Neck pain is a common issue that refers people to our office. Well, neck pain is a condition that chiropractors can help with but a question we get often is “Why do I have neck pain? Pain in the neck can come from different injuries or from our hobbies, jobs and daily lives. Posture and body position is very important. A common postural problem that can occur is upper cross syndrome and it is very common today with our lifestyles of sitting desk jobs, computers and our cell phones. Our last blog discussed the lower body equivalent, lower cross syndrome, so today, we are going to go over upper cross (crossed) syndrome.
What is Upper Crossed Syndrome?
It is a muscle imbalance in the flexor and extensor muscles of the chest and upper back. Those with a sedentary lifestyle are most at risk but it can be seen in athletic population also, especially swimmers and weight lifters.
The common changes associated with upper cross syndrome include:
- Anterior head carriage- head moves forward and puts more pressure and weight on the neck
- Rounded shoulders due to tightness in pectoralis and upper trapezius muscle
- Weakness in rhomboids, middle and lower trapezius and deep neck flexors
- A hump in the cervical thoracic region- dowager hump
The effects of this condition can lead to shortening of muscle, decrease of freedom of shoulder movement and decrease of athletic performance. Long term muscle shortening can lead to joint and disc degeneration.
What can you do about it?
First, when experiencing pain, seek professional medical experience if you have the pain for more than a few days. A medical professional like us, a chiropractor, looks for posture and muscle imbalances along with joint misalignment and ways to correct them. The best treatment options include chiropractic adjustments, soft tissue therapy and exercises. Adjustments of the cervical and thoracic spine along with extremities help to stabilize the spine and can stretch shortened muscle. There are also corrective posture exercises, strengthening exercises, and stretching techniques that can be used to help to help stabilize and correct the upper cross syndrome. On a side note, there are different shoulder kinesio-tapings with Rocktape that be done to help muscle imbalances.
A few simple things you can do on your own include the following:
- Tucking your chin to your chest like you are holding a tennis ball under your chin. Then roll and pull your shoulders back and hold this position for 30 seconds.
- Pectoralis minor stretch- Stand in a doorway, lined up with the opening. Place your arm at shoulder height in the doorway at right angles as shown. Place one foot in front and one behind for stability. Keep your spine straight and rotate your body downward, “nose-dive” fashion. Note: don’t push through the doorway, rotate downward. You should feel a stretch in your pec area.
Give us a call today if you have any questions or need some help. Our doctors are great with these types of issues. (402) 261-5766.
Studies show that 8 out of 10 people will experience lower back pain in their lifetime. In fact, that is a common reason why people see a chiropractor, followed shortly with neck pain and headaches/migraines. A common question that we get asked in the office is “Why do I have low back pain and why does it keep coming back?” Well, there are many different reasons why someone experiences low back pain. One of the causes of low back pain that we see often is what we call- Lower Cross Syndrome.
What is Lower Cross Syndrome?
It is a muscular imbalance that results in postural changes which can cause lower back pain over time. The common changes that are seen are:
- Increased Lumbar Lordosis( low back curve)
- Protruding abdomen
- Anterior pelvic tilt (flexed hips)
- A flattened backside
What Causes it?
Lower cross syndrome can develop by sitting too long in the wrong position or by injury to the hips, pelvis or lower back. Prolonged sitting or injury can lead to development of shortened iliopsoas and hip flexor muscles and that leads to tightened lower back muscles. The tightened hip flexors eventually lead to weakened abdominal and core muscles along with weakened gluteal muscles.
This pairing of weakened core and buttock add to the anterior pelvic tilt and cause more stress on the lower back. This muscle imbalance leads to altered bio-mechanics and lower back pain. The lower back is essentially weaker and moving in an altered pattern which causes increased risk of injury and pain.
What can you do about it?
Well if you have lower back pain, you should see a medical professional and if you think you can some lower cross syndrome symptoms, a health professional can make a diagnosis and recommend the best treatment plan for your unique case. As a chiropractor, we can tell based on what your posture looks like and what we feel. We can also perform different functional tests to help figure out what is tight and what is weak. The most common known tests are Janda’s Movements.
To help treat the issue at hand, adjusting your body to make sure all the joints in the low back are moving properly and soft tissue work to correct the muscle tightness is important. Furthermore, exercises should be taught to correct the bad posture and help strengthen weak muscles while correcting muscle imbalances. Rocktape can also be used to help maintain the proper position throughout. Below are a few simple exercises and posture advice to help alleviate pain but you should talk with a health care professional before performing to determine if it is safe to perform the suggested exercises.
- Try not to sit for more than 30 minutes at a time; get up and walk around for about 1 minute to help stretch muscles and tight joints.
- When sitting in a chair, your knees should be lower than your hips and your feet should be touching the ground. Your knees should be at a 90 degree angle.
- Hip flexor Stretch: Kneel on your right knee stepping your left leg forward, in a lunge position.. Slowly lunge your body forward until you can feel the stretch in the front of your right hip. Take care not to allow our left knee to protrude. Hold for 30 seconds and then repeat the stretch on the other side.
- Plank: Position your body with your toe/or knees and elbows on the mat. Make sure your elbows are directly under your shoulders and your body is in a straight line. Brace your core muscles, and keep your head down. Hold this position for 15 seconds, gradually building up this time to 1 minute.
Give us a call if you have any questions. Drs. Curtis and Kadi Fletcher of Fletcher Chiropractic are here to answer any questions you may have. They are located at 4300 S 48th St, Ste 7, Lincoln NE 68516.