About the author: Matt Jeffers holds a Bachelor of Health Science (Clinical Myotherapy) and has been practicing Myotherapy for over 12 years, both in Australia and overseas. Matt owns and is available for consultation at Muscle and Move Myotherapy in Richmond and Camberwell, along with working at AFL club Richmond FC and has recently launched Well People Corporate Health.
Myotherapy is a system of health care primarily focusing on assessment, treatment, and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal pain. Myotherapy is generally used in the treatment of acute and chronic conditions as well as preventive management.
When do you need to visit a Myotherapist?
You would consult a Myotherapist if you’re suffering from general or physical activity-related soreness, acute or chronic pain or movement problems and stiffness. Myotherapist’s work in the preventative, corrective and rehabilitative phases of therapy.
Day in day out I see people with pain and stiffness through their neck, shoulders, lower back, and hips. Much of this we can relate to long periods of time sedentary at work. Research is starting to show that pain is less related to the posture that you sit or stand in throughout the day and more related to the length of time you remain in that posture. ‘Posture is a problem if you only have one.’
Since many of us will have a job that requires stationary work at a computer, it’s important to break up the day with movement breaks. This will reduce the risk of musculoskeletal aches and pains developing and give you the opportunity for a mental break too.
Here are my top 5 exercises to help relieve these common painful areas:
1. Neck and shoulder area.
Think about what’s required physically of you in your regular workday. Are you ever required to reach your arms above your head or behind your back? Our bodies thrive on and adapt to movement. The more we do something the better we get at it and the exact opposite happens too. This exercise is a perfect way to get the shoulders moving and can assist with freeing up stiffness related to sitting at a desk for extended periods of time.
Position- Can be performed in a seated or standing position.
- Start with your hands on the back of your head.
- Take them out to the side, rotate them down and place the back of your hand on the small of your back.
- Repeat approximately 10 times. Don’t be surprised if there’s some grumbly clicks and clunks at first.
- For an extra challenge – add some small weights to your hands or perform the exercise lying down on your front.
2. Chest and shoulder area.
Number two for the upper part of your body focuses on opening up through the chest and shoulders. If you sit at a desk for the majority of the day I can guarantee you’ll like this one.
Position- In a seated or standing position clasp your hands together behind your back with your palms facing you. Exercise-
- From this position simultaneously extend your arms out behind you and push your chest forward.
- You should be aware of some stretch through the front part of your shoulders.
- To involve your neck in the exercise, repeat the movement with your head turned to one side and then the other.
3. Lower back and hip area.
One straight from the yoga playbook, this is perfectly suited for the stiffness through your lower back and hips that often comes with sitting for long periods of time.
Position- Start this myotherapy exercise on all fours with your back in a neutral or relaxed position.
- To begin, arch your back, lifting your head up and pushing your tailbone out, making a dish with your spine.
- Hold this position for a moment, ensuring that your breathing remains smooth and free-flowing throughout the movements.
- Next, bend your back up by tucking your head and tail bone in and pulling your belly button in towards your spine, making a curve through your back.
- Hold this position for a moment, and then repeat.
- I recommend moving through these positions in a slow rhythmic manner for approximately 60 seconds.
4. Hip area.
Hip flexor stretch
Position- Kneel on the floor and place one foot in a large stride in front of you.
- Push the hips forward evenly and keep your body straight until you feel the stretch in the front of the hip on your back leg.
- Hold this position for approximately 30 seconds. This stretch can also be performed in a standing position.
5. Hip and hamstring area.
Whilst the following exercise may look like a humble hamstring stretch, there’s a bit more going on. This is a perfect movement to work through if you have tightness or stiffness in your lower back and down into your hamstrings. My advice is to take this one easy at first, it can be quite a powerful stretch.
Sciatic nerve glide
Position- From a standing position place one foot on a low stool/bench etc.
- Lean your upper body forward whilst also pulling your foot towards you until you feel a stretch through the back of your leg.
- It’s important not to force this stretch, but to recognize when the tension is building and move back away from it.
- Move-in and out of this position in a smooth manner for approximately 60 seconds.
One of the keys to avoiding some of life’s general aches and pains is movement. Regardless of whether you currently have pain requiring treatment or not, there will be a great benefit to performing these exercises on a daily basis.
Disclaimer: The above are general advice if you currently have pain or these movements cause you pain I suggest seeking advice from a professional before carrying on.
Want to see Matt? You can book in directly with Matt on Avaana here!