The Daily Grind: How to Combat Remote Slumping Sickness
All of us, regardless of our chosen profession, enjoy different ways to relax after a hard day’s work. For some of you, that may mean spending some quality time on the couch with your favorite primetime television shows a few nights a week. Is it possible, though, that this same relaxing activity can cause your muscles so much tension? This may be happening to you—and you don’t even know it.
A common ailment many clients like you discuss with massage therapists can be neck, shoulder tension, and/or pain. There are many causes for this, but poor posture surely plays a key role in generating discomfort or fatigue. In fact, posture plays a critical role in both your muscular and your skeletal health. While you may be taking all the right measures to ensure your muscles are treated properly, you may be inhibiting your good intentions with poor posture. So, if you have ever caught yourself slumping on the couch, you know first-hand how this slumping habit can creep its way into your relaxation time.
Think about it. Have you ever noticed your shoulders rounding or sagging? Remote in hand, it’s easy to slump into your favorite soft couch as you become more engrossed with your favorite show or movie. Soon, your pectoral chest muscles become tighter and tighter—eventually giving you the all too familiar rounded shoulders. A true domino effect, your neck and shoulder muscles follow suit, becoming shorter and tighter with each passing commercial break. Before you know it, your slumping condition will creep up on you (literally), and it won’t be until you go for that wonderful therapeutic massage and bodywork session that you realize how much shortening and tension has accumulated in your upper body. With one gentle and familiar squeeze, relaxing your upper trapezius and the opening of your chest gives you that feeling of relaxation and relief—and your “Remote Slumping Sickness” seems to have finally found its cure.
Any massage therapist or bodyworker will surely agree that regular massage and bodywork sessions can serve to rebalance your muscles, improve your posture and combat your “Remote Slumping Sickness”. When life doesn’t allow the daily luxury of a regular massage, though, there are several preventative tips that will help you break the habit and enjoy your relaxation activities without stressing out your muscles until you can visit your massage therapist.
A few tips to consider to help relieve muscles, improve posture, and combat Remote Slumping Sickness:
Move static muscles.
- During commercial breaks, take the opportunity to move those static muscles—even a short walk to the kitchen and back can help invigorate those tensing muscles.
Practice mindfulness breathing.
- During commercial breaks, take a few moments for gentle stretching. You can easily mobilize your shoulder girdle by rolling your shoulder backwards, opening the chest area and counteract that forward slumping tendency.
Consider ergonomic neck or back supports.
- Research back supports and pillows that suit your body shape. Even a rolled up towel behind the neck can often make you so much more comfortable.
Support your core and be conscious of your posture.
- Consider your sofa or chair the “Old Slumping Syndrome” stage. Ask yourself if your favorite sofa or chair is adequately supporting your spine. Is it time for a change?
Make use of your cell phone timer.
- Set a timer on your phone to check your posture every fifteen minutes or use your timer as a reminder for mindful breathing. This will help until you get into the habit of doing it on your own.
Like any old habit, slumping will take time to break. By taking the time to proactively schedule your weekly massage with your Board Certified Massage Therapist (BCTMB), strengthening your core, and following these simple preventative measures, you will decrease your neck and shoulder pain and experience a wider range of benefits from your weekly massage. Soon enough, it will become a new healthy habit that will enable you to enjoy all of your favorite relaxation activities without negatively affecting your body.
Still need some convincing? Let’s put this into perspective in the fitness industry. In fitness, it is well-known that you can do abdominal exercises as often as you would like—however, if your nutrition plan is not in line with your fitness routine, you likely will never experience the full benefits or see the results you want. In the massage therapy realm, it is very similar. You may be taking all the right measures to treat your body well, but if you suffer from Remote Slumping Sickness, you may be inhibiting your body to experience the relaxation it deserves.
Tell us—how do you plan to break your Remote Slumping Sickness habits?
This blog was written by:
Dr. Leena S. Guptha
D.O., MBA, BCTMB