Posterior Scalenes and Serratus Posterior are a strong muscular component that gets over looked in breathing and daily posture when treating core strength engagement. With such an intrinsic relationship between these 2 seemingly small and unimportant muscles we don't realize precisely what affect they have inherently on our body, even though they are being utilized every second of the day.
We all know breathing is the key to life, but for us to get this breath inside of us our bodies need some form of physical action to animate these meat sacks we utilize to create the lives we choose to create. That being said, how do we fix the small things inside of us that we can't quite see, feel or understand how it works? All we have to do is write an angry letter! Or, follow the mobility moves at the end of this post.
Now a days we all experience back pain for whatever reason. Some know it's from posture, but also just because it's posture related doesn't mean that's the only component affected. Muscle tone affects posture, so if we become aware of our muscle tone in our neck, (where everyone goes to grab as soon as you have a stiff neck). We can begin understanding the state of the muscles which can tell us a lot about our daily lifestyle.
When this neck area gets "tight" we sometimes learn that these muscles are overstretched rather than overused. So, the activation of these muscles in this state, makes it difficult if the full length of the muscle is inhibited by structural imbalances.
In the case of this PSPS relationship, the Posterior Scalenes aids in the elevation of the top part of the ribcage. This movement is most prevalent when we breathe correctly. Our ribs can't fully expand to their maximum capacity when the muscles that allow it to do so are pulling it in the opposite direction, or aren't strong enough to allow the proper structure movement, free of restriction.
The Posterior Serratus has the opposing job description of lowering the ribs and keeping them adhered closely to the spine. Now, this is important because when we think about managing back pain, the spinal column is the highest level of concern. Just as well as the providing foundation for our diaphragm at the bottom of our ribs and top part of our lumber spine.
This component of our body has been conditioned over time to not be utilized and in turn aids weak posture and insignificant core stability...all just through breathing improperly. If your ribs are being fixed into a specific position by these intrinsic muscles that are in a heightened state of contraction or even an overstretched state of weakness, that spells pain. Or, HSCOSW if we're getting technical.
It's a major key to properly assess the state of each of these muscle components to properly address the capacity of breathing techniques to be applied for the structural balancing to begin. More than likely the Posterior Scalenes are in a hyper contracted state from stress, restricted ROM and other weak postural aspects forcing them to compensate constantly.
So, in helping to release this muscle, targeted activation of the Serratus Posterior and isolated intrinsic breathing into the diaphragm are effective steps towards discovering the underlying map towards managing back pain.
Start by laying down on your back.
Tucking your hips under and keeping your back flat you will begin to turn on the serratus.
Pin shoulder blades down towards the ground right behind your ribcage. This will begin to pull your shoulders into an open positioning through activation.
Place opposing hand onto opposing clavicle, hooking your finger tips into the crevice and traction down towards hips.
Bring 3 deep breaths into the top portion of the chest while letting the head extend back and slightly to opposite side with each exhale.
Continue moving hand position down chest until neck is capable of resting to opposing side.
Add in "pocket reach" to mobilization side of shoulder/neck for a deeper release.
Repeat for 10 breaths 3x a day depending on pain level.
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