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Rib Roll Stretch:

 How to Do the Stretch:

  • You should be side-lying with hips and shoulders stacked. Use a cervical spine support to maintain a comfortable line with a "packed (neutral) neck." Too much lateral flexion will put the patient in a high threshold protective strategy and they will be unable to relax.
  • Flex your top leg up to 90 degrees and hold onto it with your bottom hand. Place a support underneath the knee as shown in the video to prevent excessive lumbar spine rotation. Remember, you want to isolate thoracic spine rotation, not transition into lumbar compensation.
  • Bottom hand rests on the top thigh; bottom leg remains straight.
  • Once in the position, contract the glutes (butt muscles) in the bottom leg to activate extension patterning.
  • The top hand goes underneath the bottom rib cage to assist in end-range stretch.
  • Lightly press the top leg into the support (adduction) to engage the core.
  • Look in the direction you will be turning and then let the head follow. Go full cervical rotation to comfort level.
  • Cue leading with the posterior shoulder. Almost like trying to touch the top posterior deltoid to the floor. Great movement for activation of the notoriously weak extensor and posterior chain muscles of the upper torso. Activate the latissimus dorsi at end range.
  • At end range, assist with bottom hand, pulling torso farther into the stretch.
  • Exhale on the rotation and inhale on the return to starting position.
  • Complete four more rotations by exhaling and at the end range, maintain stretch for four seconds, breathing through your diaphragm.
  • Do a total of eight repetitions on each side. On the more restricted side, complete another set of eight.
  • Don't strain your neck or pull too hard at the end range. A good benchmark of too much stretch is an inability to breathe through the diaphragm. This is a sign that your nervous system has reached a high threshold barrier, and compensations will occur.
  • Courtesy of Perry Nickelston, DC, FMS, SFMA.

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