For many of us, we spend far too much time in one position. Whether it is hunched over our desks, behind the wheel of a car running our children all over the city, or seated in our favorite recliner. Unfortunately, this can create havoc for our muscles and lead to terrible posture, stiffness, and overly tense muscles. Remaining static in a position too long causes our muscles to get used to this position and they will remain in a tense or “shortened” condition causing us to deepen even more into poor posture as a result. It is a vicious cycle that we have to avoid or work hard to consciously correct.
Fortunately, one of our allies in this, in addition to receiving chiropractic care, is your massage therapist. Massage can be a huge asset in helping you achieve better posture. Massage therapists are trained not only in muscles, but also how they function. When your massage therapist takes a look at your posture and asks you questions to gain information about your aches, pains, and daily activities, they are thinking holistically about how your body is functioning and how your movements and posture are causing you pain.
A great example of this is someone who sits “hunched” over the computer most of the day. Poor posture in this position can lead to the shoulders rounding forward and the arms remaining in a bent static position on the desktop. In addition, many people will keep their legs crossed throughout the day which can create strain on the low back and hips.
Massage for this type of postural challenge will focus on releasing the shortened muscled in the front of the body. The pectoral muscles are one of the key challenges. For just a moment, roll your shoulders forward as if you were hunched over a computer. Can you feel the lack of space in the front of your body? Do you feel as if it is harder to breathe in this position? These muscles will start to tense up and cause you to feel “stuck” in this position even after you have gotten up from your desk. Working these muscles in addition to the ones in the neck, upper, and lower back that are screaming at you as a result of this poor posture will help you to be able to stand tall, breathe more deeply, and feel better all day long.