Hope you are managing to stay warm in this filthy, cold weather.
Spikey Balls – now available for purchase
Engaging in a bit of spikey ball self-massage is a great way to decrease muscle and connective tissue tightness (and the associated pain and stiffness), between massage appointments. Available in an array of colours for $8 each.
Upcoming dance project
Aside from dance teaching, occasionally I still dabble in professional dance making/performance activities. As such, my long-time dance collaborator, Katrina Lazaroff, and I will be embarking on the next stage development of a work we have be playing with on and off for the last two years. This time we are fortunate to have the support of Adelaide Festival Centre’s inSPACE program. During this project (16th-29th October), I will be unavailable for massage appointments.
As per previous winters, the massage clinic has seen an outbreak of stiff necks, no doubt courtesy of the “I’m-freezing-my-butt-off shoulder hunch”. If you don’t already regularly use a wheat bag across the top of your shoulders/base of your neck, I encourage you to do so, while the weather is so cold. Keeping those muscles warm with ample blood circulation will help prevent them from becoming overtight and causing poor posture, neck stiffness and/or pain and also possibly headaches.
Wheat bags can be purchased from chemists. A long-ish rectangular one is ideal, allowing enough length for the bag to stay on top of your shoulders without you needing to hunch up your shoulders to keep it on (which obviously defeats the purpose). You can also try wrapping it in a large tea towel, placing the combo around your neck and tying the ends of the tea towel together with a rubber band. This works wonderfully well to hold the wheat bag in place (as long as you don’t have a strangulation phobia). Alternatively, you could consider one of these curved lupin bags from Theramed…
I purchased one out of professional curiosity and found they are great for the tops of the shoulders, but it doesn’t contact the neck much. However, it really just depends where you need the heat the most. Theramed also do an “oven mitt” wheat bag which I presume would be great if you get achey hands and wrists.
Another potential neck saving gem I’d like to share (from Mark Jarrett at Eastwood Physiotherapy, which now seems sooo obvious), relates to pillows. Regardless of if you are a back sleeper or a side sleeper (hopefully none of you are front sleepers), your neck needs to be supported in a neutral position during sleep. On your back this means the natural curve of your neck needs to be supported, on your side your head needs to be held so your neck spine stays in alignment with your back spine, i.e. your head should not be bending sideways towards the side on which you are sleeping, nor should it be pushed sideways away from the side on which you are sleeping.
Finding the right pillow can be a frustrating and expensive endeavour. A bit like shopping for jeans, I try to put it off as long as possible. If your pillow is getting a bit flat, try building it up incrementally with small towels or bath mats stuffed underneath your pillow inside the pillow case. This has worked quite well for my husband’s pillow, decreasing the number of emergency neck massages required and postponing the dreaded pillow shopping expedition.