Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Working with the Theracane, Part 2

In this post, I will share more ways to use the theracane.

The theracane is great to use on your upper back, neck and shoulder muscles. Experiment with the larger knob and with the smaller knob (described in the last post) and see what you like best.

Whenever you can, let the theracane do the work for you. If you can, use the hand that is opposite the area to be worked to exert the pressure. It is easier to work trigger points if the muscle containing the trigger point is relaxed.

Theracane is working muscles on opposite side of back.
Front position of theracane to work other side of back.

To work your shoulder muscles, hold the cane with the curved part up and extending to the back. Place one hand on the curved part of the theracane and the other on the lower end of the cane. Place the large knob at the end of the curve on your shoulder. Push down with the top hand, and out with the bottom hand. Experiment with the leverage until you get the desired pressure.  
Using the opposite hand to exert the pressure.
Using the large knob is quite effective for the muscles in back of the neck and is especially useful when trying to get to some of the deeper muscles in your upper back and neck area. When working the muscles in the back of your neck, it is a good idea to lean back into the cane, relaxing the muscles that you are working.

Working the side of the neck.  
Your upper back and shoulders have several muscles that are layered on top of each other. Sometimes, it is necessary to push quite hard to get to a trigger point in the deeper muscles. Remember to let the leverage of the theracane do the work for you.   

There is a deep trigger point here.
Whenever you can, brace the theracane on something else in order to give you more leverage with less effort. If you are sitting, you can brace the bottom of the cane on your lap. You may also be able to brace the cane against your chair or couch. I have found a lot of places to brace my theracane when sitting in the front passenger seat of a car.  

Theracane is braced on lap, so that only one hand is working.

Using arm or wrist to give a break to the hand.
The large knob of the theracane is also good to use on the trigger points at and just below the rib cage in the back and side. Use caution here. These trigger points are very, very tender, and it does not take much to work them. I work mine perhaps two or three strokes and then come back to them later.  Also, stay on the muscles.  Don't start digging deep into the area below the ribs.  You have kidneys in there.  

To work this area, place the theracane curve around your waist, with the knob in back and the stick in front. Place your hands outside of each of the handles. Push forward with the hand that is closest to the straight end.
Working the back and sides near the bottom of the rib cage.
You can also use the large knob to work your chest muscles. Again, use caution because some of the chest muscles are also very tender. Go easy at first, and you will get an idea of how much pressure is just right.  (See my post on working pecs for more information on working your chest muscles.)  

 The theracane is a pretty handy tool.

Here is another theracane tip:  Take it in the car with you when you are driving. When you are stopped at a light, instead of getting upset at how long it is taking, work a couple of trigger points. (But don't relax so much that you are not ready to go the second the light turns green...) 

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