How the Screen Neck Affects Our Children and Adolescents Family Forum

I am a massage therapist, but first and foremost I am a mom. I believe that children are the future, and I want the best for future generations.

One of the ways I think we can achieve this is to help our children develop healthy habits and prepare them to be successful from a young age against the pressures of technology, both mentally and physically.

Something I continually see in my young patients is screen addiction. This leads to many symptoms including social disconnection, tightness in the body, and most notably, a screened neck (repeatedly falling head while using electronic devices).

Screens may be the norm, but they have a huge impact on our children, for example by changing their young bodies. The screen neck creates a seal in the occipital cranial base (OCB) area at the top of the neck and turns into a head, curving the spine similar to a bump.

In the early years, this curvature may not be obvious, but as a person grows and ages, it may become more so. It also creates tension and pain in the mid-back, neck, hips, forearms, and hands, affecting range of motion.

Massage and Craniosacral Therapy (CST) are both great tools to help with muscle and nerve contraction. CST is perhaps even more valuable than massage for patients with screen neck, as it helps muscles and nerves adjust and achieve better anatomical alignment, reducing impact on the neck. .

If your child is showing signs of a screen neck, I strongly encourage you to schedule a massage or CST session for them. Here are some other suggestions:

● Challenge your child to take regular breaks away from the screen (if possible, 24 hours or more away from the screen once a week).

● Wait until they have finished the great culture to buy them a smartphone (end of college or high school). If a phone is needed, get them a flip phone.

● Involve them in extracurricular activities (eg, sports, dancing or music). Take the time to do these activities with your child.

● Prepare a standing desk for your child.

● Teach them the correct alignment of the spine while standing and help them remember to do it while sitting.

● Prevent your students from doing homework on the easy-to-slump couch on their Chromebooks. It is best to sit or stand at a desk.

● Participated in my yoga class (every Thursday at 9 am at the Many Waters wellness center in Walla Walla).

Finally, my most important tip is this: be an example and practice the above yourself. Teach your kids to avoid the screen neck by following your own advice first. The rest will follow.

Kristi Schreiner-Huffey, CST-T, LMP, MSW, RYT-200, dedicates her life to helping others find inner peace and healing. She has long served the Walla Walla community, from family counseling and working on the crisis team to massage therapy. Email your questions to kristina@bluemoonhealingarts.com, or visit www.bluemoonhealingarts.com today to book your first CST or massage session.

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About Michelle T. Friesen

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