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Desk Posture – combat it with Remedial Massage and Exercise

Most people reading this will be aware that poor posture can cause back pain, neck pain, head aches, even foot, knee and hip problems.

Posture related pain makes up a great deal of the cases we see for Remedial Massage at our Sydney CBD clinic. Massage is always provided with tailored aftercare so that you can regain control of your posture related pain with targeted exercises and a few simple adjustments.

Remedial Massage is designed to ‘remedy’ a problem (see our article on Remedial Therapy).

In this series of articles, we explore postural tension, how it develops, how to remedy and how massage will help.

Desk Posture

Posture pain massage sydney

Look familiar?

  • Focused on your job? Great.
  • High stress? Not so great but oh so common
  • Tired? Fatigued?
  • Working on a laptop, tablet or mobile phone?
  • Deadlines, high stakes, interesting case load?
  • Are you looking too closely at your computer screen?

When we are focused on doing a good job our posture is often the last thing on our mind. What tends to happen is we lean in far too close to our computer screen. A lot of people will admit to ‘slumping’ forward at work stations due to fatigue or high stress.

 

The Head

If you spend too long in this position you will likely suffer headaches, tense shoulders and neck pain.

What happens in this scenario is that the heavy head is not sat neatly on top of the spine where it is supported by our bone structure, instead it weighs heavily on the muscles of our upper back.

The head weighs 3-5kg approximately, yet every inch forward your head ‘slumps’ doubles this weight. The muscles are able to hold your head here for a period of time, but imagine you are holding this weight in your hand, even if you are holding it just an inch above your resting spot, your arm muscles will pretty quickly fatigued and they will ache afterwards. This is true for the muscles of the upper back, neck and back of the head and is a very common cause for pain in this area.

Remedial Massage for neck painTo combat this postural position, elevate your sternum (breast bone) – this will naturally place your head back on top of your spine where it is supported.

It is also good practice to stretch after you catch yourself in this posture to activate the muscles and fill them with nourishing oxygen. Combat this by lifting your shin and looking upwards, hold for 5 seconds, and then tucking your chin in (double chin) and holding for 5 seconds.

To alleviate postural pain, remedial massage will be directed at opening up the forefront of the neck, scalenes and sternocleidomastoid, which feed into the muscles at the ocipitol ridge at the back of the head, the jaw and the face.

The Chest

 

posture massage sydney cbd

Give yourself a break

What also happens is that our shoulders creep forward and this tightens the pectorals. The pecs will then remain tight until worked as they are used to being in this shortened position for extended periods of time.

Keeping the chest open is key to avoiding postural pain. Consider lifting your breast bone (as described above) and then checking your shoulders, can you see them out of the corner of your eye? You shouldn’t, they are too far forward. Try lifting them up and tucking them back slightly then letting them relax in a more natural position, not a rigid one!

Most people are aware of the pec major muscle which attaches in at the front of the shoulder, there are also several smaller contributors to a tight chest – the many small muscles in the area that contribute to shoulder pain, these all work to hold your shoulders in a forward rotation, making it hard to complete postural exercises and keep the chest open. This is where remedial massage is most effective to stretch and release each muscle group with passive stretching and soft tissue release to free your shoulders from your chest.

Combat Postural Tension for Good!

Top tip on avoiding postural tension? Take a break! Taking regular breaks will avoid sedentary posture which is the main factor in creating this tension, that you are repeating the action time and time again for extended periods. Consider setting a reminder for yourself every 2 hours to have a stretch, counteract your sedentary posture by opening your chest, lifting your head and getting up and walking around.

Remember, good habits can be formed in placement of bad ones, but it takes time. If you catch yourself in a poor posture time and time gain, just keep correcting yourself it is the best thing you can do for yourself! Before long, it will become second nature. Need some personalised tips? Remedial Massage will break down tension that has been there for  along time, book in to see me at our Sydney CBD clinic and feel the difference after one session and take away loads of tips and stretches to combat the posture pain you feel for good!

The longer you have had a condition, the longer it can take to combat it, but remain positive, that’s only about 10% of the time you have had a problem, so stay focused and you’ll be free of posture pain in little time!

Next time, we explore how remedial massage is used to combat shoulder and back pain, plus some great tips on adjustments and stretches

Book today on 92673775