This is a great soft tissue mobilization technique for low back pain, low back stiffness, stiff facet joints, muscle and myofascial restrictions. It’s a good technique for gaping or opening up painful joints, doing manual traction for disc problems, low back arthritis and sciatica.
Hey guys, this is Manu Kalia, physical therapist and Ayurveda herbalist. So I’m going to show you a technique. This is more for low back issues. I know I’ve been putting out a lot of videos on all sorts of knee, IT band, and foot related and low back issues. This is more of a hands-on manual therapy technique and we’re going to do segmental gapping, opening up the joint space, and especially if you’re having either the joint capsule is tight or if you have some compression going on in the spine causing possibly nerve-related conditions where there are radicular symptoms, pain coming down the leg, but just a general technique and this is quite effective.
So this is a gapping technique and we’re going to be targeting, so let’s say if the problematic area is on that right side, upper part through here with low back pain. And remember, most of the time low back issues are your L4-5, L5-S1. Low lumbar spine is where most people have problems. You can have some SI joint/sacroiliac joint issues that are down to this region, and of course they can refer down to, just like your low back problems, can cause pain down in the hip, the butt, down the leg all the way down to the foot. If there’s some nerve involvement with numbness/tingling, or ligamentous irritation, irritation of the joint it can cause referral pain coming down too.
It’s a pretty easy technique. A simple way to do that is you always have the knee slightly bent here and I can use my body to mobilize that tissue also. So all I’m going to do is first we’re just going to start with gapping. And remember, I can always put a towel through here to raise this area up a little bit. And for women who tend to have wider hips, you want to make sure there’s better alignment of the pelvis, and because of wider hips the spine’s going to drop down or even have more compression in this position through here and opening or stretching on the other side. So we’re trying to open up this side. I’m trying to gap this side right here. That’s what I’m trying to aim for in this position.
Those of you guys who are massage therapists, physical therapists or manual therapists who do a lot of work, this is a great way to work on mobilizing the spine. I can do a couple of things. I can just lock through here, my body, my elbow right here, stabilize that pelvis, use my other side and I can use my body to stabilize, and you can see my fingers on either side and I’m just gapping. I open up that joint and stretch. So I can even target specific segments. Lets say L3 and L4 segment, I want to gap and open up this segment here, so I’m going to work right on that segment. I can open up that tissue and I could hang out there and just stretch if I need to, or I can just oscillate. Then I can go back and forth, I can add some rotations to that, I can do some rotations through there. So you can hit that from various angles to stretch out the joint capsule, open that up as well as do soft tissue mobilization.
So if I want to do a very specific segment that’s problematic, let’s say down through here, I can hang out right on that segment and I can just stretch and I can hold that position, and here I’m going to use my body and I can stabilize through there and I can use that pelvis to open that tissue up.
If I want to really get in there and use my body, I can lean right on this tissue and I can just rock back and forth and I can stretch out that tissue. Same thing applies on this side – I can even use my elbow to open up. Remember, not only are you addressing the erector spinae, you’re also going to get the quadratus lumborum through here, which can be often bound up and tightened up in a lot of people. So I can get in there and I can really start to stretch out a lot of those other tissues also, and I can use my body on this side as well to open that up. So, general soft tissue mobilization or massage to open up those tissues, specific – getting right on the segments, and then targeting and opening up and just kind of hanging out, and then adding different directions and rotations.
And you can also do, if you want to do, you can even do segmental gapping or traction in that position, or I can get on top of two different segments and I can just use my body to open up the spine. So I’m doing traction. Remember, gapping that segment, opening it up, decompression to relieve that pressure on that disc or that nerve or that nerve or some of that soft tissue through there. All I have to do is I just got to lean into it and I hang out there and I stretch. I’m using my body and I just stretch. So I’m gapping. I’m doing that segmental traction.
How long you can hang out there depends on how acute the condition is, how severe the problem is, which requires a bit more in terms of assessment. You’ve got to know what you’re doing. But as a general technique, this is a great for mobilizing tissues that are really stiff through that area. And remember, you can work all the way up – I can go all the way up to here. I don’t have to just hang out here. I can go all the way up to the thoracic spine, your mid back, and I can work through the tissues there, too. I can even use my elbows and I can lean into that and I can do a lot of other things through here too.
Hope you found that helpful. Leave a comment if you have questions. Make sure you subscribe to the channel, and click on the link to check out my site – tons of information on it. And thanks, guys.