unclench

Unclench

Take a moment to consider your clenching habits. If you’re like most people, you’re not even aware that you have been clenching your jaw, shoulders, fists and hips. Many of our physical discomforts can be traced back to the body parts we hold in a state of tension.  Below is a brief primer on how to trace from symptoms to muscles chronically tightened.

sciatic nerve_muscles

Sciatic pain and massage

The sciatic nerve is the longest and thickest nerve in the body.     It leaves the spinal cord between the lumbar vertebrae. Herniated and degenerative discs can put pressure on the sciatic nerve.   Travelling through muscles, particularly the piriformis, can put the sciatic nerve at risk for compression.           Sciatica is characterized by signs and symptoms such as pain, numbness and tingling in the low back, buttock and down back of the leg. Massage therapy can address short, tight muscles that contribute to sciatic pain. Early intervention is key to managing uncomfortable symptoms.    

coughing image

Coughing can cause muscle strain.

How many muscles does it take to cough? If you have ever had a sore belly, ribs, neck and shoulders from a cough that won’t go away, you know the answer:  A lot, more than you would have guessed.  Feeling like you had an intense workout during cold season makes you part of an under recognized group of cough-due-to-cold athletes. Muscle strain from a persistent cough will recover once the coughing ends.  In the meantime, the sore muscles can be treated like any muscle injury.  Cold packs, rest and some gentle massage can help the muscles recover quickly and fully. Every bit of self care helps during cold season!

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Not all muscle tension is created equal.

            First, there is the muscle tension created by how we move, or don’t move. Then there is the muscle tension generated by the emotions we carry day and night.         The build-up of both types of muscle tension is slow and insidious. Although we live everyday with the way we move and the way we feel, we are often unaware of their effects. Our bodies try to alert us, however we ignore the early warning aches and pains. Increasing awareness of the slow-but-sure increase in muscle tension can help us to stop the progression by either changing our habits or getting treatment that will reverse the gradual rise in patterns that lead to pain.   Regular massage therapy can help to relieve both physical and emotional tension as well as heighten your awareness of when, where and why your aches and…