Self Massage Techniques For A Stress Free You
You are desk bound all week, and maybe your boss is coming down on you like hell fire for no reason. You start grinding your teeth often, or even worse your upper back and shoulders are tensing up rendering you a grumpy old geezer. Self massage or trigger point release might be your best friend.
Upper back and shoulders tension are something we’ve all experienced at one point in our lives.
Why? Because we’re human and life happens. Unfortunately life isn’t always unicorns and rainbows, which means we start stressing out. We get anxious, and our bodies are just mere mirrors to what’s happening in our minds.
Like they say, we become what we think right?
Philosophy out of the way, our bodies are actually a blessing. They have their own language to tell us what’s happening with us on a daily basis.
We just need to learn the language, and listen with intension and be more mindful.
The daily stressors we all face might sometimes feel trivial, or not such a big deal. However, they add up fast and creep up on us.
Our shoulders get tense and painful, the pain even travels up your neck tensing your head muscles giving you migraines.
Massage is a conversation with your nervous system. So you want it to have the right tone. Not shouty and rude. Friendly and helpful, just like us! Dr. Jarrod Alivizatos – Director.
Luckily, there is away out to a more pain free existence.
You can either tell your boss to stuff it (not recommended), or you continue reading.
Massaging yourself might seem as useless as trying to tickle yourself. But if there is a good reason for rubbing your own muscles, it’s probably muscle “knots” or trigger points.
Knots are small patches of clenched muscle fibres that are sensitive and cause aching and stiffness.
So if one of our experienced practitioners is not available for treatment, and you need quick relief, then you can often get relief from this kind of discomfort with self massage.
Surprisingly, these nasty knots can be dealt with via a small amount of simple self-massage with your own thumbs or cheap tools like a tennis ball, or a spiky massage ball like the ones you see in our clinic.
Trapezius Muscle Pain & Aching Shoulders!
These muscles are the first to bother you when you are under stress.
They ache and burn from the base of your skull to between your shoulder blades. The good news is that they are relatively easy to massage.
The following image shows some of these trigger points to target. You can easily find them using gentle pressure with your fingers.
They can be tender and sore and have spots which “hurt so good” to be pressed. It is not hard to find knots and ropes in this muscle.
Self Massage Your Trapezius
Pressing on these points can help release the muscle and ease the pain from its strain. Use your good judgment.
Do not press so hard or long that you hurt yourself! This is about stress relief and not injury.
When you press on any of the areas shown in red, you are likely to find a tender area. Apply firm but gentle pressure for 10-30 seconds. Sometimes you will feel the muscle relax under your fingers.
For simplicity, either simply press on the trigger point directly and hold for a while (10–30 seconds), or apply small kneading strokes, either circular or back and forth, and don’t worry about the direction of the muscle fibres. Really, anything goes.
The intensity of the treatment should be Goldilocks just-right: strong enough to satisfy, but easy to live with.
On a scale of 10 — where 1 is painless and 10 is intolerable — please aim for the 4–7 range, and err on the side of gentle at first.
What should it feel like?
Pressure on a muscle knot should generally be clear and strong and satisfying; it should have a relieving, welcome quality.
This is “good pain.” If you are wincing or gritting your teeth, you probably need to be more gentle.
You need to be able to relax.
Self Massage – How To
These areas can be difficult to reach if you are trying to massage your own back. Here are some tricks to get to the sore spots!
1- Lying Down
When you lie down on your side, your trapezius muscle relaxes because it doesn’t need to hold the weight of your arms.
Be sure to use a pillow that keeps your neck exactly in line with your spine, otherwise the trap may get stressed in this position.
Once you are lying down, just knead your muscles and press on any sore spots.
2- Tennis or Spiky Massage Balls
Place a tennis ball (or hard rubber ball) under your trapezius one of the tender areas and lie on it.
You can control the location and pressure by moving your body.
The goal of self-massage for trigger points is to achieve a “release.”
What is trigger point “release” and what does it feel like?
How do you measure success? It mostly refers to an easing of sensitivity of the trigger point, and/or a softening of the tissue texture — the melting of the knot.
Immediately stop should any of the above cause any sever pain or discomfort.
Consult our experienced physiotherapy practitioners right away for a proper examination.
Happy massaging 🙂
The Team at Northern Spinal Clinic.