Lamina Groove


Have you seen those videos where color-blind people put on those glasses that correct their color-blindness and suddenly they can see all new colors? I cry every time, for thinking about the astonishment they must feel. Imagine being able to see NEW COLORS.

Or people with cochlear implants, who can hear all of a sudden. Yeah, like I can watch THOSE videos without blubbering.

The thought of going through your life, perfectly content and utterly capable, and then suddenly being given MORE… well, it’s sort of breath-taking.

The wizards at Body Dynamics in Falls Church, VA have apparently been hobnobbing. They all agree that my thoracic spine is, as they say, “locked down.”

(It’s because I’m lordotic – my hips tip downward. So my low back – the lumbar part – has been very flexible all my life, making up for that…and the thoracic spine (more or less all the stuff behind the rib cage) has made up for the flexibility by being rigid. See? It’s all connected. The hip bone’s connected to the… THIGH bone.)

When I walk, I can now use my abdominals to pull up my hips, relieving the pressure on the lumbar spine. But the thorax hasn’t gotten the word yet, and it’s still rigid. It’s pulling back so tightly that my rib cage pops outward. Barbara aping the way I walk is NOT flattering, but it IS highly educational.

So two days ago, I went in for my massage with Gwynn, and she said – with a real gleam in her eye – “It’s time for THORAX!”

(I love the word “thorax.” It would be a hell of a Scrabble word. But I think I’ve only come in contact with it in biology class, in a discussion of the parts of a bug’s body, and EW. But okay – I’m good with “thoracic” being based on “thorax;” I just hadn’t thought of it that way before.)

Having your back massaged is more fun than having the aductor magnus, deep in your thigh, worked on, so I greeted this plan with happiness… and then Gwynn got IN there with her fingers (and then with a probe-y wooden thing when even her super-digits couldn’t force a surrender).

“You have the ridge down your spine – that’s the [DAMNIT I’ve forgotten the term]. And then out to the sides are the transverse [word I’ve forgotten]. And in between is the lamina groove.”

Earth Wind and Fire began playing in my brain. Let’s lamina groove tonight. Share the spice of life. Trumpets and harmonies and spinning men in variously colored jump suits.

“In the lamina groove is a whole web of muscles – it’s absolutely beautiful. They let you twist and arch and bend – there’s a whole range of movement all tied into this spider’s web in this tiny groove back here.” She was digging with the wooden thing by then.

“And mine is…?”

“Oh, absolutely solid – walled in tight.” She seemed quite pleased about it, too. Gwynn likes a challenge.

When she was done, she declared, “Yeah! That’s better!” And then her fingers began doing that same thing little kids do when confronted with tangles of ribbon; she was doing that “grab and wiggle” move with real glee. “I can’t wait to see how you feel when you get up!”

Me, neither!

And then I got up, and it was – just like before.

I admitted that I felt no different, so she had me do “Cat-Dog” on the table. (I think the actual term for this is “Cat-Cow,” but “Cat-Dog” works better for me… why should I let reality interfere with my perceptions?!)

So I got on all fours and arched up as high as I could (that’s cat), and then went as swayback as I could (that’s dog, or cow depending). “Yes!” she cried. “So much better!”


On the way out, we passed Barbara. “Hey, Barbara – does my thorax look any different?”

“I dunno. Walk for me.”

I did; I heard them whispering. “Oh, you’re telling her to tell me it’s MUCH better.”

“Am not!”

“It IS better! Your ribs aren’t all sticking out like this!” (That was when Barbara did her impersonation of my stride.)

Today I worked out with Grace. “Thorax!” she said, the way many women say “Tiffany!” “That’s been on my list for a LONG time!”

It turns out that two days is long enough for all that disco party in the lamina groove to solidify again, so my exercises turned into passive stretching; I’m to do more of that at home every night, supporting my head with my hands and lying across the foam roller so it hits me right across the wing bones; just five breaths, and then some twists; repeat ONCE, no more.

Now that I’m aware that I have a thorax – and that it apparently doesn’t bend – I’m wondering. If you discovered your spine was supposed to bend in a way that it hadn’t before, and people told you they could GET it to do that… wouldn’t that be an astonishing gift?

I’m feeling that lamina groove!

Screen Shot 2017-11-01 at 7.33.05 PM

That’s Earth, Wind, and Fire in the photo, of course. Used without permission, but if you go download “Let’s Groove,” then maybe they’ll forgive me.

6 thoughts on “Lamina Groove

  1. I would read your blog just to see the incredible illustrations you dig up. Today’s was amazing! But it has got me wondering if my groove is fused too. I only wished your gym could be air-lifted to Colton, Oregon!


    1. Juli, I swing wildly between “Oh Lord Earth Wind and Fire is going to sue me for copyright infringement!” and “Eh – 35 followers. Who’s going to know, much less complain?!” And since I’m apparently risking my very freedom (Laws, judge – I was FRAMED!), I’m grateful for your kind words! My gym IS awesome… but there may be a similar facility near you? At least an actual therapeutic masseuse? I give it a “high recommend!”


  2. I love how you seem to be afraid that the copyright gods will soon visit their wrath on you. I don’t think you should worry though. If you get a take down notice then take it down, otherwise consider your minor pictorial infractions as fair use. Now if only Gwynn had a body double up here at the end of the earth to work on my spinal issues.


    1. Do you remember when the Laurel and Hardy people swooped down on Masters Costumes and made them destroy the Laurel and Hardy page in the catalog? And I know I don’t have to tell you about the big purple dinosaur! I’m convinced there are people who make their living identifying and suing over copyright infringement! (Also – what a great gift from your mother-in-law: Ask her to buy you a few sessions with an excellent therapeutic masseuse for Christmas. it will change your life!)


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