A new client came to me the other day with mid back pain. This has been an ongoing problem for her. She’s an athlete: 1/2 marathons, full marathons, long distance hiking and cycling, rowing. She’s a competitor. This pain doesn’t keep her from he sports, but it’s been a constant companion for a couple of years now.
Once she was on the table, I explored her paraspinal muscles, and all the muscles around her scapulae, shoulder girdle, and neck. I was palpating for tension, knots, applying gentle pressure and stretching the muscles. I expected to find some nasty trigger points in these areas. (Trigger points are spots of tension and tenderness that frequently cause pain or unusual sensations elsewhere in the body.) Nothing. So I started working my way out from her mid (thoracic) spine, following the routes of the intercostal spaces. These small spaces between the ribs house a multitude of small muscles. Bingo. There was her pain. Massage would give her relief. She exhaled, and began to relax.
The relaxation, relief, and healing that massage provides is what I love about my work. But for this client to really heal, I knew that we needed to discover why she was having this on-going pain. Perhaps one massage would alleviate the issue, but it’s likely that the problem was deep-seated and would need further attention. So after lengthy discussion, it occurred to me to ask her about support. Support in the form of a sports bra. She supposed she wore a decent sports bra, but added that she had trouble finding one that fit properly as they don’t really make them in larger sizes. Again, Bingo. Improper support can cause a multitude of back issues. I urged her to get on-line and find a specialty shop that would cater to her size. It would be an investment in her health. She promised to do that, and to keep me updated.