I have a client who injured her neck so badly, she had radiating pain down her arm. It was hard to pick up her 3 children and make them dinner. Exercise was out of the question. The pain was not going away and she was worried about her upcoming trip to Europe. She was desperate for a solution.
The interesting thing is… she’s a trained Physical Therapist. With her extensive movement knowledge and experience, she tried massage and yoga to no avail.
Finally she visited her own Physical Therapist for a “last straw” cortisone shot. Turns out she had herniated discs in her cervical spine. The pain eventually subsided, but not without weeks of lost time with her children, her husband, her work and her exercise regime.
When she was finally released by her therapist for exercise, I asked her “What happened?”. I was expecting a complicated story about how she slipped doing her down dog yoga stretch, or strained her back lifting a child out of the bathtub.
“Nothing” she responded. She proceeded to tell me how her therapist mentioned that the neck injuries over the last 4 years have increased tremendously as a result of… you know what I’m about to say… smartphones.
At the end of her workout, we spent 5 minutes talking about texting positions. As a busy mom, she’s on her phone A LOT. It’s her primary way to communicate to the world. Even though she’s a Physical Therapist and movement specialist, even she fell prey to the terrible habits of bending over and looking down at her phone all day long.
When it comes to texing, there are 2 ideal texting body positions that I teach all the time. These positions are an immediate solution and will save your poor neck from bending all day long. They promote a straighter spine, a properly aligned neck, and even help to engage the back muscles that promote better posture (the lats!).
Give them a try:
Sit with your back up against a wall or bench behind you. Bend your knees and place your elbows on your knees. Use your elbows to push against your legs and lift your chest up to the ceiling. Make sure your phone is directly in front of your phone. Text away!
Sit on the edge of a chair or bench. Place your elbows on the knees and push against the legs to lift the chest and straighten the spine. Make sure the phone is in your hands in front of your face (and not too far down). Keep pushing into your legs every few minutes to remind yourself to engage the back muscles and lift the spine.
Now we know that “texting neck” can happen to anyone. However, if used diligently these simple techniques can add years to your neck and back.
Comment below if you have questions on these positions. They take some time to get used to… but feel so good!