I have been speaking to a lot of clients about counteracting their daily posture with stretches and corrective exercises. I have been working closely with a new patient of mine who is a hairdresser and has complaints of neck and shoulder pain, with associated headaches. She also suffers from fatigue in her lower back.
She spends 10 hours a day at work standing and always having her hands held up in front of her styling people’s hair. Due to this consistent movement and muscle control, the muscles become very tired and this predisposes them to trigger points which cause pain and weakness.
Due to her forward standing position at work, I use soft tissue massage through her pectoral muscles (chest) to reduce the tightness in the front of her body. This enables her to stand up straighter. We use the same treatment to the front of the neck, Scalenes, sternocleidomastoid and then to levator scapulae and sub occipitals which sit at the back of the neck. We also use soft tissue massage to her mid back region (thoracic).
My client is taking control of her pain and discomfort by also doing some strengthening of her posterior back muscles at the gym to maintain the strength in her back which will help her stand up straight and stop her from getting too tight through her chest.
She has to counteract the 10 hours of work in a forward posture with corrective exercise at the gym and also a daily stretching program that I have given to her on a take home exercise sheet. Due to her busy day and time limits, she has a goal to stretch before work, in between every third client, her lunch break, once in the afternoon and when she finishes work of a night time. These stretches include chest (pectoral muscles), neck stretches and also arm and wrist stretches.
Although 20 minutes of stretching doesn’t seem like enough to counteract the posture she has at work, she has combined her daily stretches and exercise with regular myotherapy to maintain her body, and after 3 sessions at Elite Myotherapy we have had some great results. When I saw her today she was feeling great and has had no discomfort or pain since her last myotherapy appointment which was two weeks ago!
By Justine White – Elite Myotherapist