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The Thompson Maneuver
For Back Pain Relief

by Dr. Julian Whitaker
excerpted from DAILY Health Center
 March 2003


Do-It-Yourself Relief for Back Pain

The Thompson Maneuver - - a maneuver popularized by orthopedist Alec Thompson, MD - 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 you begin, 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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