Biking, gardening and playing at the park with the kids are healthy, fun summer activities, but the prolonged bending over and muscle strain can lead to neck and lower back pain that isn’t so enjoyable. The following tips demonstrate massage techniques that alleviate neck and lower back pain caused my common summer activities.
- Neck massage: Place your right hand on your left shoulder with your thumb firmly placed against the base of the neck. Move the thumb slowly back and forth along the base of the neck while applying pressure. After a few minutes, tilt the head towards the side of the neck you are massaging in order to shorten the muscle and provide an even deeper massage. Switch hands and repeat the motions on the other side of the neck. Don’t just stop massaging at the neck, rather follow the muscle all the way around the neck and up behind the ear and the back of the
- Lower back massage: Place two tennis balls inside of a tube sock. Lie on the floor with knees bent and lower back supported. Place the tube sock just above the sacrum (the large, triangular bone at the base of the spine) so that one ball is positioned on each side of the spine. Roll back and forth slowly using your arms and legs for support.
- How to treat an acute strain: If a muscle is stained from over exertion, it is important to apply ice to the muscle throughout the first 72 hours in order to decrease the swelling. A moist heating pad can be applied afterwards to ease the muscle. Massage long strokes, following a body part until you hit bone where the origin of the muscle lies.