For the last six years I’ve worked full time as a massage therapist that specializes in injury recovery and prevention. I’ve worked with pro athletes, hobbyists, and most often your average desk worker and ALL of them get injured or are doing things that will end up in injury.
Over the years I’ve learned a lot about how we get injured and conversely how to help avoid injuries like carpel tunnel syndrome and throwing our backs out.
With 2020 moving so many people away from the office and into their homes. There was a HUGE influx of new clients complaining of low back, upper back, and neck pain; as well as headaches/migraines, burning forearms, and locked up shoulders.
I spoke with clients in length to determine the best possible treatment and to find the habits causing the issues. I found two major issues, both a simple lack of knowledge. Some regular self care and working with a therapist can help you start feeling like yourself again.
Proper Desk Setup
For the most part people just don’t know how to set up their home desk. Additionally, many offices spend thousands of dollars providing the best desks, chairs, and monitor stands to minimize workplace injury. Then came along the pandemic of 2020. Offices had to send everyone home for quarantine. Working from a laptop on the couch is a guaranteed way to get migraines.
You want your eyes to be level with the top of your monitor. This allows your eyes to stay in a resting position, reducing eye strain, and prevents your head from tipping too far forward or backward, preventing strain where your spine and skull meet.
Your armrests should be level with the desk, arms relaxed at your sides, hands resting gently on a flat keyboard. This prevents tension across the top and back of your shoulders by letting them stay relaxed, pain between your shoulder blades by avoiding pushing your arms too far forward, and undue strain on your wrists and forearms by letting your arm muscles move in a straight line.
Your feet should be against a flat surface with your hips, knees, and ankles all at about 90 degrees. You may need to get a box or footstool to do this. Even at 6’1″ tall, I almost always need a small box to keep my feet on. This is going to help prevent low back pain by keeping your hips from tilting forward, calf cramping, and burning pain on the bottom of your foot by keeping your Achilles tendon in a partially lengthened position.
Self Care Techniques
Even with your desk set up perfectly we all can experience stress and pain just from using our muscles. There are a ton of steps we can take to alleviate these pains and even to avoid them entirely without spending any money. I go over these techniques in more detail in my post here.
Getting yourself out of pain takes time and effort on your part, time you may not have a lot of. A great way to skip the “fixing” stage and jump right to the “maintaining” stage is to get a massage. Find a therapists best trained to help make a meaningful change throughout your trouble spots.
Finding the right therapist
At Summit Spa & Float there are several wonderful therapist here who are trained to target specific muscle groups.
First, realize that working an area in detail for an extended period of time is necessary to see change. An hour full body massage simply will not accomplish that.
Remember to talk in detail with your therapist about your goals for the different areas bothering you.
Finally, make sure you schedule enough time to allow your therapist to work your body in detail. This may require a few sessions only targeting 2-3 areas. Wanting detailed work with a full body massage? Make sure to book a minimum of 2 hours with your therapist.
You can also head to this Amazon List I created. It has a bunch of products that I use myself for pain prevention.
Article Written By: Benjamin Hale L.M.T.
Ben is a massage therapist of more than five years. A graduate of Utah College of Massage Therapy, his passion is helping people recover from injuries both old and new. Ben has worked on professional athletes, world championship winners, and Boston Marathon qualifiers. He has helped clients recover from pulled muscles, torn ligaments, and joint replacements and is comfortable working on a wide variety of injuries and conditions.
Ben refers to his style as “I didn’t know that hurt,” and his clients constantly tell him how accurate that is. With a previous background in architecture and engineering Ben has a different way of looking at the mechanics of the body, and his in-depth knowledge of anatomy and kinesiology allows him to find and resolve tension quickly and efficiently.
Russian sports massage, trigger point therapy, and injury recovery are Ben’s favored styles of massage. He blends those more intense modalities with Swedish massage to make sure his clients experience both long lasting recovery and deep relaxation. While Ben specializes in deeper styles of massage, he understands the need to relax is just as important as the need to increase range of motion. He works hard to make sure his clients are always comfortable and his pressure is just right.
Whether you have carpal tunnel syndrome or are recovering from a broken bone, Ben’s unique approach and years of experience make him a perfect pick to help you find relief from your pain and tension.