MARY FISCHER, MS, PT: Today, we're going to talk about shoulder and neck tension. I know you're all familiar with it. It's this area right here of your upper trapezius, the back of your neck that gets really stressed out and that's where we carry our stress. Especially at work, when we're in a bad posture, when we're on a deadline, and by the end of the day, you're like this. And today, we want to talk about the benefits of massage.
So here we are with Dave -- and this is the part Dave's been waiting for. I'm going to show you some techniques for a massage that you can do right in the office and the area I'm going to focus on is the upper trapezius muscle, specifically this portion and the neck portion.
To get at this portion -- which is the spot where we have a lot of tension and trigger points -- I'm just going to knead the muscle between my fingers and my thumb. And I'm not putting excessive pressure in any one area; I'm kind of moving around. I don't know if you've ever had a massage from someone who just kind of was like doing this kind of thing; that's not the right thing. You want to grasp the muscle and squeeze it gently. And certainly ask Dave how that feels. Is that too hard?
DAVE: No, that feels great.
MARY FISCHER, MS, PT: Okay, great. And I'm feeling a little tension right in here, which is a very common spot. I'm just going to gently rub that spot.
I'm not going to, however, press on any bony prominences and think that it's a knot. A lot of people say to me, "Ooh, look at this knot you have." And I'm like, "That's my wing bone; get off of there." It hurts to press on a bone and the wing bone is right here. So you got to be a little bit cautious about that. Above it, I do feel a soft tissue knot, not a bony prominence of the scapula. So that's an important thing.
Okay, the next portion that's nice to do -- especially at work -- is the next portion of the trapezius. And when I do this, I like to support the person's head, so that they can relax and not have to hold up their head against gravity. So just let your head relax in my hand. And I'm again kneading the muscles between my fingers and thumb and I'm going right up to the base of the skull where we get a lot of tension, because we're stuck up like this.
And how does that feel?
DAVE: Oh, that feels great.
MARY FISCHER, MS, PT: I had the feeling it would. It's been a rough day. And I'm just going -- again, not staying in any one place too long.m Now, on the days when I don't come to see Dave, he has to give himself a massage. But it's not so bad. It's not as good as me, right?
DAVE: No, not as good.
MARY FISCHER, MS, PT: But it's a nice break to take, especially when we're trying to remind ourselves to take a break. Let's take a break from typing and give yourself a massage. And you're just going to reach across to your opposite shoulder and, again, you can knead your own trapezius muscle pretty nicely.
So those are two ways you can get a massage at work. Ask someone you feel comfortable with or do it yourself.