Most of us could go through an entire day - weeks even - slouching in our desk chairs without realizing for a single moment that we've done our bodies not-so-good. By the time we've determine that our backs, necks and shoulders are aching, and that it might be time to book a massage, we can hardly recall where the pain came from in the first place.
Licensed massage therapist and OMTP founder Rogelio Medina sees tons of these kinds of clients at his practice, and, without judgment or conceit, simply explains that they need to "be more aware" of their bodies. "Most clients do not realize that the front of their body is pulling the back, which is overstretching the back," he goes on to describe. "This causes a misalignment."
What do massage therapists look for and ask themselves when identifying muscular imbalances that may be causing their client pain or discomfort? Rogelio explains.
1. Client's career: Of course, there's a huge difference between the person who sits at a desk all day, the one who runs around the city in heels, and the professional football player who gets tackled multiple times an hour.
2. Physical activity: A massage therapist will want to account for the type of physical activity their client participates in (strength trainer, runner, cyclist, Zumba enthusiast?) and how often they break a sweat.
3. Posture and gait: They'll want to know that your muscles, ligaments, tendons and all those other innards are proper aligned when you stand, walk, run or whatever it is you do.
4. Raised shoulders: A common cause of back, neck and shoulder tension!
5. Rounded shoulders: A sign of your run of the mill "sloucher," rounded shoulders result in poor posture, achy upper body muscles and a whole slew of other issues.
6. Lateral tilt of the neck: Even a slight tilt of the neck can cause major pain in all the surrounding muscles.
7. Winged scapula: This is when the shoulder blades protrude irregularly. While rare, it can cause pain to those who are affected.
8. Forward head:Individuals who thrust their head in a forward position can carry added weight that results in an abnormal leverage of their body, with consequences to the cervical spine.
9. Pigeon toed: A condition in which the toes point inward while walking, often the result of a previous injury.
10. Duck feet: Born out of tight muscles from the hips down, like the Achilles tendon, IT band and bottoms of the feet, to name a few, those with duck feet appear to walk with their toes pointed out.
11. Anterior pelvic tilt: A common problem in which the front of the pelvis drops and the back rises.
12. Posterior pelvic tilt: Often called "flat back," this is when the front of the pelvis rises and the back drops.
13. Lateral tilt of the hip: Often associated with scoliosis or individuals with legs of different lengths, a lateral pelvic tilt is determined by hips that are not level on a horizontal plane when standing on one leg.
14. Scoliosis: You might remember this one from elementary school; scoliosis is an abnormal curve of the spine or back bone.
15. Kyphosis: An outward curvature of the spine that results in a hunched appearance and, in some cases, difficulty breathing.
16. Lordosis: An inward curvature of the spine that's adopted the name "swayback" and makes the victim appear as though their rear is sticking out.