NiaMassage

Musings from the Massage Chair & Table

This is NOT what Sheryl Sandberg meant by “Leaning In”

With so many young people using cell phones, texting has exploded with expanded data features, and addictive interaction on social media. With prolonged use of cellphones, tablets and laptops, many chiropractors and massage therapists are treating ‘Text Neck’, or leaning into the screen.

Before this happens to you, these are tips that you can do to help deal with it –

  1. Dial the font size up on your screen. Whether you use your tablet, laptop or cellphone most often, sometimes the font size will cause you to squint or lean in to the screen. This isn’t what Sheryl Sandberg meant by the term. On your computer, Hold down CTRL + the dial on your mouse, and dial to your preferred size of font. On the tablet/smartphone (Apple), go to General > Accessibility > Larger Text > Drag Slider Right. Check your Android phone or tablet in the settings area, for similar prompts.
  2. Take time to look away and focus. Leaning into the screen also affects your eyesight, akin to moving to movie projector closer to the screen. It also puts a ton of pressure on your neck, as it’s holding up your head in a position that it was not really designed for it to be. For every inch you lean into the screen it adds 10 pounds of weight to your head and neck. Take a few minutes to look away from your screen, and focus on a faraway object.
  3. Look up. When you lean in to your screen for a prolonged time, it is about the
    Take a few moments to look away from the screen.

    Take a few moments to look away from the screen.

    same as repeating the same action over and over. This contributes to headaches and stiff necks. Allow your head to loll back, and lower your shoulders. Don’t worry; your head won’t fall off, even though it just may feel like it. Close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths. Definitely do this several times a day – It gives your neck and eyes a break.

  4. Use the dictation feature. One of the great things you probably never use on your phone is the dictation feature. As often as I am live tweeting (#Gladiator4Life), I have learned that dictation helps to keep up with the program, and keeps you from looking down SO often. I use the mic, and clip it in my ear. Just make sure that you proofread what it is writing, on your behalf. (Dang autocorrect!) Once the software gets used to your style, it tends to make corrections on its own.
  5. PUT THE PHONE DOWN – I get it – when I was in junior high (mumblemumble) years ago, I had classes with my best friend on EARTH all day for a year. I LOVED it; School was a daily hangout all day long. Then, we’d get home, and then get on the phone for hours. We even watched Jeopardy over the phone. This was back in the day when even the house line had a minutes plan. I truly understand what it means to just want to share every single thought with your friends all the time. But at some point, you just have to put the phone down. It’s hard to disengage at first, but actually talking in person does have its’ perks.
  6. Get a massage – Of course getting the muscles to relax increases flexibility, range of motion
    Prolonged texting with your neck craned forward without taking a break can cause a myriad of problems.

    Prolonged texting with your neck craned forward without taking a break can cause a myriad of problems.

    in your neck and relieves headaches. Prolonged texting with your neck craned forward without taking a break can cause pinched nerves, arthritis, and over time, disc degeneration. You are far too young to have to deal with that. Get a massage, or maybe an adjustment, if the problem cannot be solved with just the massage. These treatments are a great compliment to each other.

Note – This blog post is dedicated to Michele McDonald, who gave me the inspiration to write this post. If you have any questions about massage, please feel free to ask away!

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Body Language, Body Language…

Body Language, Body Language...

You know it’s coming…it’s almost the end of the day, and you’re looking forward to getting out of the office, and someone comes up to you and asks,

“Can you stay late/ finish the project/ start a new project? OK, thanks!”

You tend to notice that that doesn’t usually happen first thing in the morning, right? People can tell when it’s the best time to ask you for things, because your body is telling them!

When you arrive in the morning, you tend to look alert, shoulders back, head up, eyes alert. People who want to stress you out aren’t coming to mess with you, because they know they can’t get away with it. You’re on to them, and they may get a ‘NO’ right off the bat.

As the day progresses, and you’ve been sitting at that desk all day. You’re tired, you haven’t been stretching, and you are ready to just go home. That’s when General Foolishness wants to strike! Your shoulders are rolled forward, head bowed in near defeat – you are just asking them to give you grief!

