What a fantastic day in clinic yesterday. It was amazing to see how ingenious the body is at compensating in order to remain 100% dysfunctionally functional!
Yoga case history
One lady came in who kept getting pain in her lower back when ever she did a back bend in yoga. Watching her walk it was clear that one arm was subtly pulled up into the socket. As the arm swings forward it gets a chance to gently decompress at the shoulder while the opposite leg compresses as it makes contact with the floor. Stand up and try it for yourself It may only be subtle but if it doesn’t happen it plays havoc with all the muscles and joints in that sling system.
What was the history? It turns out she suffered with a frozen shoulder in the past on that side.
What predisposed the shoulder? My theory was reoccurring ankle sprains on the same side that interfered with this ‘flow motion’ (props to Mr Gary Ward).
Back bend and the superficial front line
When I asked the lady to lift her arms above her head as if preparing for the back bend, her arms were 10-15 degrees away from pointing straight up. The only way she could reach up was to arch her back to take up the slack. Now imagine bending back wards to take your arms down to the floor. That poor back was folding like a concertina and didn’t stand a chance.
So what was the solution? Some lovely hands on articulation and unwinding techniques for the shoulder, reintegration with that ankle and gapping of the shoulder in gait specific exercise and regression of the back bends until the whole front line of muscles and joints could share the movement in a beautiful smooth arc.
So was it the back’s fault that it was getting painful and ‘stiff’? Absolutely not. The back was saving the day and working for his buddies above and below him. It was calling out NOT to say come and give me a rub and a crack, but rather to say pay attention to how this body works around me as a whole unit.
Yogis are amazing movers who integrate mind body and spirit within their practice, however they are also some of the best compensators I have had the honour of working with. I look forward to sharing a few more case studies over the next couple of weeks.