Your trapezius muscles, or "traps," form a cape across your upper back, running from your skull and the spine of your neck and upper back to your shoulder blades and collar bones. The upper traps shrug your shoulders toward your ears. The middle traps pull your shoulder blades toward the spine, while the lower traps draw them down your back.
Trap pain is classic stress pain. Your shoulders ache, your neck hurts and it is often deep and achy. You may have a headache, especially in the temples or behind your eyes or at the base of your skull. You may feel burning between your shoulder blades after sitting at your computer without elbow support.
So what causes it and what can you do?
Massage Mama offers a range of relaxing massage treatments in the comfort and convenience of your home.
While massage is popular as a mental relaxation tool, it can also go a long way in improving your physical well being. Therapeutic massage helps improve circulation, increases range of motion, reduces headaches, and even lowers the stress hormone cortisol, making it a highly effective way to improve your general wellness or treat certain health conditions, such as:
Arthritis. Because massage improves circulation, it is often used by people who suffer from inflammatory conditions like osteoarthritis. Studies have shown that regular massages can help reduce pain and stiffness, improvehand grip strength, increase range of motion, and improve overall joint function for patients with arthritis.
Carpal Tunnel. If you’re suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, which is often caused by repetitive activities such as typing, massage may help alleviate your pain. Carpal tunnel occurs when the nerves in your anterior wrist become compressed or inflamed, and massage relieves that compression.
Migraines. Migraines, or tension headaches, are often brought on by stress, so one of the best ways to treat chronic migraines is with a stress-reducing massage. Studies reveal that massages reduce the level of cortisol in the body, and many people report feeling more relaxed and sleeping better after they’ve had a massage.
Sports Injuries. Whether you’re a professional athlete or a casual exerciser, therapeutic massages may help if you suffer from a sports injury. Many injuries occur due to the overuse of certain muscles, and massage can help relax those muscles so you recover more quickly and are less likely to suffer from an injury in the future. Even if you’re recovering from a more serious injury, such as a broken bone, massage may help the rehabilitation process by reducing stiffness and restoring movement.
Lower Back Pain. Lower back pain is often caused by muscle soreness or even a muscle strain, and, as anyone who has ever experienced this type of recurring pain before, can sometimes be hard to manage. Massage treats lower back pain by decreasing the tension and muscles and by improving circulation so the muscles and tissues of the lower back can get the nutrition they need.
Sciatica. This condition, which is caused when the roots of the sciatic nerve are compressed, leads to sharp, shooting leg pain that’s almost unbearable at times. A Professional licensed Massage Therapist may be able to reduce that pain by massaging the muscles of the leg to improve circulation and reduce the compression.
This is just a small sampling of the types of health conditions that a massage can help manage. If you’re suffering from chronic pain or a stress-induced injury, talk to your doctor about whether massage may complement your treatment.
Massage therapy can be beneficial to people of all ages and conditions and is widely used to help obtain relief from many specific problems, including:
A technique involving deep bodywork designed to improve your circulation, take some of the strain off your muscles and joints, and generally re-energize you.
What It Does: Anyone who's ever had a professional massage (whether pregnant or not) knows that both body and mind feel better after a rubdown. Studies show that massage can reduce stress hormones in your body and relax and loosen your muscles. It can also increase blood flow, which is so important when you're pregnant, and keep your lymphatic system working at peak efficiency, flushing out toxins from your body. And it reconnects your mind with your body, a connection that's comforting during the constant changes to your body during pregnancy.
During pregnancy, regular prenatal massages may not only help you relax, but may also relieve insomnia, joint pain, neck and back pain, leg cramping, and sciatica. Additionally, it can reduce swelling in your hands and feet (as long as that swelling isn't a result of pre eclampsia), relieve carpal tunnel pain, and alleviate headaches and sinus congestion — all common pregnancy problems.