Take time throughout the day to stretch, and take a walk to get the blood moving! The stretching will improve your posture, and reduce tension.

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Spring is on the way, I think…

The First Day of Spring was a few days ago, wasn’t it? Even the squirrels are confused.

 

Isn't it Spring already?

Isn’t it Spring already?

Here are some key items Weekend Warriors should have in your War Chest to enjoy your activities, and look forward to the next weekend –

BioFreeze & Dr. Hoy’s – both of these products are great for cooling sore muscles and keep them from feeling worse. Even though the scent does wane over time, the staying power is there! (I get no compensation for endorsing these products. I buy these products, and actually use these on my own clients.)

Topricin– this product is great for achy joints. (Again, solely a recommendation, no compensation for endorsing this product. I buy this for my family members.)

Tennis Ball – great tool to take care of  knotty muscles and achy feet. Just roll it over a knot or your sore feet. For places you just can’t reach, put the ball in a sock, so it stays where you put it.

NM Picto Blog

Foam Roller – to help massage larger areas than a tennis ball can cover.

Taking an Epsom Salt bath will help muscles feel better after an active day out. The heat from the bath will help increase circulation; the salt feeds magnesium to the muscles through absorption and helps you relax. (This is a highly contested theory, but seems to work for many.) To relax even further, you can add 12-20 drops of lavender essential oil to 1 1/2 cups of Epsom salts, then add mixture to bathwater. Adding the oil to the salt helps the oil diffuse in the water, as opposed to simply floating on top.

Tied boughs of rosemary hanging in the flow of bathwater or floating in the tub will help muscles feel great, too! The  hot water from the tap rolling over the boughs helps release some of the essential oils into the bath which will help ease tension in muscles.

Just a few ideas here to help you enjoy your weekend activities! What are your favorite ways to feel better after an active weekend?

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Are You a Pain in the Neck?

You’ve been sitting at your desk, leaning into your computer screen, bent over your laptop, or hunched over your smartphone. After a bit, your neck feels a little stiff, your eyes feel a little out of focus. You begin to rub your neck, and wonder why you feel so tired.

Leaning forward into your screen for long periods of time, whether it is your laptop, desktop or phone stretches the muscles in your neck and increases the tension at the back of the head. The neck muscles and cervical spine are not designed to stay like that for LONG periods of time. The average head weighs between eight and ten pounds. For every inch you have your head out of normal resting posture, it adds approximately 10 pounds of weight AND tension to the BACK of your head! This weight and tension pulls against the eye muscles that connect to the back of the head, pulling on the retinal wall, and creates that out of focus feeling you tend to experience. This posture also contributes to rounded shoulders, fuzzy thinking, lack of concentration, lower back pain, among others.

OK, so what do you do about it? Retraining your muscles is a great way to help get your posture back to where it needs to be. Here’s a few great stretches most you already know how to do –

  • Tilt your head up towards the ceiling, and lower your shoulders. Then, bring your chin to your chest. This helps the muscles in your neck release and relaxes the tension in the shoulders.
  • Gently tilting your head from side to side, while extending the opposing hand towards the floor helps as well.
  • Pulling the arms back, squeezing the shoulder blades strengthens the muscles there to help give a stretch the pectoral muscles in the chest. This also helps increase the volume of oxygen in the lungs, clearing up that ‘2 o’clock fog’ you are probably experiencing.

    Seated Stretches

    2 Great Stretches to help you throughout the day.

  • Straighten arm over the head, bend at the elbow, your hand behind the head. Place other hand on bent elbow, gently pulling towards the ceiling. This stretches the backs of the arms, but also releases the tension in the tops of the shoulders.

‘Stretching at Your Home or Office’ by Bob Anderson is a great stretching resource. Here’s a great link for Desk Stretches that you can also use.

Other things to consider:

Look at your desk in your space, and see where you are in relation to

your screen. If you’re leaning into your screen, you can get a computer monitor arm to bring the screen closer, or you can always dial up the font size.

Monitor Arm

Monitor arms keeps you from leaning too far into your computer screen.

Wireless Keyboard and Mouse combos are great tools to use at your desk. You can still sit in a comfortable position, arms not be overstretched, or with your wrists feeling strained.

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