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lumbar pain after hanging spine lengthening

Ste H
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lumbar pain after hanging spine lengthening

Hello.
First post here, hopefully doing this right!

I was trying some of the hanging spine lengthening movements that I found in this video - http://gokhalemethod.com/video/lengthening_spine

When hanging and lifting some of the weight off the ground, I don't feel my spine lengthening, unless I try to relax my back a bit. Then I feel it all lengthen in my lumbar area. (Should I be feeling it in the thoracic too? )
Anyway, when I put my weight back onto the ground and come out of the movement I get a really painful deep ache, I think it's in the muscle, just to the right of the lumbar, and it can be sore for a few days.
Is this likely that I am just doing something wrong, or that I have and underlying issue?

Any help is appreciated :)
Also, as I say, I am new to this website, is it okay to post posture pics on these forums for feedback?
Thanks in advance!

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09/05/2014 - 6:51am

Hello – The first thing that comes to mind here is that if it hurts, don’t do it!  We want to respect our body’s signals.  It may well be that you are not ready for as big a stretch as you have given yourself.

Before attempting a significant stretch, it’s a good idea to warm up.  You could walk or bike, or warm up the abdominal and deep back muscles with the Inner Corset described in Esther Gokhale's book 8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back.

Then go at this gradually - take your time!  Following the order of the chapters in the book is a healthy way to build up to the more intense stretches that you saw in the video. Starting with Stretchsitting and Stretchlying in chapters 1 and 2 will begin to relax and lengthen the back muscles.  In later chapters, you’ll get some practice with the rib anchor muscles to avoid swaying, and you’ll gain more control over all your deeper abdominal and back muscles. 

Once you’re ready to start with the additional techniques in the video, go at it gently.  Lift just a little weight off the ground and relax the muscles very gradually to allow for the stretch.  It takes practice to learn to relax the right muscles just the right amount for you.  Completely relaxing makes too much weight hang, and not relaxing at all leaves you with no stretch, as you described.  So just ease up a little bit in an area where it feels good, and do that just for a short time.  You will find a balance between relaxing to allow a stretch and keeping tone in certain muscles so that your spinal joints stay protected. Also, it’s fine to feel the stretch just in the lumbar area, as this is the area that’s likely to be moving the most.

Thanks for writing!

Doreen Giles

Gokhale Method teacher

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And it's fine to upload a picture or video with a post.

Doreen

Ste H
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11/22/2016 - 2:06pm

Thanks for the reply!
I have uploaded my posture pictures now. I am currently working on steps 1 and 2 from the book. But I do need to figure out the rib anchor portion of the movement as my ribs do flare. I can pin them in but heavily using my abs as opposed to transverse abs and obliques so I'm probably doing more harm trying it like that, Should the rib anchor come purely from TA and obliques or should it come from re positioning my spine? I find that I tend to 'slump' into it to get the ribs down using my spine, and then I cannot get my neck / cervical portion right when in that position.

I thought I had got step 2 stretch lying right but I still got discomfort whilst lying like that last night in my middle back, so not sure if that means I am doing it wrong still. Also I need to post pictures of my chair to see if it's usable for stretch sitting or not. The back goes all the way up to my neck and I'm not sure if I would be better buying one like in the book where it is only a shorter back and a towel can be places along the top.
Thanks again

alex.comardo
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11/11/2015 - 7:25am

Hi Ste,

 

It doesn't look like any pictures were posted. When you click to type a comment, do you see this toolbar?

 

The very last option, the one that looks like a horizontal line with an arrow above it pointing up, this is what you can use to upload an image here. Please let me know if you need any help.

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Hello again - We've been waiting to see if you'll try again to post your pictures.  Meanwhile, I'll try to respond to your questions here.  

The rib anchor move does come mostly from the internal obliques and other deeper abdominal muscles.  Many people tend to have strong rectus abdominus muscles (the six-pack muscles) and I wonder if you may be inadvertently using rectus to curl everything forward like a crunch rather than drawing the bottom of the ribcage down with the obliques.  When I started trying the rib anchor myself, I think it was coming more from curving my back forward because I didn't know how to find my obliques.  As I kept practicing, I noticed one day that I was successfully finding and using my obliques automatically.  So you may just need to give yourself time.  There are also really great exercises in the back of the book for strengthening the rib anchor muscles - see pages 198-200.  Take your time with these and be precise - only do what you can do while keeping the back of the ribcage pressed into the floor.  If your back arches, do a smaller movement with the legs.  

For stretchlying, try just lying that way for the first 5 minutes of the night and then feel free to move to whatever position you want.  Make sure your pillow is under your head and a couple inches of your shoulders when stretchlying on the back.

The chair may be usable if you use a Stretchsit Cushion or a folded towel midback, as long as there's room below the cushion for your behind and room above it for your shoulder blades after rolling the shoulders back, and as long as it doesn't push your head forward.

Thanks for writing!

Doreen Giles

Gokhale Method teacher

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