By Hanna Kim- June 15, 2018
Thanks to technological advances, many of us no longer have to toil long days in a field to make a living. While modernization has its advantages, it has taken many of us away from the movement our bodies need to stay in tip top shape.
A sedentary lifestyle without limited movement contributes to problems such as back pain. Approximately 93 million lost workdays are due to back pain, leading to an additional $5 billion in healthcare costs in the US each year. It is the second most quoted reason Americans miss work, only after the common cold. When people come in for a massage, the two most common complaints are upper back pain and lower back pain.
Upper Back Pain
The most frequent injury site I see as a massage therapist is the upper back, between the spine and the medial border of the scapula, where as you can see, many muscles are layered on top of each other. Many of these upper back muscles are involved in arm movement, and are weakened by prolonged overuse, for example, from having our arms out on top of a keyboard. For example, the trapezius muscle, or “traps” roll forward and outward leading to stiffness in the back and shoulders.
Massage helps soften these overstretched tissues, relieves pain and reminding muscles to let go when they are not at use. This is an area of the body that can easily be alleviated with chair massage at your office.
Lower Back Pain
54% of Americans with low back pain work sitting down, according to a survey conducted by the American Physical Therapy Association. Similar to the chest and upper back imbalance from the arms being held out typing, the hips and abs experience an imbalance from sitting for long periods of time. The erectors, or long spinal muscles that keep the torso upright also get overstretched, especially if someone is hunching forwards.
A massage event at the office can help break up a long workday and keep employees happier and more mobile. Studies from Harvard, Stanford and McGill neuroscientists found that chronic pain impacts more than just the physical body. Massage can help reduce negative effects of pain, including impaired attention, short-term memory, judgement and social skills.
Massage Can Help Your Employees Take Better Care of Themselves
Massage therapists also love to remind their clients to keep better self-care routines. We know from our own work that repetitive movement of one kind, whether it’s sitting and typing, or standing and massaging, leads pain. Our bodies need a variety of movement and strengthening to be healthy. Healthy employees make better employees.
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