Saturday, November 30, 2013

Always listen to your body

I've said this thousands of times to my clients, group fitness classes, and myself.  No matter what stage you are in regarding your overall wellness, I stand firm that you should always listen to your body.  I've been noticing that I've had more knots and pain than usual in my rhomboids, traps, and shoulders.  About a month ago, I caught myself in the middle of a seated shoulder press exercise when I almost dropped the weight.  After that occurred, I noticed that I had a pesky pull in my rotator cuff.  The pain subsided pretty quickly, and the spot was a little tender for a day or so.  I paid attention to the area to ensure that a serious injury hadn't occurred.  My rotator cuff felt fine within a short period of time, so I just continued to focus on proper lifting form, stretching, and foam rolling.

I decided to get a massage last week because I noticed that my shoulder knots were more pronounced than they usually are.  The masseuse commented that the knots were "attached to me like they were my my best friend."  Even after 90 minutes of kneading, there was still very little relief.  I decided to get a 2 hour hot stone massage last night to continue trying to release the knots.  I've worked with this particular masseuse before, and he remembered my naturally tight traps.  He was finally able to break down the knots, which provided some relief.  He gave me some excellent advise and mentioned that the cause of the issue was tight pectoral muscles.  The good news is that these conditions can be corrected with regular, consistent attention.

I've always known the importance of stretching and body work.  I will be the first to admit that I get a "fail" when it comes to consistency of stretching.  I've really improved over the past several months. However, spending 10-12 hours a day at the computer and sitting down does not help this condition at all.  I found some really great yoga videos online and decided to purchase a convenient yoga travel kit.  I won't even make any outrageous statements that I will plan to incorporate yoga into my practice 3 times per week, because I would be lying to myself.  I'll just plan to do a little better every day to try to heal my body from poor posture and too many hours working at the computer. It all takes a toll on your body.  I've always been concerned with the posture that the body is placed in while looking at a phone, texting, surfing the internet using a small device, etc.  I get concerned about the pressure being placed on the neck and the rounding of the shoulders.  When I started chiropractic care in 2009, the doctor mentioned that my spine was 100% healthy until he got to my neck.  As such, my body has started to exhibit 'forward head posture'.  I continue to engage in regular chiropractic care, but until life changes occur, I will continue to suffer.

I encourage you to become aware of the ways in which you may be overusing your body or putting it into compromising positions just based on the daily tasks that you may engage in.  Take some quiet time to perform an assessment of what you feel in your body today.  What is tight?  Where do you have trigger points or knots?  Yoga, pilates, and any type of regular stretching routine will help.  I encourage you to explore various techniques that will help you consciously fix your posture.

Below is a great video that I found from Brooke Thomas introducing a stretch called 'Open Sesame' for tight chest muscles, specifically the pectoralis minor.  For me, this area is a contributor to my issues.  My pectoralis minor is constantly shortened, which means that my neck, traps, shoulders, and rhomboids overcompensate and under constant activation (which causes the knots and discomfort).  This stretch (and a few others) are outlined in a blog post that I found on Yoga Tune Up.

Good luck!

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