What your Massage Therapist Recommends for Neck and Shoulder Tightness.
As remedial massage and myotherapists we spend our time 'neck deep' (pardon the pun!) in upper back, neck and shoulder tightness! Here are 5 simple things you can do to help look after your neck and prevent it from tightening up.
Self Massage through the Rhino Trigger!
Hilariously one of our clients dubbed this the Rhinoceros Trigger and it has just stuck! Your upper traps is one of the main muscles that causes your neck and shoulder tightness. Sitting at a desk all day, stress or any gym or physical activity where you move your arms will cause this pesky muscle to tighten up.
Grab a trigger ball to do a little self massage through your upper traps. In a doorway bend down so that your body is at 90 degrees with the the door way. Place the ball on your upper trap muscle (the top of your shoulder) and lean into the door way. Aim for 1:30min to get the best results. (You can spilt up the time if you need)
Avoid - the front of your shoulder, close to your neck. You have a lot of vein, nerves and arteries that are exposed just above your collar bone. If you are triggering this area. Always keep the ball to the back of your body.
Check your posture while holding your phone
Interestingly when working with sports teams this is something that comes up quite often. We find when the athletes have more down-time, such as in a competition they spend more time on their phones and we see an increase and neck and shoulder tightness.
One of the theories behind this is that if you are constantly looking down at your phone for long periods of time for example - on the commute to and from work or when you are at home and find yourself down the Instagram rabbit hole, the position that we hold our head for that period of time can be contributing to our neck and shoulders tightness. Instead bring the phone closer to eye level to keep your head and neck in a better position. Alternatively lie on your side or your back with your head supported to avoid tightening up through the area.
Shift your Mindset about Good Posture
As massage therapists often when we talk to clients about posture they instantly drop their shoulders down and back. We have to change this mindset. Often by pulling your shoulders down you lengthen your traps too much and engage your lats (the muscles on the side of your back.)
Instead think about drawing your shoulder blades towards each other. You want your upper traps to be in a shortened position and to engage through your middle and lower traps to keep your shoulder blade against your body. This will help to avoid overloading your upper traps.
Simple Neck Stretches for the Workplace
Chin to chest stretching in a really simple way to loosen up through your neck at work. Grab the back of your head with both hands and draw your chin to your chest slowly. You can even curl a little through your upper back to get into those upper thoracic vertebrae and associated muscles that tend to tighten up. Hold for 30 seconds and do it 2 or 3 times.
Chin to arm pit stretching loosens up though muscle called your Levator Scapulae. It is notorious for making you feel uncomfortable through your neck and shoulders. Drop your chin to your chest and turn your chin towards your right armpit. Using your left hand grab onto the back of your head on the right hand-side. Try to draw your head diagonally forward to the left, away from your body. You should feel the stretch on the righthand side of your neck and upper shoulder. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 2 - 3 times.
Set yourself reminders
This one is really simple but incredibly powerful. Either download a reminder app or set up some reminders in your phone to check your posture, check your head position while using the phone or even to get up and move around from your desk. Create a system that is automatic because life gets busy and we need all the help we can get.
We hope these little tips and tricks help to keep that neck and shoulder tightness at bay. If you are finding that you can't seem to get it to loosen up on your own it might be worth getting a massage or myotherapy session to help decrease that tightness and work out why it is there in the first place.
AN INNER CITY GYM WITH A DIFFERENCE!
At Just Knead It - Sports and Remedial Massage we are committed shifting Australia's attitude towards being proactive towards their health. So we can all live a long, happy and healthy life, doing all the things we enjoy. We get that as massage therapists we are just one piece of the puzzle. It is for this reason that we search out like-minded allied health clinics and facilities that are exceptional and understand what we are trying to achieve.
Steve Nichols and his team at 477 Co are one of these groups. He has created a gym that combines exercise, mobility, mindset and nutrition under the one roof. They get that each piece of the puzzle is essential for giving you long term results. That's why we love working with Steve and his team. We sat down with Steve and asked him some questions about his gym, style of training and the philosophy behind 477Co. Have a read!
Remedial Massage Therapist Kat Share's Her Crunchy Asian Beef Salad Recipe
At Just Knead It - Sports and Remedial we are on a mission to change Australian's attitude towards health - so you can live the life you envisage. The statistics are scary on how much are lives are impacted and how much money we as a nation spend on conditions that are preventable with changes to risk factors. These include lower back pain, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and conditions caused by smoking and drug use ($65 Billion in 2011). With small shifts and simple changes we could make a world of difference!
We get that a big part of this shift is food. Yet there is a real stigma around health food not being very appetising. We're on a mission to break this myth! A perfect example is Kat's Crunchy Asian Beef Salad! This recipe is quick, simple and really flavoursome.
A massage therapist's plea to the enthusiastic runner!
Dear future running enthusiast!
We know! You're feeling really motivated and itching to get started... You used to train upwards of 5 times a week so of course you can still do that! We understand you used to be able to run 5 - 10 kilometres off the back of no training. So jumping straight back into that distance makes sense!! You want to get fit 'LIKE YESTERDAY,' so training every day to keep up the enthusiasm and get into a routine quickly is the only option!!
Yet here's the reality.!! You're not as young as you used to be!!! At some point you worked up to that training load - IT TOOK TIME!!! Getting straight back into it (like you did 10 years ago!) is a sure way to end up on the massage table!
So, can we please offer some suggestions!!!
Good luck from the Just Knead It Team!!!
