There are more than 2.19 trillion texts sent each year by US mobile phone users. And massage therapists, chiropractors and medical professional are seeing a drastic uptick in the number of people seeking help for the “pain in the neck” texting, and sandwiching their phone between their neck and shoulder gives them.
More than 60% of Americans admit they might not talk to a medical professional if they were suffering from chronic pain. And according to AOA surveys, neck pain is number three most commonly experienced chronic pain (behind lower back pain and arthritis) with about 25% of experiencing the quintessential “pain in the neck”.
There can be many causes of neck pain, including poor posture while standing or sitting, using a crazy old/improper pillow when you sleep, hyperextended neck muscles due to injury or accident, or heavy lifting. And then there’s the phone.
The issue with phones
Talking on the phone with the receiver held between your neck and shoulder can place great strain on neck muscles. Over time, the strain can lead to significant, chronic pain in the neck, upper back and shoulders.
Texting is even worse, you stress shoulder and back muscles by assuming a “neck forward” posture as you hunch to text. Your forearms and fingers can suffer, too.
Finding a solution
In order to remedy neck pain (phone neck and text neck) caused or exacerbated by use of the phone, you need to look at a two-pronged solution. First, work on correcting the movements and positioning, then seek relief for the muscle issues.
The best way to address the postural issues related to talking on the phone is to use a speaker phone, or ear buds, or other handsfree devices when you take a call. This removes all strain from neck and shoulder muscles.
For heavy texting, try giving yourself a break–looking up now and then. You can also hold your phone at eye level. It may look a bit silly, but this prevents the neck flexion issues. Using voice dictation helps with forearm issues, as does limiting the amount of texting you do.
For muscles issues, seek the expertise of a professional massage therapist. A massage therapist will target the muscles in your neck arms and upper back to help relieve the pain. They’ll stretch, use passive resistance, and gentle pressure to coax muscles back to their intended position and increase blood flow to the area to promote permanent healing. According to a study at the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle, one-hour sessions two or three times a week for 3 to 4 weeks appears to work best.
So whether you’re experiencing phone neck or text neck, there are solutions in sight. Seek the help of a qualified massage therapist and change up your device use habits. You’ll be on the way to a pain-free neck, back, and shoulders in no time and you’ll get the added benefits, like relaxation and a more positive attitude, of a massage therapy session.