Digital Overuse and Chronic Pain

The epidemic of tech related pain; is your device ruining your health?

We all do it.

Sit for hours at a computer. Hunch over a laptop. Stare down at our phones.

We sit with our shoulders hunched forward, neck angled down. Our body awareness is muted, oblivious to our surroundings.

You may have heard terms such as “text or tech neck” or “cell phone elbow” to describe ailments from daily use of technology.

When using devices as frequently we do, we place considerable amounts of stress on muscles, nerves and tendons. Movements that seem fairly minor can have a major impact when done repeatedly with force. Repetitive strain can cause cumulative damage to your joints, nerves and muscles, leading to chronic pain.  

Overuse symptoms can include, pain, tenderness, tingling, loss of sensation or strength. Headaches, eye strain and neck discomfort have become a daily part of life for many people.

The average person doesn’t even realize they’re in pain.  Our bodies are amazingly adaptable, even to discomfort.

Take neck pain for instance.  The average head weighs about 12 pounds.  When properly balanced, your neck muscles don’t have to work very hard to support it.  Try moving your head forward and down.  Your neck is no longer in alignment and the muscles have to work much harder.   Your body will even recruit muscles to help support muscles not designed to do this. This is referred to as compensation. 

The body will use compensation patterns to perform motions when strength and mobility are not enough to complete the motion.  When primary muscles don’t work properly, the brain tells other muscles to perform that movement instead. Compensation patterns can form when a muscle or group of muscles is unable to properly move a joint through a range of motion.  Very often, when one muscle forms a compensation, another compensation will follow, it’s only a matter of where and when. 

It’s not just the physical effects that we need to worry about. There is quite a bit of research showing how much of any impact digital use has on our mental and emotional health.

Techno stress is the term used to describe the negative impact technology has caused on our thoughts, attitudes, behavior and physiological responses.

We are constantly available.  Constantly bombarded from multiple sources. Caonstantly connected. This is inevitably going to impact us in many ways.  Cell phones are probably the biggest culprit, because they are always with us and demand our attention incessantly. Think about how hard most people find ignoring that notification alert.

Always being reachable has allowed work to creep into personal time, when we are trying relax.

More and more, people are looking for alternative ways to relieve the pain and stress of dealing with technology.

Not only does Massage Therapy provide invaluable stress relief, and address the physical issues it can strengthen the mind body connection.

Massge helps with increasing body awareness, relieving pain, decreasing stiffness, and reducing inflammation in overused muscles.  This allows you to be more aware of your body and posture, and can potentially help prevent problems before they arise.

Regular bodywork to relieve repetitive muscle strain and tension is highly recommended.

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