By Laura Kirkman, Professional Sports and Thai Yoga Massage Therapist
How did the receiver of Sports Massage get tight achy muscles in the first place?
All the examples listed below are based on my personal experiences of working with different clients through out my career so far and what I’ve found to be common problem areas with certain roles. I’ve tried to categorise them to cover a lot of different roles and I do apologise if I’ve missed some out.
This covers literally any job that involves sitting at a desk. By sitting down at a desk for the majority of your week, this can put stress on the shoulder and neck muscles from typing, focusing on your screen and most likely slouching. Speaking of typing, in some cases people can even get repetitive strain (tendinitis) in their wrists and forearms. From being in the seated position this can also have a big effect on your thigh muscles and the lower back, as overtime the muscles get use to being in this position and can get gradually shorter and tighter.
Driving jobs or long driving commutes
Your body is in a similar position to someone doing a desk-based job so you may have similar problem areas but driving will have a bigger impact on your body. It is common when driving manual to utilise parts of your body more than others, which can put extra strain on the muscles that are used more frequently. For example your left leg for the clutch, left hand for gears and not to mention the rotation of the neck when performing manoeuvres.
Intensive manual labour jobs
This includes electricians, plumbers, builders, plasterers, and tillers Etc. These kinds of jobs may seem great because they are rather physical but apart from that a lot of the work can be very repetitive, usually requiring the tradesman to be in awkward positions and spaces for long periods of time which is not the norm for the body. Some of these jobs may require the use of one dominant hand, which will cause an imbalance to the body as one side gets stronger and the other side can get stiff from the lack of use. Also remember some of these tradesman will also have to drive a long way to do a job as well and be affected by long commutes too. The muscle groups that are affected will vary with the trade.
High Stressed Jobs
Do you have lots of deadlines to reach that can sometimes seem inhumanely possible? Or your job is based in a fast paced stressful environment like any of the many roles in the food or retail industry? If you’re not relaxed and happy and feeling stressed in your workplace the majority of the time, your workplace qualifies as a stressful environment. Stress has many numerous negative effects on the body but today we will keep it muscle related. One of the most common areas affected by stress is the neck and shoulders as most people unconsciously hunch and hold their shoulders up causing tight and knotted muscles in the shoulders, which then in turn effects the neck causing it to be tight which can then in some cases lead to tension headaches.
Doctors, vets, nurses, hair dressers and groomers alike are sometimes under huge amounts of stress (depending on what your role entails), each day to help and care for others but often in the process they forget to care for themselves. Some of these jobs could involve being on your feet for long periods of time, wearing correct footwear can help a lot but this can still have a big effect on the leg muscles. Some of these roles can involve desk time and probably a lot of it as well with a big workload to take care of which relates back to other examples. Let’s not forgot the roles, which involve moving heavy or non-heavy objects/people/animals even with the health and safety measures to how you do this correctly and it can still definitely have a big toll on all the muscle groups that are used in this actions in the long run.
Post Pregnancy and Parenthood
Whilst your body is going through pregnancy and in the later stages of the baby growing, your body is constantly adapting to the babies weight and size. So your centre of gravity is constantly off balance and can take some time for the body to get back to normality afterwards. The muscles that are greatly affected through all this changes to the female body are the majority of the back and the majority of the leg muscles. As these are the muscles that adapt the most to help the female body be able to carry a baby and still be able to move around, also the back muscles are probably achy from not being able to sleep properly at night time.
Then into parenthood you now have this little precious bundle of joy that requires you as a parent to pick up a lot and to also pick up after them. So your body is now doing all these extra movements that the body is just not use to yet. Well your arms are probably going to be the first thing you notice are now in pain more often, followed closely by the rest of your body and lest not mention the effects that lack of sleep does to us.
Sports People in all your glorious forms
Even though this is an article looking at certain roles that aren’t sport but there is also an equal amount of sports people that would probably benefit from a sports massage. Sports people; regular gym goers, joggers/runners, all types of contact sport, football, swimming, hiking, cycling, semi pro to pro athletes and any other sports. Whatever your status sometimes help is required to help you perform better, shorter recovery time or to help with an injury. Sports Massage can help pre and post event to help your muscles warm up or to assist with cooling down. Through sports massage I can help identify areas that you need to work on more, either by stretching or strengthening techniques. As each sports person in their own field uses very different muscle groups to one another I cannot provide an example of which muscle areas are affected the most.
So what do we need to think about...
Most of the modern lifestyles don’t allow the time for you to truly look after yourself and to connect with your body. Sports Massage can help to release the built up tension and to help you feel happier and healthier. Maybe enough to motivate you to going to that gym or yoga class you always wanted to try, start going on regular walks in nature. No matter what you do in life always try to look after your body as you only have one and it's best to take care of it.