Remember. To. Breathe.
Remember to breathe.
Sounds so simple right? But under stress, we often forget to breathe.
It's an especially important message this week, but I've spoken to a massive amount of my clients over the last little while about breathwork.
Breathing wrong (yep we can do it wrong), compresses on your nerves and can be a cause of RSI. Shallow breathing in the chest causes you to use the muscles in your neck so it can cause neck and rib issues. Pins and needles. Numbness. Suppression of the immune system. And it can set us up for fight or flight - the better-known term for the stress response in our body that helps get us through challenging situations.
When that stress response starts to occur for our regular day to day activities and situations, there can be a ton of health problems that comes with it.
Who would have thought, right. So where do we start?
Have you got pain between the shoulder blades?
Do you have an area of soreness that you feel in-between your shoulder blades or even lower?
It could be coming from that area or perhaps it's coming from the front?
Your shoulder joint is so movable and even though the joint has a similar configuration to the hip joint being a ball and socket joint, the shoulder joint moves much more freely and that is what makes the shoulder such a COMPLEX joint.
The shoulder joint has super strong ligaments and so many muscles holding the joint in place and did you know to get that much movement this joint is like a basketball sitting on a teacup.
One muscle in particular could be causing your issues you are feeling in the back and this muscle is called the Pectoralis Minor muscle. The pec minor’s is on your chest under a bigger pectoralis muscle and its job is to pull the shoulder blade down – almost tipping the top of the shoulder blade forward.
So, when this muscle shortens due to altered posture overtime, the muscle can keep the shoulder blade pulled forward, and cause issues between the shoulder blades.
What we like to do is address both the back of the shoulders and upper back as well as the front to alleviate any tightness that the pectoralis muscle might be contributing too.
The advice we give is between sessions to stretch out like this and also to use a tennis ball – which can be done up against the wall or simply used to rub over the top of the muscle with the ball in the opposite hand.
If you are having any issues regarding your shoulder or upper back book in with one of our senior therapists at Massey or Hobsonville and let us take a look at that for you.
If you are unsure of what is going on with your body and are a bit confused on what action to take please do not hesitate to give Anj a call or send an email and together we can discuss some options that might be right for you.
It is well known that exercise can help with the management of chronic pain, but it is often met with uncertainty of what to do. Sometimes homework given in the form of physical activity just does not happen. So when the words, "you must do these exercises" come out of the mouth of health professionals, what goes through your mind?
Being prescribed exercises for your rehabilitation are given from Health professionals who have the best interests at heart - they want you to get better. But what happens if there is a mismatch?
Your pain is real, 100%. When acute injuries occur we now understand danger messages are sent through to the spinal cord and up to your brain. It is here your brain evaluates “how dangerous is this really” and if the brain believes it is dangerous enough it will have the outcome of pain and will conclude you need to do
something about it – taking action to protect that area.
Becoming more sensitive
Some pain can be considered an ‘everyday’ experience. For example, let’s look at a netball player, they can have an overzealous contact with another player to contest the ball, which can send them spiraling onto the court straight onto their hip or, a weird catch of the ball could have really hurt a finger or thumb. Despite these ‘hurts’ they would have shrugged it off and continued to play on.
How we come to feel and experience pain
In Part 1 we touched on the necessity of pain and how it is essential to our survival – our own alarm system which lets us know we have been hurt somewhere on our body.
We all know when we experience pain it is an unpleasant experience but did you know it is also a sensory and emotional experience.
Pain is an unpleasant experience, even more so when it becomes persistent.
You may not like experiencing pain but the reality is pain’s a normal part of life and is essential to our survival. Pain occurs when the brain perceives damage or there is a threat of damage to the body and it wants action.
Massage can certainly relax you, but did you know massage therapy can do more than that.
Here are 3 good reasons why regular massage is good for the mind and body and why you should book an appointment...
1. Lessens Anxiety and Depression = Less Stress!
Stress is a fact of life but being stressed out is not. Regular massage into your working week helps you to keep stress levels in check – be it from work deadlines, extremely busy schedules, exams or personal circumstances.
Stress from sitting all day often manifests in the shoulders and neck. Be aware that long term postural stress can start appearing as low back pain and into your gluteal muscles. Massage can counteract all the sitting that you do as it works on your body’s nervous system by decreasing the feelings of bodily tension and tightness, at the same time increasing the feel-good hormones serotonin and oxytocin.
Clients often report a sense of clarity and perspective, and they are impressed by how massage not only improving their ability to move better but also gives them a restful sleep.
2. As part of your fitness routine
There is nothing quite like the feeling you get after a good deep tissue massage, and elite athletes would think of this as unmissable and crucial to their training programme. Whether you are training hard at Olympic level, are a regular gym goer or an office worker, everyone is likely to experience discomfort or tight muscular pain at some point. Massage keeps your muscles supple allowing you to move better. It is a great preventative for injury and can also prevent the onset of fatigue especially if you are undertaking a high volume of training with little rest. Add in the feel-good benefits and you have yourself a recipe for a successful performance.
3. Treating Pain
If you have headaches, discomfort through arthritis, or an injury, massage therapy can help. Massage is a drug free, non-invasive treatment. Massage can be very helpful in alleviating pain and discomfort by increasing blood flow and circulation to the area providing the tissues with much needed nutrition, aiding in your recovery. Massage has been shown to be just as successful as other treatments with lower back pain.
Massage can help relax and decrease stress, be incorporated into your fitness routine for better performance or used as drug free pain relief improving your well-being and ultimately that goal for better quality of life.