To complement the MASSAGE Magazine article, “The New Generation of RSIs: Tablet Back, iPad Shoulder, Smartphone Thumb & Texting Tendonitis,” by Jeff Mahadeen, L.M.T., N.C.T.M.B., in the November 2013 issue. Article summary: New forms of repetitive stress injury (RSI) are sweeping the world, moving quickly on a tide of technological innovation. Tablet back, iPad shoulder, smartphone thumb and texting tendonitis are among the technology-related physical woes that are the new generation of RSIs.
Client education needs to be included in your treatment protocols. The following suggestions are not only for the massage client who is showing signs of repetitive stress injuries (RSIs), but for all your clients in order to avoid texting tendinitis or tablet neck.
1. Hold the electronic device at a good reading angle so as to not overly flex the neck.
2. Use a dictation program instead of texting.
3. Take numerous breaks from texting and tablet use.
4. Build strength and range of motion. Stretch the back, arms and hands, and engage in simple back-and-shoulder strengthening exercises.
5. Use other modes of communication.
6. Drink water to stay hydrated.
This discussion of ramifications from texting and tablet use can be easily applied to any client with postural problems—or any RSIs, for that matter, because they all include locked-long and locked-short muscles. My motto is, don’t be afraid to think outside the box. As long as there is knowledge behind your thoughts, you will often be amazed by the positive outcomes.
Jeff Mahadeen, L.M.T., N.C.T.M.B., practices structural integration and owns Muscular Wellness Institute (www.muscularwellnessinstitute.com) in New Hampshire. Mahadeen has taught continuing education classes throughout the U.S. since 1998. His specialties are skeletal muscle physiology and soft-tissue education. He serves on the state massage therapy board and was a lead developer of the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Exam.