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Craniosacral Therapy
The Guidelines for Lower Back Pain

Pain Between The Shoulders

Pain between the shoulders has become a commonplace occurrence in modern society. Because this condition is do readily aggravated by stress, many people mistakenly think that stress is the cause. However, clinical studies have shown a strong correlation with pain between the shoulders and a certain type of misalignment of the vertebrae and ribs.

When gradual, it begins with tension, progresses to a dull, nagging ache, and eventually may develop into a sharp, stabbing pain between the shoulders. When sudden, it may advance immediately to the latter stages.

The actions that most strongly contribute to this condition are raising your head and/or pulling your shoulders back.

You can demonstrate this principle by placing your hand on your own or someone else's upper back. Have that person bend forward and raise his head. You will feel the vertebrae move forward (anterior). When this happens on a consistent basis, the muscles and other tissues adapt to this forward position. Eventually, a slight saucer-shaped depression, involving several vertebrae, may develop along the spine. Although they are within their normal range of motion, they remain at the forward end or that range when they should be able to move back to a neutral position. Pressure on these vertebrae will cause pain.

This condition is called Anterior Thoracic Vertebrae (ATV).

Anterior: forward displacement
Thoracic: of the area of the trunk with ribs
Vertebrae: involving the bones of the spine

GRADUAL ONSET: Repetitive Use Syndrome
As we become aware of the hazards of repetitive use injuries such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Tennis Elbow, and Runner's Knee, we acknowledge that there are some activities which may be harmful when overdone. Repetitive raising of the head or shoulders may eventually lead to ATV. People who suffer from this condition may include :

  • those who do overhead work
  • those who sit at a desk
  • drivers
  • mechanics
  • hairstylists
  • housekeepers
  • typists
  • therapists
  • construction workers
  • anyone who raises his/her head or shoulders regularly

In cases of trauma, such as whiplash type injuries, ATV may occur suddenly. At impact, the sudden backward movement of the head transmits a corresponding forward force into the upper back. Often, the vertebrae and soft tissues are compressed to the point that they may remain in that forward position to a degree depending on the speed and force of the whiplash. Once the condition if formed, your daily activities may make recovery difficult.

In their normal position, the thoracic vertebrae and ribs fit and function well together. As they are forced forward along with the vertebrae, the ribs come closer together, compressing the muscles, nerves, and other soft tissues.

As this compression progresses, a feeling of stress develops. The muscles tighten and maintain the forward position, to a degree, even when the head and/or shoulders are returned to their normal position.

As the ribs and vertebrae move forward, they come closer together and the space between them narrows. As the ribs all try to fit into a smaller and tighter space, one or more ribs become displaced; this causes rotation of the attached vertebrae and increases irritation to the nerves. Pain ensues. At the same time, the irritated nerves increase spasm, which increases lactic acid and other cellular wastes. A destructive cycle develops as the waste products further irritate the nerves.

Thoratrac has been developed to relieve the anterior thoracic condition by using the rib cage as a spring. Pressure on the chest is relayed through the ribs to the vertebrae. This spring-like action slowly and gently tractions the individual rib spaces, decompresses the tissues, released the muscles, and returns the thoracic curve to its normal position. The destructive cycle is reversed and healing can take place. With Thoratrac, we now have a means to exercise self-help at home and keep this chronic syndrome under control.

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