I have a client, we will call her Jane. Jane had been experiencing lots of tightness in her upper body, making any movement with her arms very painful.
Jane was in pain so she was popping ibuprofen like it was her job. It worked – kinda, but the cycle had to be continuously repeated to find relief from the pain.
Any drug you take is going to have some sort of imbalancing effect on your system. Over the counter pain meds can be very harsh and damaging to your stomach and liver. All this for something that doesn’t solve your problem. But it is just so easy to pop a pill….
Imagine a tree in the forest. Cut off a limb and the limb can just grow back. Why?
I recommended Jane see a trusted massage therapist. The therapist worked on her trigger points and moved her through gentle motions.
I saw Jane after her massage and her posture had improved; she could move her arms behind and overhead. She was a totally different being than she was just the day before.
Her relief was instant and she did not add further stress to her system. She had found the root to her problem – trigger points leading to muscle imbalances.
Habitual movement patterns, stress, and trauma (physical and psychological) can lock up our muscular system.
The thing about tight muscles is they can inhibit the opposite muscle from being allowed to fire. For the science nerds, this is known as reciprocal inhibition.
The body likes stability, if the right muscle isn’t there to jump in – it will find another that will.
Massage deadens or inhibits the neural response in a tight muscle. The muscle can finally breathe out a big ole SIGHHHH and relax.
This makes it way easier to stretch out the muscle. With the muscle chillaxin, it can lengthen.
This allows the opposing weak muscle to have a chance to work and start to build the neurons necessary to fire correctly.
The tight muscle is the tyrant always putting down its weak counterpart.
A very common muscular imbalance is Upper Cross Syndrome. Theorized by Dr. Vladimir Janda, this imbalance contributes to the rounding of the neck and shoulders forward.
The chest is being the tyrant and keeping the rhomboids and lower traps from being able to retract your shoulder blades.
The neck flexors are being bullied out of play by the tyranical upper traps and levator scapula.
Jane had classic upper cross syndrome. The massage therapist worked on her chest so her shoulder blades could function. The therapist worked on Jane’s upper traps, so her deep cervical flexors could work again.
I believe there is no greater investment than investing in your own health and well-being.
With that said, you don’t necessarily need a massage therapist. All you need is a lacrosse ball and a foam roller to get started.
I’ll go into greater detail in the weeks to come on how to overcome these various muscle viruses, find the root to your pain, and take the power into your own hands.