Please enjoy our Guest Blog this month from my friend, the lovely massage therapist, Anna.
Smartphones have only been around for about 20 years and as they have become more functional we have started to use them more. They are undoubtedly convenient but their overuse causes issues as we can end up looking down at them for extended periods of time. This causes excess strain on the spine.
As a Sports Therapist many clients come for help with back or neck pain and many have “text neck syndrome” or lower back pain caused by poor posture while using technology.
Text neck syndrome
Text neck syndrome is pain in the neck and shoulders caused by looking down at a mobile phone or tablet.
With good posture looking straight ahead the head exerts a force of about 10-12 pounds on the spine. Tilting the head forward to look down can increase the force by as much as 6 times! Holding the head in that position for long periods causes strain on the muscles and ligaments around the neck leading to:
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Poor posture with hunched shoulders
- Weakening of postural muscles so it becomes tiring to sit up straight
If left unchecked it can progress to include:
- Numbness and tingling in hands as nerves become impinged (trapped nerve)
- Wear and tear on the vertebrae in your neck leading to osteoarthritis
Lower back pain
Many people slump on the sofa whilst surfing the web on a laptop or tablet or texting on the phone. This slumping strains the muscles of the lower back and causes issues such as:
- Poor core strength – as the core muscles don’t need to work to hold the body upright they become weaker and this can lead to back strains and sprains
- Shortening of the hamstrings at the back of the legs which can make the hips stiff and increase risk of back injury
How to reduce the risk
- Reduce the amount of time spent with head looking down while using technology. Try using your devices at eye level so you look down as little as possible. For example place tablets on a stand at eye level
- Take frequent breaks – aim for every half hour and have a walk around the room and do a few stretches
- Work on your core strength – consider trying a Pilates class
- Be mindful of your posture
- A massage can help loosen tight muscles making it easier to maintain a good upright posture. Try Indian head massage for headaches and tension. Sports massage is best for tight upper backs as the deep tissue techniques will get deep into the muscles to release tight areas.
- Get your posture checked by an expert such as a Sports Therapist or Physiotherapist
Anna is the owner of Relax Therapies www.relaxtherapieswirral.com with her clinic in Birkenhead. Anna provides a wide range of treatments including Aromatherapy, Reflexology, Sports Therapy and Sports Massage. Her main interests are in relieving back pain and the treatment of chronic pain conditions. Anna has been awarded the prestigious Top 3 best rated Massage Therapist in Wirral two years in a row.