A Therapist’s Observation
Back Pain & Posture
A new client comes in with back pain or neck issues and fills in the new client form for me. I take a look at their posture. I also take a look at their occupation and am usually quite accurate in guessing where their problems are before they speak.
Plasterers, builders and plumbers I would ask if their issues are with knees, buttocks and lower back. The answer is nearly always yes (although not always yes to the knees ).
Pavers, window washers and electricians have issues with their thoracic and cervical spine / upper back, shoulders and neck and sometimes along the arm with tingling sensations in their fingers.
Neck Tension and the Cervical Spine
Secretaries and administration officers also have upper back and neck issues, plus their shoulders tend to be very rounded and their heads tilted too far forward. This automatically puts a strain on the neck and shoulder muscles. Have you weighed your head? It is rather heavy, you know. When your neck tilts forward constantly, the muscles in your neck and shoulder have to support that weight. Dowagers Hump forms at C7 (cervical spine vertebrae 7) and tension builds in the neck muscles. The Trapezius muscle also takes the strain. There are a lot of muscles connected in the neck which help support the heads upright position. When the neck is not upright but tilted forward – all those muscles are now stressing because they have to work extra hard to support your head and eventually, it takes its toll. This leads to – Common Back or Neck Problems!
When your work is repetitive – any repeated unnatural postural position that is putting a lot of strain and stress on your body, the result is stressed muscle fibres. Constant pressure placed on the muscles, ligaments and tendons in your body lends itself to complaints of back-ache, sciatica, piriformis syndrome, tension headaches and migraines, impaired mobility, frozen shoulder, carpal tunnel…. the list goes on and on.
Then along comes a stress overload and the muscle spasms, stretches, strains or tears. Either way, the owner of that body is in a lot of pain or at least really uncomfortable with a constant dull ache.
A session is booked with the massage therapist/masseuse (me) to ‘fix’ their Back Neck or Shoulder Pain & Poor Posture. The issue probably won’t reverse and correct unless the client changes their postural habits though.
Posture is so very important in everyday life. Common back or neck problems are so often associated with poor posture. I attended a Manual Handling Train the Trainer course with National Training Services and learned quite a lot from that (along with my Level 3 Anatomy & Physiology Course for massage). That information helps me now in my personal life but also helps me recognise postural issues causing so much trouble for my clients.
It has so much to do with that dreaded word – POSTURE.
Be aware of your spine. Be aware of correct positioning and correct posture because that is being responsible for your own health and wellbeing and encourages others to take the same precautions.
I am booked on a CPD course in July 2018 covering Postural Correction (hosted by the Federation of Holistic Therapists) and I am really looking forward to applying my new learning and skills to my existing work as a Massage Therapist.