Massage Therapy for Postural Dysfunction
The thought of good posture often generates images of students walking with books balanced on their heads or rows of soldiers standing at attention. But good posture does not have to be stiff and rigid. In fact, good posture is dynamic. It is the working awareness of how gravity acts on the body. In other words, just as the body moves and changes throughout the day, so should one’s posture.
Proper posture means that the body is aligned so that all of our muscles, ligaments and joints work as they were designed to. Improper posture, on the other hand, uses inefficient muscle coordination, causing our muscles to do extra work.
For example, many people find themselves hunched over a computer for many hours of the day and coincidentally complain of upper back, neck and shoulder tension. For these fair few, as the day goes on, their heads begin to migrate towards their computer screens rather than resting evenly on top of their neck and spine. This head forward posture means that the posterior muscles of the neck remain contracted in order to hold the head up. This constant muscle contraction not only uses energy, but hinders circulation making it more difficult for oxygen and nutrients to flow through the tissues. Without adequate hydration and nutrition the contracted tissues eventually become hard and fibrous, which in turn results in muscle pain and tension.
Postural imbalances are not limited to the shoulders, head and neck. For many people who suffer from lower back, hip, knee, or foot pain, poor posture may be part of the problem.
As you can see, less-than-perfect posture means less-than-healthy muscle tissue, which then leads to muscular pain and discomfort.
Correcting Poor Posture
Massage Therapy, along with stretching and postural awerness exercises, can be an effective way to help get you “back in line.” Your massage sessions will begin with a thorough assessment of your symptoms, postural habits and day to day activities, so that you and your massage therapist can develop a therapeutic program specific to your needs. This program might include a combination of manual therapy to release hardened, fibrous tissues, movement therapy to help you find more efficient ways to move, sit, stand, reach, bend, lift and walk, and therapeutic exercises to help release the tightened muscles.
As the saying goes, “old habits die hard” and this is true for postural habits too. Massage Therapy is an effective way to help you make healthy changes in the way you sit, stand, or move.