How Mask Wearing Can Affect Your Neck And Posture - Tucson Massage Therapist Blog

How Mask Wearing Can Affect Your Neck And Posture - Tucson Massage Therapist Blog

Today we have a guest post from our Licensed Massage Therapist (and miracle worker!) Terry Hall. Since returning to work, she has noticed an interesting pattern in her clients, stemming mostly form mask wearing. We asked her to share some of her observations in hopes we can all benefit from them. Enjoy!

 

The last few months have been a whirlwind for many of us. I hope you’ve all stayed healthy and safe through it all! I’d like to talk about the effects of wearing a mask and what it may be doing to our posture. Some are wearing them for long periods of time, others are just wearing them when visiting places. Regardless, here’s what I’m finding with people once I get them on my table:

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1. Strain – on the ears or upper neck from straps. Even the lightest amount of pressure can accumulate over time. The light ‘pull’ tends to make us feel like a weight has been cast around our neck. For some, we slump into a more hunched position, bringing our head forward which then leads us into a forward head posture causing excessive weight and compression on the cervical spine (as seen in the photo above).

 

2. Vision – Fun fact: did you know you can see your nose at all times? It’s always in our field of vision… our brains just choose to ignore it. When wearing the mask, we have a slight peripheral vision loss. The mask makes us focus differently since we can’t see the whole picture. Think of wearing reading glasses or bifocals. People tip their head down to look past the glasses to see what’s further out in the field of vision. There’s that head tilt again! And here we are, forward head, slumped low, with shrugged shoulders.

 

3. Breath – We tend to take shorter breaths with our masks on. This usually means overuse of accessory muscles such as scalenes, anterior neck muscles, and serratus (instead of diaphragmatic breath), which is why I believe people are complaining about headaches, dizziness and heightened anxiety.

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So, what can we do? First and foremost, always be aware. Understand you don’t have to fall into these habits from a mask. Take breaks from wearing it if your occupation allows. A great morning routine is to perform five to ten minutes of simple mobility: Head and neck rotations, shoulders rolls, and spinal flossing (click here for a quick video demonstration of the neck and shoulder drills). If you don’t know how, ask us! We’d be more than happy to help! Evening stretch routines and breath work to wind down your day and get out of those postures is great as well Of course, I will always say and advocate......SEE YOUR MASSAGE THERAPIST!!!! (click here for details) 

 

Stay strong, stay healthy,

Terry Hall, LMT

 



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