Rounded shoulders (shoulders roll forward) are often the result of slouching in front of a desk but can also result from how you work out at the gym. Either way, it can cause pain and aching in the upper back and have a knock on effect on the rest of the back. The rounding of shoulders also encourages the head to extend forward, causing neck pain.
If you work to improve your posture you will help reduce these pains and will have the additional effect of allowing your diaphragm to work properly, allowing a deeper breath and increased oxygen into the body.
How can I help improve this aspect of my posture? NB: If you are unsure about any of the exercises and stretches in this months focus, or have an injury which may be effected by doing them, please contact me before trying them.
Exercise: Tighten your pelvic muscles, lift your chest, retract your head and move your shoulder blades down and together. Hold for 20 seconds if you can and repeat throughout the day. Try it when at your desk, sitting on the train, standing at the bus stop.
Stretch: Stretch out your pectorial muscles when your muscles are warm. Do this by placing your arm with elbow bent at 90 deg against a door frame. Without leaning towards/ away from the wall with your body step your inside leg forward and slowly move your weight on to it. (See picture) You should feel a stretch across the top of your chest. Hold for 20 seconds if you can. Repeat 3 times.
How can Jīròu help? Sports Therapy can reduce rounded shoulders and reduce the upper back and neck pain they cause. Treatments will include Myofascial Release, Sports Massage, Soft Tissue Release, Soft Tissue Mobilisation and Trigger Point Release and Exercise Therapy.
What are the benefits of having a pre and post sports massage by Jīròu?
Pre event: A pre event massage can help an athlete by assisting in their warm up routine by; warming the main muscles to be used, increasing circulation, warming joints, improving the neuromuscular responses required for the activity, invigorate and providing a psychological boost. (either invigorate or calming). Techniques used are not deep but should be brisk and may include effleurage, petrissage, tapotement, as well as mobilising and stretching. If you are new to massage it is a good idea to try out a pre event massage prior to any major event e.g. before a training session, so that you know what to expect.
Post event: Massage can help an athlete recover from an event as it helps return the athlete to their pre event state, relax them and encourage the removal of toxins, including lactate and also reduce the effect of DOMs (delayed onset of muscle soreness). It is more relaxing and deeper than pre event massage and it is an opportunity for a therapist to identify any minor injuries and niggles and tight areas which may require treatment. Techniques are performed slowly and include effleurage, vibration, stretching and light stripping.
What to do in the first few days following an acute soft tissue injury.
Assuming your injury hasn’t required a trip to the hospital, for example it is a slight strain or sprain to the ankle, then following the RICE protocol will help your injury in the early stages of recovery. (If in doubt about the severity of your injury you should always seek the advice of a medical practitioner.)
If the area of your injury is still red and warm to the touch (compared to surrounding areas) then the best treatment for your injury is RICE:
Rest: This does not mean immobilise the injured area, it is better to gently move the joint keeping the movement in the pain free range.
Ice: Do not apply ice directly. The area should be iced for a maximum of 20 mins every 2 hours (the time should be reduced for small areas like ankles, wrists etc.) A good way to do this is to fill a polystyrene cup with water and freeze it. When using the ice gently move the ice cup over the inflamed area. Keeping the cup moving will prevent any tissue damage due to the cold. (Remember to have a towel nearby to catch the melt water).
Compression: This is to help limit the amount of swelling. Do not compress too much as that will cut off circulation. It is best to remove any strapping at night.
Elevate: This will help reduce the amount of waste, dead cells etc. from pooling.
How can Jīròu help? Once the redness and heat have gone from the injury site then we will be able to start your treatment and rehabilitation programme, using soft tissue techniques and exercise therapy.