Your challenge today is to give yourself a trigger point massage to your upper back. You can do this by applying a small, hard ball (e.g., a golf ball) to your upper back.
Your upper back (the space between your shoulder blades) is comprised of two muscles: the trapezius and rhomboid muscles. The trapezius is the larger of the two, lies closest to your skin and looks like the shape of a kite along your upper back. The rhomboid muscles are deeper, lie closer to your body and look, well, like two rhombuses about the size of two hands side by side. Both of these muscles work together to support your shoulder blades and to keep your posture nice and tall, your chest lifted.
When we get tense, upset or worried, these muscles start to clench and our shoulders start to creep up. This tension also inhibits us from taking long, deep breaths. There are some trigger points along your upper back along the inside of your shoulder blade that can help with relieving tension.
How to give yourself a trigger point massage on your upper back:
- Sit in a chair with a high back. Your car seat works great.
- At the next red light, place the golf ball behind your upper back just on the inside edge of your scapula (shoulder blade) and lean your body against the back of the chair to apply firm pressure.
- You can move your body slightly from side to side to increase blood flow. If you find a tight spot, apply consistent pressure and take several deep breaths.
- At the next red light, repeat on the other side.
- You have trigger points all along the inside of your shoulder blade. You can continue the trigger point massage by starting at the top and slowly working your way down until you get to the middle of your shoulder blade. Make sure to take long, deep breaths.
Those red lights will start to become a welcome opportunity instead of a nuisance!
Giving yourself time to do self-administered trigger point therapy can:
- Relieve tension headaches, stiff neck and limited range of motion in your shoulders. http://triggerpointrelief.com/cdrom/trapezius.html
- Decrease stress and tension. The nervous system responds to this type of massage by decreasing your heart rate and increasing the parasympathetic response, thereby relieving stress. https://www.ideafit.com/fitness-library/self-myofascial-release-and-stress-relief
- Improve your posture. If you know that you sit for long periods or find yourself under more stress than normal, chances are that your posture is suffering too. The muscles in your back start to get shorter and not able to move freely. https://www.ideafit.com/fitness-library/4-corrective-exercises-for-bad-posture