Is your posture causing your headaches?

Do you sit or stand all day? Would you say you sit up straight or do you feel you slump most of the day? This slumping could be the cause of your bodies aches and pains, especially headaches and neck pain.

The classic office posture involves hunching the shoulders up and slumping forward. When this happens the head naturally tilts backwards as the chin comes forward.

This posture then places a lot of load on the muscles that support your head and shoulders. The main muscles that become overused and then painful are the Upper Trapezius, Sternocleidomastoid, Sub-Occipitals, Levator Scapulae and the neck extensor muscles. Most of these muscles have trigger points that will then refer pain into the head. So the pain in your head is only being perceived in the head but the actual irritation to the soft tissues is in the neck and shoulders.

This irritation and overuse to the soft tissues is a gradual process. The pain may appear to be acute but it has actually been building up over time. It is always happening, sitting on the bus, slumping on the lounge, sleeping at night in a bad position. These small repetitions over a long period of time will gradually turn into a much larger problem.

In this posture the posterior soft tissues of the neck are compressed and the anterior tissues are lengthened. Greater pressure is placed on the posterior aspect of intervertebral discs than on the anterior, and the orientation of the facet joints changes. There is also compression of the fascia and skin on the posterior aspect of the neck. A bump can form at the back of the lower neck, sometimes referred to as dowager's hump, which can indicate tension in tissues of the chest.

So what can you do?

Well the first thing to do is to sit up straight. There is no magic exercise you can do or expensive chair you can buy to fix your posture. Posture involves awareness and breaking patterns that have been held for years. It sounds simple but noticing your posture and then changing it will be reprogramming your body/mind to actually change.

 Exercises that can be beneficial include:

- Chin Tucks to strengthen the opposing muscles in the front of the neck and also to stretch out the back of the head/neck.

-Stretching the chest and the upper trapezius will help to release the tightened muscle tissue.

-Thoracic foam rolling to open the chest can reverse the curved, slumped posture.

For more information or to have an assessment and treatment contact us on 07711 943615 or email info@wellnessmassagetherapy.co.uk

Should you crack your joints?

Do you crack your joints? If so you’ve probably wondered if it is good for you. It usually gives you a satisfying pop or crack so it can't be that bad right. If you don't crack your joints then you probably find it horrifying that people do it.

What is cracking?

Cracking or popping of a joint is basically moving the two ends of a joint away from each other (cavitation) which will then release the nitrogen gas within it. The release of this gas creates the popping sound. It can be hard to believe that this sometimes loud sound can come from a simple gas release but you could liken it to pulling a suction cup off a piece of glass.

Is cracking good for me?

Well, the short answer is we don't really no. There is no definitive proof either way. The understanding that science has as to what happens when we crack a joint appears to be very safe. Releasing of gas from a joint appears to be a natural and normal part of everyday life. The old idea that it was the bones of the joint rubbing against each other that caused the sound is not correct. If you have osteoarthritis in a joint then it would be advisable not to crack the joints as it may cause pain, it may also release tension so this would be on a case by case basis. The reason osteoarthritis may be aggravated by cracking will be that the joint won't have cartilage to protect the bone ends so they may actually rub against each other.

What about Chiropractors?

From a Chiropractors perspective they usually advise you not to crack your own joints, especially the neck, as this can over stretch the ligaments in the joint which will make them looser and crack even more. You can then get hyper mobile joints that move too much.

While we are talking Chiros we could add that the idea of putting a joint back in or that a joint can be “out” is a bit of an outdated idea. The reality of what is happening when they “adjust” a joint is just releasing gas or tension from a joint. Once you pop a joint, you will be able to pop it again approximately 20 mins later as the gas has had time to build up in the joint. It’s like cracking your knuckles. If you crack them right now, you won't be able to crack them again straight away. Our knuckles don't crack because they are out of alignment they crack because there is a gas build up in the joint which is a natural process and by product of a synovial joint.

So there you have it if you're a joint cracker and love it then there is no real proof that it is dangerous, just be careful in the neck not to over stretch it.

Our Updated Massage Menu

Remedial Massage

Our Remedial massages involve assessment, treatment and often include homework (stretches and exercises). Sessions can include a combination of Myofascial Release, Deep tissue & Trigger Point massage and stretching.

Sports Massage

Our sports massage focuses on recovery, rehabilitation and prevention for events and training sessions. Massage sessions include assessment and treatment.

Therapeutic Massage                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Our Therapeutic massages are recommended for those who enjoy regular massage. This massage walks the line between Relaxation and Remedial. Some parts will be beautifully relaxing while others, like you're "being fixed".

Relaxation Massage                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Our Relaxation massages use slow and gentle strokes to help you drift off to your happy place as the stresses of life are gently massaged out of your physical body.

Hot Stones Massage                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Our hot stones massage is a rejuvenating treatment option that uses heated stones to encourage blood flow throughout your body. This can relieve chronic pain, help de-stress your mind and body and encourage deep relaxation.