One specific type of pain has become so common that massage professionals have given it a nickname: “tech neck.”
A lot of our clients experience this pain because their jobs require them to use a computer for extended periods of time. When a person does computer work, they unconsciously move their head towards the screen. This causes the muscles in the front of the neck, the scalenes, to shorten. Over time, the scalenes remain shortened, and the muscles in the back of the neck try to pull the head back to a neutral position. Since they can’t do this because of the shortened scalenes, the muscles in the back of the neck become tired and sore. The person now feels pain between their neck and shoulder blades.
To alleviate many types of muscle pain, We not only work on the muscles that hurt, but also some muscles that don’t hurt. Why? In order to relax the painful muscles, we have to work on the muscles that are causing the pain, but may not actually be hurting. To relieve “tech neck,” we have to lengthen the scalenes that have shortened in the front, so that the muscles in the back can relax. This is what ends or lessens the pain.
We also give our clients tips on how to avoid causing the pain in the first place. Proper ergonomics, or proper body movement and desk layout, can help prevent “tech neck” and other pains. A few simple things you can do to prevent or reduce “tech neck” are:
- Try to be conscious of the position of your head and neck. If you find that your head had moved too far forward, pull it back to the neutral position. Awareness is fifty percent of the battle to prevent unnecessary pain and discomfort. Your awareness will improve with practice.
- Do neck stretches and neck rolls. If this hurts, then stretch only to the point of pain but not beyond. Keeping the neck stretched is going to go a long way towards helping alleviate the pain in the neck and shoulders.
Clients’ awareness of the daily activities that are causing them pain is the way for them to take an active roll in their health and healing.