Relax Refresh Renew
Our bodies experience chronic pain from holding chronic postural tension patterns, when our muscles are forced to stay in one place for a long time. These chronic pain patterns, may be efficient for functioning, but not healthy for muscle tissue. I ask questions to help you figure out what caused the pain, and can share with you how you might begin to unravel that pattern. I help you feel better right away, I help athletes stick with their training goals, and alleviate common discomforts.
'Dangerous' Postural Choices Causing Your Pain:
1. Sitting at your desk for long periods of time can cause chronic pain tension patterns in the neck, shoulders, legs and hips in particular. Be sure your monitor is straight in front of you, at eye level, and your chair assists in maintaining good posture. If your workstation doesn't seem to work for your ULTIMATE health, maybe your employer could pop for a couple of massages a month to make up for the poor working conditions... this would only be a problem if you are self employed, or...your spouse/significant other is your boss!
2. The Chronic Pain Side-Sleeper...Sleeping on your side causes imbalance in the shoulders, by shortening the muscles in your chest. This can result in neck and shoulder pain. Sleeping on your side also puts pressure on the joints in your jaw and hip/low back joints. Sleeping on your back with a small neck support is the only neutral posture (on a conventional bed, at least) for muscles and other structures of your body. I hear you...'I CAN'T sleep on my back!' Well, I like to say to my clients, 'Try for two nights, and by the third night you will pass out from exhaustion, and (VOILA!) you are a back sleeper!'
3. Driving for long periods of time causes imbalances in the legs, particularly if your seat is too close to the pedals, shortening your upper leg muscles. Constantly resting one arm on an armrest will also cause shortening in your shoulder and neck muscles. Try to stretch and move as much as you can when driving for long periods ... and don't worry about the guy next to you at the stoplight! This is for the sake of your health, after all!
4. Crossing your legs while sitting causes stress to a joint in your low back called the sacroiliac joint (SI joint for short), and shortens muscles in your legs. The main product of this injury is aching, annoying low back pain, which frequently radiates into your rump . So, try sitting equally on both sit bones and keep your weight balanced...but be aware...you will constantly revert back to that 'most comfortable', chronic pain making, leg crossing position...and don't even think about sitting with one leg underneath you...that will knock you all out of whack!!
5. Carrying a purse, particularly on one shoulder makes the muscles in that shoulder work OVERTIME. You may not notice the discomfort while the purse is on your shoulder, but when you are doing something else and the tension starts to creep up that side of your neck (maybe even causing a headache !) you can blame that sinister shoulder bag!! Now, those trendy bags you carry in the crook of your arm will cause problems as well, tightening up the muscles in your arm, possibly causing pain in your hand, elbow OR shoulder! If you can avoid carrying them for long periods of time, it will help your body a great deal. I mean, I know it's all about style, but if it's causing a chronic pain pattern, maybe a stylish backpack would be in order!
See below for even more pain patterns and postural strain issues.
Specialized Therapeutic Massage...
Our specialty is working with individuals with chronic pain who have tried many other avenues of therapy. Most of our clients have sought relief from their pain in numerous other ways, such as prescription pain medications, cortisone shots and manual therapies. They have frequently visited neurologists, orthopedists and pain doctors, with symptoms persisting. We take a thorough health history, evaluate a client's muscular patterns and work with them on unraveling these patterns that have caused the pain in the first place. We frequently work with athletes , including many whom we have deemed the 'chronic athlete'. Here are several more 'activities' we see in our clinic frequently which cause pain, and can be helped with minor modifications in habit, and of course, therapeutic massage!
1. Carrying/Holding small (or large!) children - can cause hip pain, shoulder pain, arm pain or even headaches to appear on that side
2. Reading - arm pain, neck pain and headaches
3. Leaning over a counter for long period of time - low back and leg pain, can also refer into the abdomen or groin
4. 'Gaming' Posture - neck and shoulder pain, forearm or hand pain, can also cause full back pain
5. Poor Computer Monitor or Mouse Position - chronic pain in the neck, with or without headaches and upper right back pain (if you're right handed!) this pain can get really annoying, under the shoulder blade, sometimes referring into the arm, or if it's bad, all the way into the hand...and can be really achy, causing the sensation of shortness of breath (can you tell I've had this before?!) or up the side of the shoulder to the neck
6. Wearing Backless Shoes (yes, I'm talking about your beloved mules, flip-flops and clogs) - chronic pain in the foot and lower leg, if it gets really bad can cause plantar fasciitis symptoms
7. Playing Musical Instruments (you may want to think about this before you sign your kid up for violin lessons!) - any instrument which causes a severe imbalance in the structure, if done for long periods of time will cause muscles to shorten and tighten...for the extremes think flute and violin. Any instruments will be a repetitive strain risk, and can cause chronic pain in the neck, arm pain, hand pain, shoulder pain and back pain, but we can share stretches which will help with any discomfort on that end.
8. Communicating with Sign Language - commonly causes pain in the hands, but the cause is frequently extremely tight forearm muscles - if you do this for a living, you need to know how to take care of yourself so you don't end up with chronic tendonitis
9. Holding the Phone With Your Shoulder - chronic pain in the shoulder, neck, headaches, when really bad can cause ear pain and jaw pain. 3 Words- GET A HEADSET
Preventing Pain: Hydration and Nutrition
One of the elements of muscle and joint comfort a lot of people overlook is getting enough water. Muscle pain, cramping and joint pain can be some of the first indicators of dehydration. Particularly in this dry Arizona climate. When you come in for your massage, be sure your body is well hydrated. Your massage will be more effective, and any deep tissue work will be more comfortable when your muscles are hydrated. Something to remember is that when your body is dehydrated, the muscles and joints will be the first place that feel it, because on a priority level, they need it less than your organs.