This is an excerpt from Myofascial Release 2nd Edition With HKPropel Online Video by Ruth Duncan.
Erector Spinae Muscle
This technique uses a longitudinal application.
- Have your client sit on a sturdy stool or on a chair with a flat base.
- Ask the client to drop the arms down by the sides and place feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart. Ideally, the knees should be lower than the hips to allow the client to perform adequate hip flexion when bending over.
- Stand behind the client so that you are in a lunge stance, and place the proximal third of your lower arm onto the erector spinae on either side of the spine at C7-T1 (over the upper trapezius if possible).
- Lean into the client’s body and wait for the tissue to yield.
- Ask the client to drop chin to chest and slowly begin to roll forward, not flexing at the hips but flexing the spine, vertebra by vertebra. The client should keep the arms at the sides and create a counter pressure through the feet up the body to meet your pressure.
- Slowly begin to drag your arms down the client’s back, staying on the erector spinae muscles on either side of the spine.
- Your inferior movement through the tissue is guided by the pace of the client’s body as it flexes forward. You may need to be specific with your guidance on the speed of the movement.
- If the client resists your pressure too much, you will feel the need to push back. Your pressure should be relatively firm feeling for tissue tension but not using force. You need to create a balance between the client’s body and your elbows. Don’t work too hard.
- Make sure the client moves slowly as you slowly take up the slack feeling for the tissue yielding, allowing you to move inferiorly.
- Take care as you reach the lumbar spine because these vertebrae are wider than those above. It can take approximately 60 to 90 seconds to compete one movement from the top to the bottom of the back. If you go too fast, you might apply more than the client can tolerate.
- Once you have reached the last vertebra, remove your elbows and ask the client to roll slowly upwards, focusing on each vertebra at a time.
- Repeat the same process twice with your elbows or loose fists.
- Repeat the same process with the knuckle of your index fingers bilaterally applied to the lamina groove between the spinous process and the erector spinae muscle. Take care not to extend the knuckle at the metacarpal phalangeal joints; rather, curl all the finger joints.
- For any further restrictions, focused release with your elbows or knuckles can be performed in the same manner as above. Additions might include active flexion and extension of the spine and active rotation to further the release.
- Please take time with this technique. It should be done slowly and diligently.