I don’t know about you but down time seems harder and harder to come by these days…
One of my goals for the new year was to give each room in the house a thorough cleaning – walls washed, nail holes filled, drapes freshened up (I like to do this once a decade whether things need it or not!!) – and I am coming along I must say! But at the end of a long day the last thing I feel like doing is teetering on a step stool with a wet rag and a bucket of murky water!!
I have found taking it one room at a time and not getting ahead of myself to be most helpful to me. Often my thoughts will get away from me and make something into a bigger job than need be. So I go one step at a time and quit when I am tired. I have not needed to give up my nighttime reading or WWF and I still purposely schedule my massage…after all of the cleaning my shoulders can really use it!!
Massage Basics – Headaches
You may remember last month’s article which defined a trigger point as a taut muscle that has a predictable, radiating pain pattern. Well clinical observation confirms that many headaches originate in trigger points in the neck muscles. These headaches can be reduced and even eliminated by resolving cervical (neck) trigger points!
Many people walk and sit with their heads in front of their body. When you are out and about next time watch people from the side. You will find that their ears are often completely in front of their shoulders. This positioning may not be an issue at first, but over time can build up neck tension that can result in head pain (ie headaches).
Treatment of these muscles is easy and does not have to require deep pressure – you are probably catching on by now that deep tissue massage is not the only or always the best type of massage therapy for relief.
Additionally, a massage therapy session places you in a position to relax, allow someone else to handle things, and have someone think about you for an hour…and in today’s world that is a rarity!
Anatomy 101 – Scalenes
The scalenes are known for their ability to refer pain.
They function to hold up the ribcage and to tilt the head side to side, as if saying “I don’t know.” Sometimes the body uses them in breathing which can create a lot of muscles tightness and pain.
You may have heard of the term “thoracic outlet”? It is the area defined by the scalenes and the first rib. The axillary artery and the brachial plexus (brachial and radial nerves that go down the arm) weave in and out of the scalenes and if the scalenes are tight or not moving properly they can entrap these arteries and nerves creating pain that runs over the shoulder, across the upper chest and all the way down the arm and into the wrist.
You may be wondering at this point about Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Yes, it is related. Actually the clinical name for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is Thoracic Outlet Syndrome!
Could checking in with a therapeutic massage therapist be a non-invasive way to see if you would achieve a reduction in wrist and arm pain? You bet! To be effective you need focus on the mentioned areas. You would need an anatomically savvy therapist who will sit down on a stool next to your head and work on this area for the duration of your session. One or two swipes over the skin in the neck area with some great smelling massage oil is not what your going for here! And if it is hard to pass up the chance to get someone to rub your back, consider 2 30 min appointments – one for the neck issue and a second one with more of a relaxation focus. This way you and your therapist are able to focus on the pain issue making sure it is addressed.
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