Deep tissue or sports massage is aimed at working the deep tissue structures of the muscles and connective tissue. Deep tissue is similar to swedish in the use of similar movements and techniques like slow strokes, however pressure will be harder and more intense, focusing on specific areas where there is chronic muscle tension. Deep tissue relieves pain and muscle stiffness resulting from sports injuries, arthritis, fibromyalgia, muscle spasms, carpal tunnel syndrome and whiplash ( holistic pages)
As new mothers we spend many hours of the day and night feeding our babies. Too often we unconsciously slouch into positions that stress our joints, ligaments, and muscles. This habit aggravates postpartum postural problems, and can cause painful muscle spasms and injury. Most couches and chairs are designed for style, not ergonomics, and provide insufficient support to the lower back. When it comes to furniture, one size definitely does not fit all, especially for women.
Without proper lower back support, it can be almost impossible to avoid rolling back onto the tailbone or sacroiliac joints as we sit and feed our babies. This position curves the spine, collapses the chest, and rounds the shoulders forward. Sitting for long periods of time with poor posture further stresses already lax postpartum ligaments, compresses vertebral disks, and increases muscular imbalances in the torso and shoulder girdle. And the result is PAIN!
Many new moms tend to bring their breast down to their baby during nursing, rather than bringing their baby up to their breast. Rounding the upper back makes the nipple hang downward at an poor angle for feeding. Large-breasted women often feel that they must lift the breast and turn the nipple with one hand so that it faces directly outward while nursing. This places a lot of strain on the wrist. In most cases, the nipple hangs at a poor angle because the mother’s shoulders and upper back are rounded. When the spine is in the neutral position, the nipple automatically lifts to an advantageous angle for feeding.
Because carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive stress injuries of the hand and wrist are common after pregnancy, continually supporting the breast while feeding is not advisable. Also avoid crossing the legs, or placing one ankle across the opposite knee, while nursing. These positions stress ligaments in the lower back, reducing the integrity and stability of the pelvis.
Give your body a much needed break by setting up an ergonomic breast-feeding station in your house. You’ll need a well fitting chair with arm rests and one or more pillows to ensure that your spine and shoulders are in the best position possible. A large water bottle is a good idea too.
In the ideal sitting position, your pelvis and spine will be in a neutral position, with the natural "S" curves of your spine intact. If not using a foot stool, your feet should rest flat on the floor with a right angle at both your knees and hips. Your body weight should rest on the bottom of your pelvis -- your "sit bones". Most chair backs tilt slightly back. This means that your spine will be neutral and on a slight back diagonal.
You can use a lumbar support pillow, or roll a hand towel into a cylinder and place it behind the small of your back to help support your spine. Lean your upper torso back into chair and allow your shoulders to drop down the back. Lengthen the back of you neck and roll your chin toward your chest. The center of your ears, shoulders and hips should form one long line. Since the neutral position increases the distance between your breasts and your hips, you might need an extra pillow to elevate your baby to the correct height.
If your breasts still need support in the neutral position, roll up a small towel or receiving blanket and gently wedge it underneath your breast to increase comfort. Ideally, your baby should be well balanced and at the correct height, so that you do not need to continually use your arms and hands to support her body weight during feedings.
Pregnancy and childbirth alter the dynamic structure of your body on many levels, leaving you in a weakened state that is vulnerable to pain and injury. By utilizing good postural habits while caring for your newborn, you can avoid and/or solve many common postpartum physical complaints.
Info from Helene Byrne. For more information visit www.exerciseafterpregnancy.com
Ever notice when you are lying on your side that your top hip isn’t even with your bottom hip? Your legs are usually centered beneath you, but when you lie on your side, your top leg moves down with the force of gravity to rest on the bed’s surface, creating torsion in your pelvis and extra tension in your low back. If you are pregnant, it already exacts a huge toll on your pelvic bowl - the weight of the baby rests there and the three separate bones that create the pelvis become hypermobile and can painfully move out of alignment. 80% of pregnant women report low back pain at some time during their pregnancy, so your back needs all the support it can get. To return your legs to alignment (and hips, and back), straighten your bottom leg, then bend your top leg and add a large pillow beneath it. The mass of the pillow ought to allow your top hip, knee and foot to sit at the same height, and ideally, the pillow will be pretty much the length of your leg. There are large specialty pregnancy pillows you can buy, or in a pinch, try a very firm king-sized bed pillow. Either way, this is going to release low back tension and keep you centered.
View the complete range of pregnancy massages HERE
Anice Lombard, Massage Mama. Mama of 2 and Massage Therapist