LMT, Germain Phanord discusses Poor Posture at Work & it’s Long Term Effects
Germain Phanord, staff LMT at Bodyworks DW, is our therapist of the month for May!
Read his interview below where he discusses how continuous poor posture at work has long term effects that can keep you seated in the future and the reasons that brought him to massage therapy.
What is the most common pain issue you see with your clients?
I would say in the upper extremities (neck, shoulders). This is such a common problem, often caused by poor posture at work while repeating the same movement pattern for hours. Sitting for a while with the add-on of poor posture can lead to serious pain in different areas of the upper body.
A large portion of my clientele work at sedentary desk jobs for long hours. I'd say about 80% of the time I'm working on their neck, shoulders, or upper-back. Awkward postures like bent wrists, leaning to one side or another, looking too closely at the computer or not keeping your head and neck in neutral position can cause a variety of injuries that could sideline you for a while.
How do you work on this issue to correct poor posture?
I correct this issue first by having an intake assessment to identify muscular imbalances. I'll then come up with a plan to address and decrease the pain they're experiencing. Usually it takes a few sessions to deal with issues regarding poor posture. When the muscles of the upper extremity will not release it is usually due to an imbalance in the lower body. It can also be something emotional that the client is holding on to. Each treatment is based on the specific issues of the client. The session must be tailored to each individual client so the work can be effective.
Do you have a favorite area to work on? What do you like about it?
I'm very curious about the psoas. It can be quit a challenge to access on people! The psoas is a deep core muscle that connects the lumbar vertebrae to the femur. We all have a psoas major and some people even have an extra psoas minor muscle (about 40% of the global population). The psoas major is the biggest and strongest player in a group of muscles called the hip flexors.
The psoas contracts to pull the thigh and the torso toward each other. The psoas also allows for stability in the back and lumbar spine so that the leg can move as needed. As a runner, for instance, if you have a properly firing psoas, you'll have the support to have longer strides and a faster time. A good massage therapist can release the muscle which helps a lot with lower back issues.
What inspired you to start a career in massage therapy?
Massage Therapy is one of the few professions that allows you to make a difference in someone's life. A stranger's life, most often. When I first thought about applying for the LMT program it was because as a personal trainer, I knew I would gain more skills and knowledge to benefit both the client and myself. Then I began involving myself in the field I started to realize all of the incredible things that come out of being a therapist.
Massage Therapy has a way of creating certain kinds of environments. A massage therapy studio provides a quiet and relaxed energy for everyone in the space. This, to me, is absolutely priceless. Especially living in the city. As a therapist there's flexibility to pursue other passions or endeavors such as parenthood, continuing education, or part-time careers. You can choose the number of days you work or the number of massages you would like to perform every week to create a schedule that works with your life.
Working long 9am to 5pm jobs was not the right kind of work for me. It hurt my body to stay still for so long. I prefer a position that allows me to move around and as a massage therapist, you can stand or sit as you provide treatment, which is be much healthier than a sedentary position. It helps me stay away from poor posture.