Daily Mobility Exercises by Dr. Kelly Starrett Forums Back T-Spine/Scapula Mobilization Order

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    • #70261
      I’ve major tightness in the area of my lower t-spine on my left side at a very specific spot – though it might actually be my lower scapula. When I use the foam roller or lacrosse balls there is NO tenderness or discomfort, yet when I try to do a proper front squat or go overhead the strong tension in that one very specific spot is apparent and I wind up leaning backwards and fail in the movement. I look like a banana. No pain, at all, ever, just amazing tightness in that one spot and I can feel it most of the time whether I am moving or not.
      Not being sure if it is the actual t-spine or scapula (or both, probably) has me uncertain in what order to address this. There have been times when that same scap wouldn’t engage at all – my physio (two of them) couldn’t figure out why – it has got to be related
      I am thinking I should probably focus on the mobs for the lat seam, scap, more aggressive t-spine mobs, serratus and first rib (I know that is tight). What is the proper order in which to address these? Am I missing anything? I’ve been very diligent on working on this for months now with no real progress that lasts more than a short time – and that included lengthy physio. Whatever is going on seems to be behind why I’ve been unable to gain any strength in that arm – if the shoulder complex can’t operate properly because something is too tight/gnarly that seems a natural consequence. Frustrating but I am not giving up.
    • #72172

      Do you have or have access to a Gemini?
      It gets into the t spine really well.
      Kicks it up a gear.
      Address the area where you think will have the most change first.
      Have you checked into anything with your neck?
      The daily rx for Wed June 12th has some other ways to hit a possible impacting factors.

    • #72175


      No I don’t, but it sounds like I should get one.
      I wasn’t sure if order of mobilization matters and will check out the Daily RX for June 12.
      I DO have neck issues – some arthritic degeneration, and C4-C5 aren’t in perfect shape. I’ve been cleared for anything that doesn’t hurt – and the more work I do the less it bothers me. I am diligent for numbness.  
      Manual manipulation of my neck frees my shoulder so I know mobilization will work – just have to find that right combination…I don’t know what role my neck plays in my lower t-spine/scap/lat problem on that side. Right side is perfect. Part of me wishes I was 30 years younger 🙂
    • #72179

      Good to hear you see improvements with working on it.
      There may be some compensations that you make downstream of your neck on one side that you see at the t spine/shoulder.` Many times the athlete isn’t aware compensations are happening. Finding slack within the system so you are able to perform skills/achieve the needed shapes to do certain skills.
      May be it would be helpful to have someone video tape you doing skills that are impacted. This way you can see exactly what you are doing vs what it feels like.

    • #72180

      I see improvement when someone ELSE is working on my neck. So far I’ve not found the right combination of mobilization that has a noticeable impact, though it is possible that I am not spending enough time in the positions. I seem to remember hearing Kelly say in a video the other day that it requires at least 2 minutes in a position to change tissue.

      Video taping is a good idea, I will ask someone at my gym to do this. Pretty much it is anything overhead, along with the front squat, that is impacted. Thankfully that does leave a lot of other movements I can do – including zercher squats. Right now I don’t care about the amount of weight I am trying to move, just focusing on attempting to perform the movement properly. Compensating does make sense and I hadn’t considered it. Hopefully a video will give me more information!
    • #72190


      I hit the gym this morning and just focused on practicing those movements I’ve the most problem with – AFTER spending some quality time rolling my lats, using taped lacrosse balls down my spine, and a single lacross ball around both scapula and moving my arms in full range of motion (no pain). For once I didn’t do any distraction but I DID spend some time working on my traps – though probably not very effectively. They are like wood, had no idea they were that tight.
      After reading in the book about torque, when doing a light weight front squat, I focused on getting tight and screwing my feet into the ground…and for the very first time (ever) was able to do a proper front squat without restriction! I had someone watching to make certain I wasn’t leaning backwards w/out realizing it – and I wasn’t. Will continue reading/watching the videos/and mobilizing (a Gemini is coming). I think a lack of torque has certainly been part of it – though of course it doesn’t cause the restriction.
      Oh yes, while the restriction has returned it is very light so SOMETHING came together properly this morning – finally something positive 🙂 Thank you for your advice – and I am going to get that video made and hopefully get more information from that. 
    • #72196

      Great to hear you are identifying what needs attention and how to most effectively hit that area!
      Yes, sometimes you will find an area that is tight that you may not have known about or as one thing is in proper placement something new arises. Keep working with it and chipping away at the tight traps.
      Looking upstream and downstream of the impacted area is key for this reason.
      It will take a little time for your body to hold the new positioning. It’s like learning a new skill or making a technique change. Unlearning old habits and making the new neuropathways for the new movement pattern/positioning. It will becoming just what you do it can take a little time, but stick with it as you have with the other things you were doing to address the situation.

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