8 times out of 10 when a client comes in for a massage, they complain of upper back pain. The shoulders, neck, and arms seem to be a big issue for most adults today. This is true seeing as how we’ve become a society of computer/desk jobs, cashiers, and more. Movement is not high up on the list, and that goes double for when you get home from a stressful day on the job(s).
Yet most people don’t realize how much their lower back, hips, and hamstrings hurt until they are massaged. A lot of my clients with mid back pain have the problem area stem from around the hips and hamstrings from sitting. The hamstrings go loose (lose slack) when you spend the day sitting. Then when you get up they stretch back, causing them to feel tight, and causing them to pull on your hips. A lot of the muscles groups around the glute area start on the iliac crest and/or femur head, then run down your leg to your knee. Some times the pain of “tight hamstrings” comes from the quads being over active from having bent legs.
I advise my clients that for every 30 minutes they are sitting or working, they should spend 5 to 10 minutes stretching and moving around. If they are available at your place of work, a standing desk is also a great buy. This allows you to stand, shift from one leg to other, and take a comfortable stance while working. Stretches are still highly recommended because we could argue that cashiers and servers are on are their feet all day, moving, but still suffer from these pains. Good supportive shoes and insoles are also worth investing in.
The key is not just movement but the quality of movement. I recommend a handful of these stretches (see HERE) to clients who sit all day. Remember to do these stretches daily, as you cannot reap the full benefits until you have made it a healthy habit!
Stephanie Friedersdorff, LMT (College Station, TX)
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Picture Credit: Pearson Education 2010