We live in a right-handed world. Just ask any left-handed person! We also do almost all activities in front of us, not behind us. These simple facts end up causing a significant amount of imbalance in the body.
As a chiropractor, I perform a postural exam with every new patient. I often see one shoulder higher than the other, and sometimes one hip higher than the other. Unless there is a structural difference, like in scoliosis, the muscles are often the cause for the imbalance. For example, the latissimus muscle attaches to the front of the shoulder. Naturally, our dominant side tends to be our stronger side. The dominant shoulder gets pulled down by the stronger lat muscle. Hence, one shoulder is higher than the other!
Imbalance between the chest and upper back is also very common. Between posture and performing tasks, the pectoral muscles in the chest are often stronger than the rhomboid muscles between the shoulder blades. The imbalance between front and back promotes a slouching posture and can be a source of neck and upper back pain for a lot of people.
How can therapeutic massage help? By using their refined palpation skills, massage therapists promote restoration of balance between the muscles. They are able to feel the different muscles and address the ones that need to stretched or have trigger points released to promote relaxation.
How frequent should you schedule therapeutic massage? The benefits of regular massage, weekly or every 2-4 weeks, is very beneficial when addressing chronic imbalances. It can take a few massages to make the desired the progress. The definition of chronic is persisting for a long time. It is not realistic to think that one massage will “fix” something that’s been out of balance for a long time.Click here to learn more about our monthly membership program!
How can you help make progress? Based on what is felt in the muscles, a massage therapist may recommend stretches or exercises that can prevent the imbalance from returning. It is important to recognize that therapeutic massage is most effective if the patient does his or her best to do the home care that is recommended. If habits don’t change or stretches and exercises are not performed, the problem area will persist.
How should you get started? Give us a call! We schedule our massages so there is enough time to discuss your specific case. Our signature Integrative Massage is the recommended place to start. It will allow you the opportunity to discuss how the massage feels and to change the focus depending on your needs. It also allows your massage therapist to communicate what she is doing and how it will help. Addressing those chronic issues will help you move better, feel better, and live better!