pain builds up in between my shoulder blades as I practice

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pain builds up in between my shoulder blades as I practice

Postby jfraser » Mon Jan 08, 2007 11:13 am

[b]For the last 4 weeks or so, I have noticed an increasing build up of a sharp and quite uncomfortable pain in between my shoulder blades, when I practice Tai Chi. It stays with me until I do to bed, and the next moring it is gone. The next afternoon when I practice, it starts all over again. It makes me not want to practice. This pain has the shape of a softball between my shoulder blades, and "two legs" go down the middle of my back in each side of my spine to the middle of my back. I do go an get "Amoi" (Chinese message), and the pain leaves and I feel very relaxed, until the next time I do Tai Chi. There are no words associated with this pain, except wondering if this competion 48 set fits me.
Ths tension feels Yang to me and thends to rev up my body and blood pressure, and a negative way, and I get cold feet and hands. a sympathetic NS response.

Do any of you have suggestings about releasing stuck Chi, which is what I think this is.

If I practice the warm-up qigong excercises in Dr. Yang's [b]Tai Chi Theory and Martial Power[/b], the pain gets worse. So I stopped practice these excercises that are on pp. 45-56 :?: :?

Nantong and Shenyang, China.
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Postby Tarandus » Mon Jan 15, 2007 12:43 pm

James: I have had a similar problem to this at times, in the same place, at the top of the back, between the shoulder blades. I can only offer my personal experience in dealing with it, which admittedly probably won't be much use, as every individual after all is different, we both practise different forms (I do the long Yang Cheng Fu form), and of course I don't know what else in your case might have caused the problem apart from Tai Chi: so there are of course really too many variables in the equation to be able to offer any real practical assistance and I can therefore only offer my own personal experience under probably very different circumstances. Firstly, the hypothesis that it may be Tai Chi that is causing the problem might not be correct. It may be that what has happened is that you have suffered a repetitive strain injury doing something else, such as sitting at a computer terminal too long with incorrect posture or incorrect back support. But even if that is the case, obviously nevertheless, the Tai Chi is exacerbating the problem, and Chi Kung isn't helping either. To revert to my own experience of the problem, as I've said, I too have experienced the same sense of pain and strain right between the shoulder blades while practising and it has gone away after practice, only to return again at the next practice session. I also felt it more while practising the sword form than the barehand form. In my own case, I just tried to go back to really fundamental Tai Chi principles, focus on those and hope that in doing so, the problem would disappear. I am happy to say that it did, and quite soon. I was particularly aware of the need, given the position of the strain, to focus on relaxing . Yang Cheng Fu constantly stressed to his students that they should 'Relax, relax, relax'. In particular, in his 'Ten Essentials of Taijiquan', his fifth point is as follows: 'Keep you shoulder in a neutral, relaxed position. If you lift your shoulders, the Chi will rise with them, and the whole body will be without strength. You should also keep the elbows down, otherwise you will not be able to keep you shoulders relaxed and move your body with ease'. Taking this into account, I would suggest that perhaps -perhaps- the problem in your case might be that your shoulders are too tense during practice and this is causing a) a mild repetitive strain injury between your shoulders and b) causing your Chi to rise too much and become blocked in the place that is causing you discomfort. This was certainly the diagnosis in my own case. As soon as I really focused on a return to this fundamental principle, the problem disappeared within a few days. I have been corrected also in my time by the Chinese GrandMaster I studied with in London for having too much tension in my shoulders during Wave Hands Like Clouds, so I focused even more of course on relaxing them during that movement in my form practice. I hope your difficulty resolves soon. Kind regards, T,
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Response to T.

Postby jfraser » Tue Feb 20, 2007 5:37 am


Thanks for your tip regarding the pain in my shoulder blades after TC practice. It helps to pay more attention to relaxing my shoulder and shoulder blade area while practicing.

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Postby Tarandus » Tue Feb 20, 2007 8:49 am

James, I am very pleased to hear than my hints on this subject have helped you, and I hope that the problem will soon disappear completely. As a matter of fact, I have had a lower back problem recently, but it was definitely NOT brought on by Tai Chi in my case. In fact, Tai Chi helped it, but it kept returning. I finally realised that it was due to sitting at this computer on an old dining chair which only had two lateral struts at the back for support, and my lower back was protruding, so that after a few hours at the computer, I was getting back strain very low down in my spine. So I went down to a local charity shop that sells secondhand furniture and bought a curved whicker chair for £5 which I think is about 8 US dollars, and this has done the trick! Also, I realised my futon sofa wasn't helping either, as it had a low back that sloped backwards. So I sold that last Friday, then went down to the secondhand shop and bought a sofa there for £50 (about 80 US dollars). The secondhand sofa was delivered yesterday, and now I am happy to say, between these two, the whicker computer chair and the sofa, I have NO back pain anymore!!! Changing topic, I like the quotation you always add to your messages. Are you familiar with Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde, composed in 1908-9? It is a setting of Chinese poems for voices and orchestra (the poems had been translated into German by Hans Bethage in 1907 in a collection called 'The Chinese Flute'). Your quotation reminds me of the last song, 'Der Abschied' ('The Farewell'). Here is the text in English in full:

'The sun sinks behind the mountains.
Evening falls in the valleys
With its shadows, full of cooling freshness.

See, now the moon above floats like a silver ship
On the blue sea of the heavens.
I feel a gentle wind blowing behind the dark pines!

The brook sings loud and melodious through the darkness.
The flowers grow pale in the twilight.

The earth breathes deeply in rest and sleep.
All longing now has turned to dreaming.
The tired people go homewards
To find forgotten happiness in sleep
And to learn youth anew!

The birds crouch silent on the branches.
The world falls asleep ...

There is a cool breeze in the shadow of the pines.
I stand here waiting for my friend;
I wait to bid him a last farewell.

I long, my friend, to enjoy the beauty
Of the evening at your side.
Where are you? You have left me alone so long!

I wander up and down with my lute
On paths rich with soft grass.
Oh Beauty! Oh world, drunk for ever with love and life!

He dismounted and gave him the parting cup.
He asked him where
He was going, and also why it must be.

He spoke, and his tones were veiled:
"O my friend,
Fortune was not kind to me in this world!

Where am I going? I shall wander in the mountains.
I am seeking rest for my lonely heart.
I shall wander to my native land, to my home.
I shall never roam abroad.
Still is my heart: it is awaiting its hour.

Everywhere the lovely earth blossoms forth
In Spring and grows green anew!
Everywhere, forever, horizons are blue and bright!
For ever ..... for ever .....'

Kind regards, T.
'Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions. Live the questions now. You will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.' Rainer Maria Rilke.
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