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Thompson maneuver - Do-It-Yourself Relief for Back Pain

Thompson maneuver - Do-It-Yourself Relief for Back Pain My Pain Relief and Arthritis

Health Centers contain a number of safe, highly effective natural therapies to relieve back pain and other types of pain. In this article, I want to share one more - a maneuver popularized by orthopedist Alec Thompson, MD. The Thompson Maneuver helps people with low back pain, disc problems, sciatica, scoliosis, and even back pain that travels up the spine, causing migraines and problems in the arms and hands. It works for one simple reason - it corrects the alignment of a pivotal area of the back, the sacroiliac.

Misalignment of Joints Causes Pain

The human spinal column is configured so the total weight of the body rests on two small joints, the sacroiliac joints, at the juncture of the hipbones (ilia) and sacrum (the triangular bone at the base of the spine, just above the coccyx or tailbone). Being erect places stress on this area, making the lower back vulnerable to injury. This is also why alignment of the sacroiliac joints is so important - knock them out of place and the structural integrity of the entire spine is affected.

The Thompson Maneuver simply brings the sacroiliac joints into their proper position. Once the sacroiliac is back in normal position, the entire spine will eventually realign itself and pressure on sensitive tissues will diminish. If the spine has been askew for a long time, these corrections will take months. The younger you are, the quicker you'll recover. But regardless of your age or duration of back problems, the Thompson Maneuver will help everyone. The key is to do it correctly, and do it often.

Before we begin, I want you to identify on your own body the area this maneuver targets. Put your hands on your waist with your thumbs towards 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. (If you feel a clicking in one of the joints it's probably out of place.)

How to Do the Thompson Maneuver

1. Sitting up straight with shoulders back on the edge of a chair or bed, or lying on a flat surface, bend one leg at the knee and grab onto the 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 the other hand on the bent knee with the thumb on the inside, the little finger on the outside and the 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 the 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 is now in its proper place.

4. Hold this position for ten 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 your sacroiliac is already in position, this is still a helpful exercise for increasing circulation and toning the area. For acute injury repeat this maneuver every hour, or as frequently as possible, for three to four minutes for the first four or five days after injury. Continue to do it at least three times daily as a preventive measure to keep your sacroiliac in proper alignment.


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