In only 10 minutes in downtown Santa Monica, I counted 54 people talking on their cell phones while walking down the street. Only three chatters were using headsets. While headsets are now required by law in most states when driving, you won’t get a ticket for walking and talking with your cell phone jammed against your ear. But your neck and shoulders might eventually issue a warning of pain, and then a citation of spasm because that cell phone “stress” can lead to serious debilitating pain.
Holding a phone to your ear for extended periods sets up a string of prolonged tension in a gaggle of muscles around your neck and shoulders that are prone to adapt to their shortened position (these include the upper trapezius, levator scapulae, supraspinatus and pectoralis minor). So when you end your call and lower the arm, these muscles actually remain partially contracted in their “hold the phone” mode unless they’re fully stretched out. In addition, there are also many specialized cranial nerves that flow underneath and within those muscles — and when those get blocked or compressed, you’ll get that painful “pinched nerve” sensation that shoots into your neck and shoulders. Soon, compensation patterns begin which then affect other parts of the body and before you know it, that pain creeps into your lower back and hips!
In my classes & workshops I work with dozens of students who have neck issues and rotator cuff injuries. While the causes of such injuries and pains are infinite, they often include basic underlying postural imbalances such as those caused by the simple, everyday repetitive stress of holding a cell phone. In fact, the creation of my Yoga Tune Up® Therapy Ball program came to be when I was healing from a rotator cuff injury that kept getting aggravated by my cell phone use. I am now hooked on this low-cost quick-fix solution because it is the only form of self massage I’ve found that can access those incredibly hard to penetrate areas around my shoulders and neck.
As you probably know, self-massage has become a staple of Yoga Tune Up® and my personal everyday health care regimen. The Therapy Ball Programs help to heal and prevent imbalances by using the balls for targeted massage and trigger point therapy because they roll out the tension that builds up in these areas. The ‘grip and grab’ texture mimics the hands of a skilled massage therapist, helping to increase circulation while lengthening and loosening all of the fibers in those spastic “cell phone grasping” muscles.
I highly recommend you compliment whatever health care regimen you practice with some form of targeted massage therapy. And naturally, to completely eradicate all of those imbalances caused by “cell phone stress” I hope you’ll consider a complete system of stretch, strength and massage keep you relaxed and pain free from head to toe.