Thompson Maneuver Exercises For Back Pain
The Thompson Maneuver was popularized by orthopedist Alec Thompson, MD. The exercise works to properly align the sacroiliac (SI) joints that lie between the sacrum and the hipbones, or ilium (see diagram). Supporting the weight of the entire torso, an injury to or misalignment in these SI joints can cause widespread back pain.
The Thompson Maneuver exercises for back pain can help people with lower back pain, sacroiliitis, disc problems, sciatica, scoliosis; and even back pain that travels up the spine. It works for one simple reason - it helps to correct the alignment of the sacroiliac joints. The sacroiliac joints are the two small joints at the juncture of the hipbones and the triangular bone at the base of the spine (called the sacrum). They are very strong and stable weight bearing joints that allow a small amount of movement, mostly as we walk. Because the sacrum and pelvis form the base of the spine, they act like the foundations of a building. Any misalignment here will affect the rest of the building (your spine!).
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The key to success here is to do the Thompson Maneuver correctly and often (several times a day). You may experience some aching in the SI joint the first few days. As long as it is only mild, this is normal. Before you begin, identify on your own body the area this maneuver targets. Simply put your hands on your waist with your thumbs toward the front. Move your fingers down until you feel your tailbone. Now, walk a few steps and notice the motion there, these are your sacroiliac joints. You can often feel a bony bump on either side of your sacrum at the base of your spine, that is right over the SI joint.
Once you have a good idea where your SI's are, then follow these simple steps.
(1) Sitting up straight with your shoulders against a chair or bed, or lying on a flat surface, bend one leg at the knee and grab onto your ankle with the opposite hand (fingers on the front of the ankle, thumb circling and resting under the ankle). Hold the arm straight down to get the proper angle.
(2) Place your other hand on the bent knee with your thumb on the inside, your little finger on the outside, and your three middle fingers on top of the knee. Let the bent knee drop naturally to the outside.
(3) Elevate the elbow of the arm holding your knee to the level of the shoulder, so the shoulder and elbow are level. Moving the elbow straight back, pull the knee gently but firmly as far back as it will comfortably go. The lower leg and forearm should be in a more or less straight line. The sacroiliac joint will now be releasing towards its' correct alignment.
(4) Hold this position for 10 seconds, then release and repeat the procedure with the opposite leg.
It's impossible to pull too far back, you cannot displace the hip by pulling back. If the joint is already in position, this is still a helpful exercise for increasing circulation and toning the area. For an acute injury, you can repeat this maneuver every hour, or as frequently as possible, for three to four minutes for the first four or five days after injury. Also consider using ice packs. Continue to do it at least three times daily as a preventive measure to keep your sacroiliac joints in proper alignment.
The Thompson Maneuver exercises for back pain can be an easy an effective way of dealing with back pain from home, but it is not a miracle cure and does not fix all back problems. Try this easy remedy at home, but if you have persistent or chronic back pain, see your health professional. Secondly, remember be active in maintaining your spinal health. HealthySpines.org Total Back Pain Solution outlines a simple exercise program that can be done in ten minutes, three times a week to maintain optimal spinal health, keeping your back strong, stable and flexible.
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