Serratus Anterior and Forward Shoulder Posture

Forward Shoulder Posture – Copyright massageofferings.com

Forward Shoulder Posture is very common these days.  You see it everywhere; especially those people who work at computers for a living. It has become very prevalent in younger people too as more and more time is spent hunched over smartphones. I don’t want to sound like an old person here yelling at those whippersnappers to “sit up straight and pull up your pants” but I can’t help it sometimes. The truth is, while many people have poor posture for a multitude of reasons, smartphone usage truly is a big culprit in an increased amount of people walking around (and sitting) with their chin at the same level as their chest and their shoulders almost touching in the front (okay a minor exaggeration). Continue reading “Serratus Anterior and Forward Shoulder Posture”

Anterior Pelvic Tilt and Why It’s A Problem

Most therapists are aware of what an anterior pelvic tilt and lumbar hyperlordosis are. We have all seen the diagrams plenty of times demonstrating an anterior pelvic tilt compared with a neutral spine and, of course, a posterior pelvic tilt. However, have you ever stopped to think about what is actually going on within the spine and the muscles, and why this is a pain generating condition.

Plenty of clients have some sort of improper alignment in their pelvis and lumbar spine. (and the rest of the spine too) So, I think it is important to break down the commonly visualized lumbar spine/pelvic tilt graphic to show just how important this is for us therapists and what actually causes the pain associated with it.  Continue reading “Anterior Pelvic Tilt and Why It’s A Problem”

Stretching Series: Serratus Anterior

Serratus Anterior Photo Credit – Anatomography
Stretching the Serratus Anterior effectively can be a difficult task, especially if a client has limited mobility or pain in the shoulder. Many stretching tutorials will have the patient raise the arm over the head and lean laterally in order to lengthen the muscle. While this does partially stretch the muscle, it can be difficult for some to extend the arm over the head. Also, this motion does not stretch serratus anterior optimally. If we look at the action of the muscle, aka scapular protraction, a part of the movement we need to incorporate to gain the most lengthening is scapular retraction; not flexion of the shoulder. By doing retraction, we will greatly intensify the stretch and create much more mobility. 

The key when stretching the Serratus Anterior effectively is to use multiple movements to achieve optimal lengthening. First, we will use medial scapular translation in order to retract the scapula and move the insertion of the muscle. Then we will use the movement of the rib cage to move the origin of the muscle, optimizing the lengthening.

The Stretch

  • Start with our body standing at a slight angle away from a wall with the side being stretched nearest the wall. 
  • Place your same-sided foot in front of you and opposite foot behind for a strong stance. Place your palm as an anchor on the posterior of the ilium creating a wing shape with your arm.

Continue reading “Stretching Series: Serratus Anterior”

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome…Actually

 

The Carpal Tunnel and Flexors of the Hand

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is one of those conditions which is commonly overdiagnosed. It seems that any sort of hand and wrist pain or tingling and numbness automatically equates to carpal tunnel syndrome. This over-diagnosing, in my opinion, occurs because the real cause of the condition is usually mistaken. For those who actually have the condition, it can seem like there are no good answers for why it occurs and why it continues to be a problem. Hopefully, I can clear up some of these questions and give you a better understanding of what carpal tunnel syndrome really is, and thus a better understanding to treat it. Continue reading “Carpal Tunnel Syndrome…Actually”

Breathing, It’s Not Just Air

Diaphragm
Diaphragm

 

Most of us take something as common as breathing for granted. It’s a bodily function which occurs thousands of times per day. On average, an adult breaths between 17,000 and 23,000 times per day. That is a lot of activity that we are unaware of. Rarely do we think about it, unless we are exercising and feel like passing out after running a mile (my current pitiful fitness level). All of the sudden, this minor part of our everyday life becomes a very important thing and we have a hard time NOT focusing on it…I hate running. Continue reading “Breathing, It’s Not Just Air”

Sternocleidomastoid And Chronic Headaches

Sternocleidomastoid
Sternocleidomastoid

Maybe one of the most common conditions I have treated throughout my career has been headaches and migraines. I am not talking just simple once-in-a-while stress headaches (even though those do benefit from massage as well), but chronic, ongoing, life-disrupting headaches and migraines. I have had many clients who come in for their first session who suffer frequently (if not daily) from chronic headaches who have tried many different options for treatment, including strong medications to alleviate their pain, with no positive results. Unfortunately,  it often seems like finding a cure for chronic headaches and migraines is like taking a stab in the dark, hoping to find a cure. Continue reading “Sternocleidomastoid And Chronic Headaches”