In my last writing here, I gave some tips on stretching and keeping moving throughout the day while working behind a desk. Sometimes, even though helpful, doing stretches and moving just isn’t enough. You really need someone, or something, to get into those areas that are not letting go.
Some down and dirty, cheap options of working some of those muscles out can be as easy as finding a tennis ball or a wall corner to work on your back between your shoulder blades. I’m going to preface this with you need to use an abundance of caution in a few areas that could be damaged by getting into an area with harder surfaces. Less is more especially when you are first starting out.
- Please please please… stay away from any bones and bony prominences. Have you ever tried to count your vertebrae, or have you seen someone’s spine where they are thin enough that you could see bumps going down? Those are called spinous processes and most definitely need to be avoided as they can relatively easily crack or fracture if you are not careful. The shoulder blade should also be avoided. Besides fractures and cracks, these areas can be bruised easily if you are not careful. Stay in the thicker muscle portions of your back.
- Do NOT use any fingers or implements in areas we therapists call “endangerment areas.” These areas include your armpits (elbow and knee “pits” also), side and front of your neck (the really “squishy areas” of these). These are the areas that your blood vessels and nerves go through, so if you were to try to “dig into” these areas, you are in danger of causing nerve damage and severely damaging your arteries and veins.
- Be sure to do both sides even if the other side isn’t hurting. Many times, if you don’t, that side will start hurting, or the side that was originally hurting won’t really resolve. Balance is key (that’s a pretty good live lesson in general, isn’t it?)
If you need more help, where these general options are not enough or they can not be used to pinpoint the spot you really feel needs to be worked on, there are some great products out there that can be very helpful. The above cautions are especially necessary with these options. I will take this time to mention that these links I am providing, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
- Thera Cane. I have one in my home that is readily available. This one you can take apart, so it is easier to pack when traveling, and who doesn’t need help with pain while traveling? It comes with an instructional video, but you can always contact me with any questions. If you want to shop local, I have read that Thera Canes can be purchased at Natural Grocers.
- Massage Cups: I have recently added these to my practice and have noticed a real difference. Instead of a constant pushing in with massage, the suction action can help pull the tissues apart gently. Small amounts of time in the surrounding areas of pain can help open things up and the tissues can begin the healing process.
- The Guide to Modern Cupping Therapy, by Shannon Gilmartin, CMT: This is a great guide to starting out with Massage Cups. It has a couple different kinds of cups in the book, but the ones referenced above are plenty for between visits
- 321 Strong Foam Roller: Foam rollers can be helpful in many ways. There are many videos online that show great ways to help problem areas.
With any of these options, I would be more than happy to guide you with how to use these tools. Hopefully these ideas can help you get to your next massage appointment.