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”

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”

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”

Shoulder Impingement

Supraspinatus

Some of you may have experienced weeks where you seem to see the same conditions over and over again. Its as if you should title your work  “hip fixing week” or “headache day”.  For me, more often than not, it is “pain in my shoulder…fix me” week. Shoulder joints are one of the most treated areas in my practice, which has provided me with a pretty good idea as to some of the common denominators for why they go funky. Obviously, every client is unique and you cannot generalize because each injury or pain condition is its own process. However,  recognizing some of the typical traits of shoulder dysfunction can help you assess some areas which can be treated to help restore shoulder function. And by doing this, we can treat a good number of shoulder pain cases.

The condition which is one of the most frequent that I see, and which I want to cover is shoulder impingement syndrome.  Although I said that you should not generalize for proper assessment sake, many cases of shoulder pain are due to impingement syndrome. Yes, there are plenty of other conditions which occur in the shoulder, but for the sake of this post, I want to focus on impingement as it is a condition which pops up a lot, and is highly applicable to massage therapy. Continue reading “Shoulder Impingement”

Upper Cross Syndrome…Why is Everyone So Crossed? – Part 2

Upper Cross Syndrome Picture
Upper Cross Syndrome
 In the first part of this article (Upper Cross syndrome…Why Is Everyone So Crossed?), we went over the physical and anatomical attributes that contribute to upper cross syndrome. Not the most simple of things when you start peeling back the layers of possible muscular involvement. Now that we have the understanding lets look at the second part of this syndrome, which to some may seem like a strange angle. The emotional side of upper cross syndrome.

Continue reading “Upper Cross Syndrome…Why is Everyone So Crossed? – Part 2”

Upper Cross Syndrome…Why is Everyone So Crossed?

Part 1

Upper cross syndrome is certainly an epidemic these days. Everywhere you look, you see people living their lives slouched over like they had a bag of bricks on their shoulders. Unless you are an actual bricklayer headed for a bricklaying festival (these probably don’t exist) carrying a load of bricks, you probably shouldn’t  look this way. Yes, there are circumstances where genetically or structurally a person is naturally formed this way. However, the general public should have a much more rigid posture than what we have come to see as “normal” in everyday life. Even I, a genius/ idiot in my own right, struggle with a slouched posture most of the time.

I would like to delve into this issue taking two different paths. The first being that of a structural or physical view; pinpointing the reason behind this common physical issue. Second, I would like to touch on the emotional side of this which, to some, may sound a little crazy or spiritual. I am by no means one to convince people of the energy side of therapy as I practice strictly in the form of hands-on therapy, but this topic deserves a bit of this honor. I am speaking more from the standpoint of our emotions as humans and the dramatic effect that these emotions can have on the human body. I premise this by saying I am in no way a psychologist or counselor. My opinion is only derived from experience.

First, let us delve into the physical side of this problem in order to get the anatomical viewpoint of this syndrome. Continue reading “Upper Cross Syndrome…Why is Everyone So Crossed?”