The average human spends around 1/3 of his or her life sleeping. Sleep is the time when our body regenerates, and in the case of your muscles and bones, realign and rest in preparation for the new day.
That’s where things go wrong. Because of habit, environment, or other physical factors, many of us choose sleeping positions that actually contribute to stress and strain on our muscles, particularly in the upper body.
“Eighty percent of the population will have back problems at some point in [their] lives oftentimes caused or aggravated by the way they sleep,” Dr. Hooman Melamed, an orthopedic spine surgeon at the DISC Sports & Spine Center in Los Angeles, Calif.,
There’s a reason that lower back pain is one of the most common chronic conditions affecting Americans. More than 80% of us have it at least once in our life. More women suffer from chronic back pain than men. Older-age adults are more susceptible to back pain than younger adults or children.
The bones and muscles in your back work hard to keep you upright and serve as pivot points for everything from running to grabbing the pen you’ve dropped on the floor. Turns out there are some very common ways to mess your back up. Knowing these helps be proactive to avoid the pain before it’s too late, or, at least, recognize a possible cause of back pain if (and when) you get it.
1. Don’t take your eyes and fingers off your smartphone–ever. Today’s always-connected lifestyle is creating new problems with more aches and pains in shoulders, necks and backs. Look around. See anyone else hunching over thumb-scrolling for many minutes at a time? The research is growing about the impact all the poor posture created by mobile device use is having on all of us.
The solution: Limit the time you spend on any hand-held electronic device to no more than 15 minutes without a break. Sit up straight and don’t hunch over when you’re texting. Keep your elbows at a 90 degree angle.Watch the screen time on your laptop or desktop computer, too. Take breaks at least every 45 minutes for at least 2 minutes per break. Continue reading “Seven Ways to Mess Up Your Back”
In 2007, just 5% of physicians recommended massage as part of wellness and recovery, in 2013 that number climbed to 59% and it’s still growing.
It’s no secret that many physicians recommend massage, and that many are massage clients themselves. According to the results of a 2011 survey conducted by the American Hospital Association’s Health Forum, the use of massage is on the rise.
Continue reading “Why Your Physician Likes Massage”
It’s good to stop and take a look at yourself now and then. In addition to the good things in life, we all get a few challenges. Sometimes you get injured. Sometimes you become ill. Sometimes your work, your family and your relationships cause you stress. Sometimes your muscles ache. And sometimes, you are just tired and need a break from your insane schedule. There’s a growing base of research that suggests that regular massage can have a profound positive effect on most of the challenges you face.
Take a look at this list of common wellness issues and check any and all that apply to you, then check the list below to see how you can more toward more wellness:
___ I am under stress from a relationship, from work, or just life in general.
___ I am very active and sometimes experience aches and pains
___ I am not as active as I should be and sometimes experience stiffness and soreness
Continue reading “Wellness Check Up”
About 2% to 10% of people who experience lower back pain develop chronic low back pain, which affects daily living for at least 3 months. The causes are many since the spine and muscles in the lower back are involved in most of the movement we do on a daily basis. Here are a few of the most common ones:
1. The way you sit. Poor sitting posture can result in lower back injuries and contribute to the poor positioning of other parts of the body, such as the arms, wrists, and legs. You can make some small changes that can have a big impact on your posture and in turn reduce chronic pain in your arms, fingers, lower back and legs.
2. The way you sleep. Many shoulder, upper and lower back issues are caused, or exacerbated, by incorrect sleep posture. Whether it’s your pillow, the position of your arms or the firmness or softness of your mattress, changes in sleep posture are easy to do and can have a huge impact both on the quality of sleep you get, and how you feel when you wake up. Continue reading “Top Four Reasons You Have Lower Back Pain”
As massage therapists, we see lots of neck, shoulder and upper back issues–many of which can be worsened by incorrect sleep posture. That favorite pillow that keeps you company each night may actually be adding to your misery.
The average pillow has a lifespan of a little less than 1 year, and there are more reasons than you might imagine why you should replace your pillows right now!
1 Pillows lose their fluff. Whether you have foam or feathers, the internal structure of a pillow degrades over time. The pillow becomes flat and needs constant fluffing to keep support. A flat pillow can contribute to sleep apnea, snoring, headaches, back pain, neck cramps and poor posture.
2 Pillows get gross. Even if you have a zippered pillow cover, your pillow picks up all sort of non-hygienic things over time. Just like changing out your toothbrush (you DO change your toothbrush periodically, right?), your pillow can become a breeding ground for some really nasty bacteria. Continue reading “Three Reasons to Replace Your Pillow”
An estimated 45 million Americans suffer from chronic headaches, and whether the headache is tension-related or a full-blown migraine, massage therapy may help.
Chronic headaches are one of the most common complaints made to healthcare professionals each year. Headaches are most often treated with over-the-counter or prescription medication. While these treatments are effective, they can be a temporary solution for a chronic problem.
Most headaches fall into one of two categories: tension and migraine. Tension headaches can be caused by stress, dehydration, muscle spasms, trigger points, eye strain, hormonal changes, neck misalignment, or TMJ.
Continue reading “Massage Therapy for Headaches”
In any given year, one in 10 (10%) of men and women in the US experience lower back pain. Some just deal with it, others are more proactive.
Lower back pain is one of the top reasons people seek medical attention in the U.S., and it is notoriously tough to treat. Most lower back pain comes from injury or overuse of muscles, ligaments and joints. Less common are pressure on nerve roots, compression fractures and infections.
Studies show very few medical therapies, from medications to injections to surgeries, reliably relieve it, and some can aggravate the problem. A new study randomly assigned 400 adults with moderate-to-severe low back pain lasting for at least three months to either weekly whole-body massages for relaxation, weekly massages that focused on specific muscle problems around the lower back and hips, or usual care (“control group”). Continue reading “Relieving Lower Back Pain”
Massage therapy is one of the best investments you can make for your personal well-being. All kinds of people seek massage therapy for all kinds of different reasons. The end result is almost always pain relief and relaxation.
Here’s a snapshot of some of the client types who already benefit from regular massage.
- Betty Back Pain. Back pain comes from joints, muscles, joints in the spine, bones, and nerves around the back. The pain could be in one area or could have a wider spread effect on an individual. A massage helps Betty feel and function better compared to her friends who don’t receive any massage treatment. Studies show it improves her range of motion and decreases discomfort, too. Continue reading “Five Massage Therapy Snapshots: Is This You?”