Day in day out we see people our remedial massage clinics complaining of neck and shoulder pain. The typical story is along the lines of - It's been there forever. It gives me a blinding headache and I can't get rid of it!
They complain of pain at the back of their head, headaches, tightness across the shoulders and/or this really annoying spot between the shoulders that they just can't seem to get rid of! So what can be done?
How Massage Can Decrease Neck Pain?
First we need to understand 'WHY!'
At Just Knead It - Sports and Remedial Massage we look at all aspects of your body that could be contribution to your neck and shoulder pain and/ or tightness:
Our goal is to look at the body as a whole and work out what is the best plan of attack from a remedial massage perspective.
Then it's onto HOW we do it!
Remedial Massage and Myotherapy utilise a variety of techniques to help with neck and shoulder pain. After a thorough assessment we create a plan of attack specific to you. In general we massage deep into muscles of your neck, shoulders and the front and back of your upper spine that we have identified at tight. We also use a variety of additional techniques to tailor your massage to your needs.
These Remedial Massage and Myotherapy Techniques include:
At the end of the day our goal is to get you pain free as quickly as possible. If we can't help you we will refer you to one of our trusted allied health practitioners.
If you are in pain or feeling tight give us a call. You can find our massage booking and contact details on our Contact Us page.
Looking forward to helping you with that neck and shoulder pain!
"Massage Can Remove Toxins from the Body..." and
"REMEDIAL MASSAGE CAN FLUSH LACTIC ACID OUT OF YOUR BODY..." are phrases that we often hear.
I'd love to say that massage is a miracle cure for the removal of 'toxins' and lactic acid. However, this is a myth. There is an alarming amount of misinformation related to massage. At Just Knead It we are on a mission to raise the bar of our industry starting with dispelling some myths.
In this blog we are going to tackle:
Click 'Read More' to read on!
(Stair runs up a mountain in Italy. June 2017)
Welcome to 2018! We hope that this one is an absolute cracker. We've been chatting to some of our clients about their health and fitness goals for the year. According to Dr Joseph J. Luciani a leader in Clinical Psychology, on average only 20% of people will stick to their New Years Resolutions come February 1. We wanted to give you some simple strategies to help you to not become one of that statistic!
Summer has well and truly arrived and most of us have been reminded by the sudden spike in temperature that its time to get into shape.
By all means its a great goal and you should definitely get stuck in! Just remember that for most of us we aren't as young as we used to be! Getting out of shape takes some time and thinking we can train like we did 10 years ago off the back of nothing is a sure way to end up on the massage table!
So if you are looking to add in a new fitness regime into 2018 here are a couple things to keep in mind so you don’t injure yourself!
1. You're not as young as you used to be!
Like we said earlier thinking you can train at the same intensity and frequency as you used to is a sure way to end up stiff, sore or worst case scenario injured.
It's time to acknowledge what you used to be able to achieve but also accept where you are right now. Reset your baseline and work from there rather than constantly comparing yourself to what you use to be able to do. Not only will it stop you from beating yourself up about your fitness levels of times gone by but it'll stop you from getting injured and ending up on the massage or physio table!
Do your hands get sore?" and "Is that a knot” are the two most common questions get asked by our massage clients. So we thought it best to clear it up for once and for all!
A knot is what a remedial massage therapist would call a trigger point.
An area of tight tissue in a muscle where the muscle fibres are in a contracted state (bunched together). By massaging, dry needling or trigger pointing this area not only are you helping to stretch out these contracted areas of a muscle, you are breaking up adhesions that form in the fascia (connective tissue that holds muscles together) of a muscle.
What should a feel like?
Normal healthy muscle tissue feels supple and elastic, and should be uniform in consistency. On the other hand, a dysfunctional or 'knotted' muscle will have a thicker, ropey consistency.
What is commonly referred to as a knot, a massage therapist would call a trigger point.
What can you do?
Trigger points can be treated to relieve muscle tightness and discomfort - just know that in doing so it can cause a small amount of local, referred or radiating pain. When treating a Trigger Point you are also treating the connective tissue around all the muscle fibres called myofascia. (Think that filmy stuff on the outside of a raw chicken breast! That's fascia and it every where on the inside and outside of your muscles!)
The myofascia, or muscle fascia, is a film of connective tissue that envelops all muscles, compartmentalising the soft tissues of the body and gives shape to the body. As such, if the fascia is damaged or dysfunctional it can restrict or inhibit the movement and contractile force of the muscle it envelops and cause reduced gliding with neighbouring tissues and structures.
How can you treat it?
As to the other question 'Do remedial massage therapists hands get sore?'
Not really! We learn early on how to use our body behind our techniques to take the pressure off your hands. However if you have a really long day, back-to-back (treating particularly stubborn muscles) it is common to find the ol' massage therapist hands feeling a little tender!
By Shane Asmussen & Kat Murray
Qualified Remedial Massage Therapists
Athletico (2017). Physical Therapy. www.athletico.com
Finando, D. & Finando, S. (2005). Trigger Point Therapy for Myofascial Pain. Simon and Schuster.
Clay, J.H. (2008). Basic Clinical Massage - Integrating Anatomy and Treatment. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual, Vol. 1 - Upper Half of Body David G. Simons, Janet G. Travell, Lois S. Simons
By Erin Haske
We all know how hard it can be to stay motivated to exercise and stay healthy.
We sat down with Erin Haske, Exercise Physiologist and Health Coach to discuss tips and tricks to stay motivated when you're tired, 'not feeling it' or struggling to stay on track!
1. What’s your favorite strategy at the moment for getting out of bed to exercise when you don’t want to?