Cold Feet & Back Pain? You Must Read This Blog

If you have back pain and always have cold feet, you MUST address any diaphragmatic tension.

What is the Diaphragm and Why Is It Significant?

The diaphragm is the dome like structure that sits at the bottom of the ribcage. It contracts roughly 25,000 times per day and is extremely important in ensuring optimal blood flow, in building abdominal pressure (core strength) furthermore it can disrupt the function of some pretty serious nerves (the vagus nerve being the daddy).

Your Mid Back Pain and the Diaphragm

The mid back is often classed as the lower thoracic spine (the area just below the shoulder blades down to the base of the ribcage). This part of the body is most likely to be directly impacted by the diaphragm (but there are many other things beyond the scope of this article the diaphragm can impact indirectly).

Why? Because through the diaphragm run three hiatuses (openings) where various anatomical structures pass. These three gaps in the diaphragm are located at thoracic vertebra 8 (vertebra just below the shoulder blades), 10 &12 (the twelfth thoracic vertebra is where the ribcage ends). Should the diaphragm tighten around these passages it can alter the function of the tissues that flow through them.

The corresponding areas surrounding each of these vertebras can exhibit pain or mobility problems (or both) due to viscerosomatic reflex (another blog for another day). In other words, tension in the diaphragm muscle can cause pain and lack of movement just below the shoulder blades.

Do you get cold feet (but not hands)?

If so it is likely ‘tightness’ surrounding the diaphragm and wrapping around the eighth thoracic vertebra (T8) is to blame. This is because the inferior vena cava (IVC) runs between the diaphragm and T8 preventing optimal blood flow to the lower limbs. You may also experience cramping and swelling of the lower limbs when the IVC is performing sub-par.

When the inferior vena cava isn’t functioning as well as it could be this can also result in non-specific abdominal and lower back pain. If you get cold hands as well as cold feet you may have diaphragmatic tension, however it is not as likely to be the main culprit.

Most Importantly, What can be done?

So you’re often getting cold feet but less so hands? In addition you suffer what appears to be random lower back or abdominal pain that you struggle to link to anything else consistently? You get leg cramps and swelling? You certainly want to consider diaphragmatic tension surrounding the T8 hiatus. Try this simple sequence out for size and see if any of the above begin to improve, remember to do them consistently…

Diaphragm release –

Deep breathing drills –

Subsquently if the above isn’t helping to alleviate your symptoms and you would like a rehabilitation programme unique to you then please feel free to get in touch.

Stay safe.


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