I’ve spent a good chunk of my life craning my neck toward some sort of screen. It started in seventh grade with an iMac that bore a striking resemblance to green Jell-O and eventually progressed to a sleeker-looking laptop and various models of a cellphone that I have never not been addicted to.
There’s a lot to unpack there, but the main thing you need to know about all of this is that I have a nasty case of so-called Text Neck. And Text Shoulder. And Text Upper Back. These aches and pains don’t just stay where they’re supposed to, either — they translate into splitting headaches that leave me reaching for a bottle of Advil more often than I’d like. Fellow Text Neck sufferers know exactly what I’m talking about.
I’ve tried everything ― yoga classes, stretching, heating pads and massages ― but the most economical and effective solution has come in the form of a $7 Amazon purchase: a lacrosse ball. A physical therapist recommended I use one to help a running injury, and I later decided to give it a whirl it on my upper back and neck knots.
I shocked by how much better I felt almost instantaneously.
The more formal term for how I was using the lacrosse ball is called trigger point therapy, according to Phil Timmons, program manager of Blink Fitness, and it works so well for a few reasons. “It moves fluid and clears out debris around affected areas,” Timmons said. “And in many cases, it cues your body to relax the muscles in that area.”
If you’re ready to grab that handy lacrosse ball and start working on your neck knots, I don’t blame you. But like most things, it is important to know how to use it correctly. Luckily, in the case of a lacrosse ball, it’s actually pretty easy.
“Find an area that’s a little tender and keep it in that spot until the muscles begin to relax around the ball,” Timmons said. “Also try rolling the ball along the length of the muscles, and then do the same thing: Hold it in areas that are tender until they begin to relax and release around the ball.”
Do we need to find a better solution for the international epidemic that is Text Neck? Absolutely. But for now, this inexpensive purchase can work wonders — I promise.
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