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Holly Dunbar, CMT, RH (AGH)
Text Neck A Modern Malady
New Moon Body Work and Botanicals
. http://www.newmoonbody.com

Text Neck A Modern Malady

“Text Neck” is a self-coined phrase to describe stiffness, and neck and upper back pain resulting from hunching over a small electronic device. We've all felt this common pain in the neck, which could also be caused by excess time at a computer, or focused work at a desk (think of a scientist bent over a microscope for hours at a time).

Many occupations of the day require prolonged time at a desk, and this is further exacerbated by a long commute. This unnatural posture is problematic for several reasons.

Our bodies by design were meant to be upright and moving. Excessive time sitting compresses the spine, and stagnates the cerebrospinal and synovial fluid that lubricates the discs and supporting tendons and ligaments. The fascia that surrounds and supports these structures becomes less pliable. Stiffness will likely result as this tissue becomes more binding, and it also makes one more prone to injuries.

Hours spent focusing on a single object straight ahead will inevitably lead to a forward head posture. The average head weighs 8-12 pounds and puts a tremendous strain on muscles intended for fine-tuned movements, such as the sub-occipitals at the base of the skull.

Over a period of time, muscles carrying this load will lay down more fibrous cells to create a stronger “strap”. These muscles will tend to feel gristly or ropey when palpated, and will often have trigger points that refer pain to other areas.

Simple adjustments go a long way learn to look at the cell phone from the hand, and not lead the head to it. Adjust the height of the computer screen, desk, and chair to find a custom fit. Exercise and movement are essential- take the time daily to stretch and walk, and also exercise at least 3-4 times a week to increase circulation and flexibility.

Massage therapy can improve elasticity to the tissues, relieve spasms, and lengthen muscles that have literally forgotten their true capacity. With the forward head posture, it is key to work the anterior muscles such as the pectoralis, sub-clavius, and scalenes to break the pattern of hunching forward. Massage therapy also provides a nurturing experience to individuals in these work conditions, whom are often highly stressed from long commutes and lack of human interaction from a day at the computer.

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