Ladies, you often heft heavy bags onto your shoulder. Guys, you keep it simple, paring down to a bulky wallet stuffed in a back pocket. Moms and dads you frequently carry toddlers and small children on your hip. All of these common habits can contribute to chronic back, neck and shoulder pain. Even kids can develop chronic pain from carrying heavy backpacks equal to (or in excess of), their actual body weight. Kids toting a bass drum or tuba for band practice can result in mysterious sore aching muscles and back, neck and shoulder pain.
Heavy Bags & Other Accessories
Schlepping heavy purses, backpacks, and computer bags can a the source of neck, back and shoulder pain. When carried on one shoulder, the extra weight causes you to lean to one side, and the other side to contract, stressing muscles (especially in shoulders), resulting in chronic pain. Accessories like bangles, bracelets and/or large rings can put excessive pressure on the hands, fingers and joints.
Flip flops and high heels
Flimsy footwear, like strappy sandals or cushy flip flops, affect more than just your feet. High heels tilt the pelvis forward, destabilizing the ankle joint, over-arching the back which places excessive pressure on the balls of feet. For example, 3” heels increase the pressure on the balls of the feet by up to 76%. Flip-flops offer neither support nor protection for feet, and even sometimes contribute the development of plantar fasciitis.
Up-dos are great for special occasions, but for everyday wear, tight hairstyles pull the head forward and tighten the skin around the skull, causing tension headaches. In some cases, routinely clasping hair in tight bands or braids can cause hair loss.
Guys are notorious for stuffing wallets into their back pockets. However, sitting on bulky wallets torques the pelvis, forces one side to angle too high. This misalignment causes everything else to shift, but not in a good way. When the hips rotate, one side is more contracted than other, which tilts one shoulder and leads to chronic pain.
Clothes which compress organs can impede efficient digestion. Tight clothing restricts movement, causing muscle strain. If your rib cage becomes restricted, shallow breathing can result. And remember, spandex can be friend or foe, depending on your body type, the fit and the occasion.
Massage can do a lot to soothe aches, relief pain and release muscle tension and stress. Be sure to discuss any pain and stiffness you are experiencing with your massage therapist. Together, you may be able to determine the source of chronic pain to prevent recurrence.
August 5th 2016 marks the beginning of the Summer Olympics. Thousands of athletes from around the world will march in the opening ceremony. On the sidelines and in the gyms, you will find doctors, athletic trainers, and physical therapists ready to assist. You will also find many qualified, skilled massage therapists, ready to provide sports massage, a type of specialized bodywork tailored to the specific needs of athletes.
Sports Massage at the Olympics
Sports massage gained momentum in the 1970’s when Olympian Lasse Viren (a.k.a. “The Flying Finn”) credited his back-to-back Olympic Gold Medals to the sports massage he received between training sessions. While there are many subtypes of sports massage, the basic protocols target specific muscle groups, utilize specialized strokes, and incorporate stretching and range-of-motion exercises. The ultimate goal for sports massage is peak performance and the avoidance or reduction of injuries.
Uniquely, sports massage is segmented into pre- and/or post-event sessions (each lasting 10-30 thirty minutes). Pre-event massage prepares an athlete to compete. It warms up the muscles, stimulates the nervous system, and increases blood flow to targeted areas. Friction, vigorous compression, and tapotement are common massage strokes utilized in pre-event massage. Post-event massage, performed after the event and a cool down, soothes the athlete’s muscles and calms the central nervous system. Gentle compression, effleurage, and stretching are effective bodywork techniques frequently utilized in post-event massage to aid in an athlete’s recovery.
Whether you’re an Olympian, an aspiring Olympian, a professional, or an amateur weekend warrior, you could benefit from sports massage. If you or someone you know is looking for professional sports massage in Central Florida, ask your Take 5 Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT) for advice or for a potential referral.
One of the awesome licensed massage therapists we discovered heading to the Rio Olympics is Lori-Ann Gallant-Heilborn, LMT, a four-time massage veteran of the Olympic Games. In an interview with Massage Magazine, Gallant-Heilborn stressed the importance of sports therapists knowing the muscles, muscle groups, and how to gain the desired effects from soft tissue manipulation. You can follow her journey at the 2016 Olympics at http://www.ultimate-sports-massage.com.
Lori-Ann Gallant-Heilborn, LMT Four Time Olympic Massage Therapist
Compassion fatigue is a common hazard that care-givers face and is often the result of chronic stress that accompanies care-giving. Mother Teresa once wrote to her superiors, that it was imperative that her nuns take an entire year off to allow them to restore their own health and sense of well-being after long stints of caring for others.
Characterized by waking up tired, emotional exhaustion, loss of sense of self, isolation, feeling frustrated or easily irritated, aches, pains, and illness, compassion fatigue can take weeks to surface. The path back to wellness lies in self-care: getting adequate rest, moderate exercise, healthy food, and spending time socializing with family and friends.
The Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project created a “The Caregiver’s Bill of Rights” a helpful guide to self-care and wellness for professional caregivers.
Amazing athletes show up in our massage chairs: beginners, amateurs, seasoned pros and even the top tier elite athletes! The US Olympic diving team (and their coaches) recently training in Orlando, found their way into our chairs! During the annual Arnold Palmer Invitational Golf Tournament, golfers and golf fans alike find us. And year-round, Disney Marathoners show up to relax and restore in our chairs (before or after) their races.
After all, competitive athletics and massage therapy go waaaay back – all the way to 776 BC (the Greek Olympics). Massage warms and loosens muscles before a competition and helps to reduce swelling and pain afterwards. Massage soothes the central nervous system, improves range of motion, reduces muscle fatigue and promotes healing. Today massage is highly sought out by athletes in all sports, at all levels, all over the world.
Athletes, like the rest of us, also appreciate chair massage – it’s efficient, effective, affordable, and convenient. Since chair massage relieves tension, reduces pain, relieves headaches and promotes well-being – it’s a win for athletes at any level, regardless of their goals or their outcomes.