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November 3, 2004

What Is Above, Is Below

It's not unusual during seasonal transitions to see clients because of cricks in their necks. Cricks come on quickly, are exquisitely tender, and restrict range of motion.

A regular client called with just such a complaint. The scalenes and sternocleidomastoid muscle on one side of the neck were tight like rope and painful even to the lightest touch. The first tool in my arsenal for a case like this is ice. That got things calmed down enough to allow me some deep tissue work in the area.

It is not unusual for neck pain to mimic problems in the low back. And though the client did not complain of any low back pain at the time of their appointment, palpation revealed quite a bit of tension and tenderness in the muscles on the same side of the neck as the crick. I softened the muscles of the low back and checked the client's neck in the supine position.

The scalenes had softened considerably, but sternocleidomastoid was still tight as a rope. Then I had a flash of insight: "what is above is the same as below. Check the psoas muscle." It is not unusual for the psoas to be tender--it rarely is worked and is typically not kept in optimal condition. This case was no different. Pain and tension also descended down into the adductor muscles of the leg--a common line found in the book Anatomy Trains. It would explain at least some of the low back pain and possibly help clear away some of the neck tension.

Our time ran out before I could clear away all of the tension in sternocleidomastoid, but I'm excited to see if the problem doesn't clear up on its own.

Posted by linda at November 3, 2004 7:07 PM

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