I have very tense muscles in my back (mainly my traps) and I am having trouble relaxing them.
Physios have told me that my lower traps and rhomboids are weak and I should be trying to strengthen them.
The problem is that different health professionals have advocated for and against strength training while the muscles are tense. But the muscles are tense partly because of muscle imbalance (I work as a programmer and my shoudlers have rounded and my head pokes forward a little bit).
The other reason they are tense is because I experience a lot of anxiety which manifests in the neck/shoulder/back region
My current approach to solving this problem is :
- Psychologist and meditation for anxiety (root cause), and progressive muscle relaxation
- Static stretches from the physio (traps, pecs, seratus anterior, lats)
- Pilates once a week
- 15mins Yoga daily
- Swimming 30mins (mainly breaststroke and backstroke) 3x a week, with cycling for 30mins as a change. Sauna after swim.
I don't seem to be getting any results. The stretches don't seem to have a big impact, the yoga and pilates feel good, but I'm not sure I do enough of them, and the swimming doesn't seem to build strength.
Do I have to relax my back muscles before building strength? Does swimming build body strength? Would weights be an option? How can I get an objective measure of how these things are helping (either in building strength or flexibility)? Any ideas on other approaches.
I'm thinking about self-administered trigger point therapy and using a bio-feedback device to learn not to tense my shoulders.
I'm asking here because different Physio's have advocated completely different approaches.
Thanks for any help!