Upper Back Tension - Forward Head Posture

Upper Body Tension is  something that people experience this days.  They talk about feeling of stiffness in the upper body but don't think anything of it, as if it's normal....and nothing to do with being healthy. They will say "my neck is giving me gyp" or "oh, it's just old age"  not understanding that what is actually going on is the build up of tension. And  I am hearing  this from people in their twenties!!  Our working culture is accelerating this syndrome of "Forward Head Posture".

"Forward Head Posture"; a phrase that has been coined to describe what is happening to us as we spend more and more time sat in a chair with our head craned forward, looking at a computer screen.  As your head leans forward it is losing the support of the spine and so it has to flex and strain the neck and top of the shoulder muscles.  Imagine your head being held up in mid-air with nothing below to support it.  These muscles will have to work really hard to HOLD the head up..... literally!

It has been said that this is the equivalent of carrying a four stone child around your neck.  It is little wonder that we can feel "weighed down" literally.  The longer this goes on the more tired and overloaded the muscles get, and slowly the neck starts to drop forward.  Further along the road this begins to impact on the upper spine and what you see developing is what is known as curvature of the spine.   

Did you know that up to 60% of tension in the body can be held in the Trapezius Muscles at the top of the shoulders and neck.  This "Forward Head Posture" syndrome need not have to become the case, with good postural practice & awareness; and Massage Therapy of course. Massage Therapy comes into it's own when dealing with the stress put upon the upper back and posture.  If those tense muscles could speak, they would probably tell you that they are tired, sore, need a break, or are quite simply not going to be able to carry on much longer.  

Massage Therapy helps to release tension in those muscles that have become very tight, and restore elasticity to the muscle fibres.  And improve circulation of blood and oxygen to the head and brain.  It also allows more flexibility in the spine thus improving postural alignment.  Otherwise, prolonged poor posture can lead to things like fatigue, low energy, headaches, and low mood......  

Upper Body Tension and "Forward Head Posture" are  most definitely something to become aware of if you are spending long hours at the desk.  The occupational health "hazards", and postural stress of desk-based work can produce similar characteristics to Sports Injuries.

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The SENSATIONAL experience of Massage Therapy

The experience of massage can be SENSATIONAL and is often experienced as sensations of comfort, pain, relief, achiness, having the memory of an injury when it occured, to name but a few.

  These are all part of the healing process which massage aims to facilitate.  The client will often feed back on how the massage is feeling, as it progresses, guiding the practitioner in their work.  Working on old/chronic tension & postural issues can be painful, but if the pain can be willingly experienced more as a sensation,  then I may hear the client say that it is "a good pain". and that feels like it is releasing tension.  It is deeply rewarding to hear the client say this.  This can also be reflected by the quality of softness I can now feel in the tissues.

Thus we are able to let go of the tensions we are carrying/holding........giving rise to a new sensation of RELAXATION that may not have been felt before.  This is often felt after the massage session has finished.  And that can truly feel SENSATIONAL!!!

Looking after your posture

Most of the time, sat in front of the computer, we are lost in our minds, day dreaming of where else we would rather be, and "mindless" of what is happening to our neck and posture.  Unaware of how tension is building up around the upper back, neck and shoulders. Sounds familiar?? Massage can release that tension and revitalise our mind, thus enhancing our focus & energy