Updated: Apr 25, 2019
‘Text neck’ can cause muscular tension and reduced motion and is becoming common with the increased used of handheld devices, including smartphones and tablets. People suffering with neck pain account for around 25% of clients attending regular massage treatments and neck pain and stiffness is certainly one of the most common complaints in clients who come to see me for treatment of muscular tension.
The average head weighs approx 10lbs (5Kg) - imagine carrying a bowling ball on your shoulders and you get the idea. When we are upright and our necks are not tilted toward our chest (0 degrees), the pressure on our necks is the weight of our head. But when we begin to tilt our head downwards, the pressure increases with the angle of tilt and what was once a bowling ball becomes equivalent to the weight of 6 bowling balls by the time our chins reach our chest. And that's a lot of pressure on our spine and neck muscles.
Often unattended neck pain can lead to a limited Range of Motion (ROM), occurring in a joint that has a reduction in its ability to move. Reduced motion is often caused by injury or conditions such as Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis.
The 3:20 Technique
One of the easiest ways of helping to reduce the effects of text neck is this simple exercise, what I like to call the 3:20 technique. Every 20 minutes, stop using your phone or tablet, look up for 20 seconds (longer is even better), and focus your eyes on an object 20 feet from you. This returns the neck to a normal position and encourages the lens in your eyes to refocus, essentially exercising them too.
The Effectiveness of Massage
A recent study, published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, suggests that massage therapy using moderate pressure not only helps to reduce neck pain but also helps increase the range of motion. The effectiveness of the treatments was measured by reports written by the participants themselves, completed after the first and last massage treatments of the 4 week study period. The group showed significant short-term reductions in pain and improvements in movement. This included a decrease in pain, decreasing by around 50 per cent from the first to the last day of the study.
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