Back Pain

July 27, 2010
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Pain from sitting all day? Get relief at Zama Massage.
article by Tate Barker, LMT

Many of today's jobs require people to work long hours at a desk and in front of a computer, and back pain is one of the most common health problems for people who spend a large portion of their day sitting down. Back pain often occurs from leaning forward and slouching, causing muscles to tighten and become fatigued.

I have been a Massage Therapist for nine years, and during that time I have gained a great deal of experience treating back pain. I customize my approach to treatment, focusing on muscles that need to be stretched or loosened to alleviate back pain.

Sitting down all day restricts the movement of the body, which increases the likelihood of pain and discomfort in the muscles and joints. The sitting position tightens muscles in the back, chest, glutes, upper legs, and abdomen. When sitting for long periods of time a person's legs are inactive, and that triggers shortening and tightening in the hamstrings. Tight hamstrings are known to cause strain in the lower back and hips, and that pain can then be referred to surrounding areas in the body such as the Piriformis muscle. The Piriformis muscle is deep in the hip, and when it starts to shorten it can irritate the sciatic nerve which then causes pain, tingling, and numbness down the leg and into the foot.

Good posture in the lower body comes from the abdominal and back muscles working in tandem. However, most people do not have strong enough abdominal muscles to help support their back muscles when they sit down all day, and this leads to pain and discomfort.

In the upper body, slouching and forward rotation of the shoulders results in pain in the back and chest muscles. The muscles shorten in the chest from computer work, typing and writing, and the motions of these activities make the upper body push forward, while the upper mid back pulls with it which causes weak muscles around the shoulder blades.

Headaches are a common cause of the 'forward head' position, which also causes many people to feel sharp and constant pain around their mid back (rhomboids). The neck, shoulders and upper back are also strained by 'forward chin' and the motion of stretching out towards the computer. Holding neck muscles in an overstretched position weakens them, as does stretching the back muscles like the rhomboids (shoulder blade area).

I have in-depth knowledge and experience working with clients who have back pain from sitting down all day. During a sixty to ninety minute session, I am able to loosen areas that are tight and stressed which provides comfort and pain relief to my clients.  I use a variety of massage techniques such as deep tissue, swedish, and trigger point therapy, and I perform stretching therapy and give advice to clients about how they can use stretching techniques at work and home.

Now through the end of August, book an appointment with Tate and mention this enewsletter and you'll receive $15 off your massage!  For more information or to schedule an appointment call us at (503) 281-0278.


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Zama Massage Therapeutic Spa

2149 NE Broadway Street
PortlandOregon 97232
Off street parking in back (compact cars only).

Phone: 503.281.0278


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