If you have a chronic or recurrent problem, such as back pain, neck pain, headaches or arthritis a regular “tune-up” may help you enjoy life more.
Most of these problems mentioned respond very well to a course of therapy. In conjunction here at Pro-Am we usually give you self treatment exercises to help you improve your problem and maintain this improvement.
Some problems unfortunately can be recurring and can make life feel miserable. If this is the case then a regular maintenance treatment can make this more manageable. Treatment will help to keep you mobile, release tension and update self treatments as and when required so they give you the maximum benefit. By having a fortnightly or monthly “top-up” it can be more cost effective than having to have extensive treatment for acute episodes of pain.
“Tune ups” are also beneficial for those who have jobs that involve prolonged postures, repetitive movements, heavy lifting or perhaps your hobby or sport is demanding on the body. With a regular maintenance treatment you can keep your muscles and joints in good balance and, pick up on any niggles before they develop into a nasty injury. Our goal at Pro-Am is to keep you active in the activities you enjoy.
1: Stay mobile
Optimal spine health means having mobility in all directions with good control. One area that can put pressure on the lower back and neck is stiffness in the mid back (thoracic spine). If your thorax has limited rotation, more load and stress can be transferred to other parts of the body. You can check this by sitting in a chair, feet firmly grounded, hands clasped and tucked into your sternum, turn to your right and then left. You should be able to turn equally to the right and left and be able to see behind you easily. Here is a video showing thoracic whips if you find you have limited mobility mobility here, perform 4 sets of 5 reps both sides, if one side is more limited perform 2 extra sets on that side. https://youtu.be/NFWAoXwjlCQ
2: Vary positions at work
Sitting at a computer and desk all day puts increased pressure on your spine. After 30 minutes of sitting make sure you get up and walk around or do some exercises for 30 seconds to keep the flow of blood and fluids to the spine. You will start to notice many work places are looking into workstations that are for standing but again after 30 minutes you still need to move about. Make sure workstation is setup properly for you to encourage optimal posture.
3: Keep the core in good condition
Optimal strength and control of core muscles is very important for spine health, especially if you do suffer from repetitive bouts of back and neck pain. Regular exercise that includes strength training is highly recommended. Pilates is a great exercise that helps you understand how to use your core muscles and how to control movements through the spine.
4: Monthly Sports Massage
Having a regular sports massage for maintenance of well being is highly recommended to get rid of tightness and stiffness that may interfere with spine health. Sometimes our bodies will adapt to the postures and movements we do in life, this can lead to compensations which can lead to injury. If one area of the body is stiff, that limited range of movement will have to be compensated for at the next joint. This may not cause a problem to start with but over months, years it can develop into a chronic problem. Pro-Am’s Health Scheme can help prevent many injuries.
Neck and shoulder pain? tight or painful chest? stressed at work or home? does your pain keep returning or getting worse? Breathing patterns can contribute to or even be the cause of your chronic muscular pain. Here is some information you will find helpful to start finding relief.
Breathing is intertwined with our bodies emotional responses and stress levels, how? the diaphragm’s connection to the brain. We have to breath to survive, we do not have to think about breathing it just happens but it can also be controlled.
How does breathing relate to painful shoulders? when we are stressed our brain sends an alarm signal that alerts us to danger. however this works like a fire alarm. It does not know whether you have burnt your toast or if the house is on fire. It simply sends an alarm.
Your reaction to this alarm has 3 reactions Fight, Flight or Freeze. Within the work environment you can not start a fight or run a way from it unless you want to lose your job. You just hope that the deadlines and work volume will somehow go away without devouring you? This is the freeze response and is usually accompanied with breath holding. Breath holding is a natural primitive survival instinct and is an automatic response to stress and pain. It is something we do not usually notice ourselves doing unless we are extremely body aware.
When we freeze our breathing becomes shallow, our ribs move less and our muscles become tense. If we were in a real life threatening situation we would be playing dead. With this response repeated day after day it can lead to our muscles feeling stiff and hard, leading to chronic pain and dysfunction.
If not acknowledged and dealt with stress can cause many health problems, sore muscles are just the first step. It can lead to you feeling tired and run down, frequently getting ill and headaches. All warning signs that your body needs some kindly attention.
So what can you do?
You begin your journey by having awareness of your breath. It is advised that you do seek out a therapist to make sure you do not have any underlying mechanical reasons for your neck and shoulder pain. Breath holding maybe in response to protecting an injury site.
Muscular pain caused by work related stress is very treatable. With the assistance of a therapist you can become more aware of your breathing pattern and put ‘you’ in driving seat to combating your pain.
Here at Pro-Am we can help you to understand the mechanisms of the stress response and help improve your breathing pattern which will help keep your shoulders, ribs and chest mobilised.
OUT SOON! We have just a few final touches to our self help guide to preventing neck and shoulder pain in the office.
Many desk based workers will suffer with neck and shoulder stiffness and not see anyone about it. Letting it build up can lead to many problems like headaches and repetitive strain injury. A regular sports massage can help treat and prevent problems from building up.
There are other things you can implement easily into your daily routine to prevent neck and shoulder stiffness.
2: drink water
3: regular breaks
4: have a hot bath/use a heat pack or hot water bottle
5: get a sports massage
6: make sure your desk and chair are set up correctly for you
One way to implement most of the tips is using the 30:30 rule for every 30 minutes of work do 30 seconds of movement (shrugging shoulders, turning your head from side to side, standing up and stretching upwards ect.). Every 2 -3 hours get up for a longer break by going and getting a drink of water.
When you get home you can use tip 4 before you go to bed.
Even if you implement the above tips, tip 5 is still the most important. You can not get away from the fact you are seated for long periods of time which is not good for posture. A regular sports massage can stop neck and shoulder stiffness from progressing.
Here at Pro-Am we can advice you the best treatment strategy for you, we can show you how to implement self massage and exercise to prevent problems from building up.