the low back, you will indirectly affect the mid- and upper back. It isn't easy to work there directly while sitting though. Stretchlying will address that region more directly. Also, yoga poses like modified child's pose - I will try to post a photo of this some time soon.

Glad you're enjoying the Stretchsit cushion - if it would help, email the office and they can send you an extension strap (these just came in and allow you to attach the cushion in more situations. It's also fine if it isn't attached though unless you are working with a slippery surface like leather.
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