March 1, 2012

From Stuck to Unstuck

Massage therapists often meet people who are stuck – stuck shoulders, stuck vertebrae, stuck glutes.

And we see the pathology that stuck creates – abnormal gaits, painful bending, leaning torsos, migraines, etc. There’s nothing more satisfying for a massage therapist than to get the stuck out and restore normal function to muscles, joints and ultimately, the entire person.

I have come up with my “Stuck Hall of Fame,” a bit of nostalgia for me. I offer it as a memory jog for other therapists out there in to think of their own mondo-stuck folks and how rewarding it was to help people back into wellness.

My big Stucks:

The young mom who worked her way through college delivering the morning paper. She would start at 3 a.m. folding the papers and then drove around tossing newspapers out the window of her subcompact. Her right serratus anterior felt like half of a softball stuck to the ribcage.
The businessman who decided to play poker with a certain well-known and ruthless local developer. He won, but his middle scalenes lost. His symptoms: pain radiating from the neck and head down into the rib cage and shoulder.
This lady worked out a lot and enjoyed a wonderful Hawaiian vacation – cliff-diving for most of a day. It wasn’t the first dive that got her. Maybe the 50th? She had lost track, but her traps and levator scapula were holding onto that last dive. It was not a fun plane ride back to the mainland.
A woman who had good-sportingly gone on the company’s team-building retreat. Hey, that shoulder had not moved more than a few inches in years. Then two of her teammates grabbed her arms to help her over the wall on the obstacle course. Gung-ho! The next day, after sleeping in a tent, her subscapularis had cemented itself to her ribs.
I find it most rewarding to get these stuck spots to breathe again and rejoin the rest of the body. The power of touch and massage is wonderful. Don’t you think?                                                                                   

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