The Pilates Teacher

Question : I am interested to know how many people with RSI have been helped by chiropractors as opposed to other practitioners and how many would recommend chiropractic over anything else as far as anything else is concerned. This is leading somewhere but you will have to wait until later! As for my first bit of on-line advice (and please forgive me if it comes across as patronising , it is just very difficult explaining how to do things by writing about it as so much of my work relies on demonstrations). A lot of problems with the hands and arms can be traced further up the body to the shoulders and neck. As we all have some form of stress (in varying degrees) and spend a lot of time hunched up, it is easy for the shoulders to ride up the neck.

To release the shoulders, if you have not done this before, look in the mirror and see where your shoulders are. Now slowly slide them down so that there is a nice long space between your ears and your shoulders and your neck has lengthened. Imagine that there is a string attached to the crown of your head and it is lifting your head up and away. Really feel the length and make sure that your chin (or chins!) are parallel to the floor (i.e. not tucked in and not thrown back). Now, concentrate on that area in your back where your bra-clasp would be (men-use your imaginations and women with front opening bras-stop being awkward!). Concentrating on that area of your back, slide your shoulder blades down again and you may feel either some warmth or a ‘scrabbling’ in that area. This is the Lower Fibres of Trapezius kicking in and they are the main stabilisers of the shoulders.

When the shoulders are pulled down it may feel like hard work but, believe it or not, your muscles are actually released in this position. It feels like they being stretched because they are very tight and we need to strengthen the weak muscles (scrabbling in bra-clasp area) before we can release the overworked ones ( responsible for lifting your shoulders up). One more word: When sliding the shoulder blades down slide them down and towards the middle of your back but without pinching blades together. Basically, if you are throwing your chest out you could well be pinching your back which is not what you are looking for. Practice this as much as you can, especially when at the computer, VDU and in the car or pushing a pram /supermarket trolley or lifting things. Let me know if this is the kind of thing you are interested in. If it feels too weird or painful, please seek advice from a practitioner as I am not medically qualified.

Answer 1: Your advice makes sense – I’ve done certain Pilates exercises involving bring the shoulders down. I’d love any more advice like this that you may have – I love any form of exercise and if it can also help my horrid RSI problems, then all the better. Also, would you recommend massage to loosen shoulder tenseness? I do have tense shoulders and back so maybe this IS affecting my arms. (Pilates teacher used to laugh at me because I’m very supple all over but have the most tense shoulders of the whole class!).

Answer 2: I would say seeing a chiropractor has been the most helpful thing I have done. I have also changed my work set-up and key much less, but the manipulation and advice about posture were extremely helpful and I felt a lot better even after one visit. However, I still have RSI. It is a case of managing rather than getting rid of it, I’m afraid.

Answer 3: I had really painful shoulders this morning. This was the consequence of making and throwing paper aeroplanes for a management course (don’t ask!). Well, I sat at work today and did the exercise below – it has certainly helped.


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