This blog will look at upper cross syndrome that is a dysfunction causing muscle tension in the neck and shoulder region, which commonly affects people with poor posture, working at a desk and immobility. The human body really wasn’t designed to sit at a desk for 40-50 hours per week so it’s no wonder something’s got to give which usually is felt in the upper back, neck area.
Upper cross syndrome is a really common condition and seems to be the 21st century posture with rolled forward shoulders and a forward-head posture appearance. This syndrome is caused from a muscle imbalance from over active muscles at the front of the neck/ chest region combined with weakened muscles at the posterior aspect of the neck and upper back region.
Desk sitters traditionally will be affected due to their workplace setup but they are not the only ones more predisposed. Anyone who has poor postural habits and slumps forward through their workplace or through habits of daily life from bending forward will at some stage develop muscle imbalances causing pain through their upper back.
To treat upper cross syndrome it’s a combination of loosening the overactive muscle tissue causing tension and strengthening the muscles that are being weakened. Massage, cupping, dry needling can all be used to loosen the muscles reducing the pull from the front of the neck and to reduce the tension at the back of the neck/ upper back region. Home care exercises and exercise prescription at the gym can also be issued to improve the strength of weakened rhomboid muscles.
A big part of longevity to reducing tension and pain from desk sitting is posture. When you’re sitting at your desk, your ankle, knee and hips at need to be at 90o with your back upright as much as possible with your ear lobes being inline with the bone bump of your shoulder at the top of the shoulder joint which will prevent your head from bending forward. Your keyboard and mouse should be at the edge of the table closest to you, sitting up straight with no rotation seen from people using 2 screens.
When visiting your Richmond Rehab professional, you can expect a thorough postural assessment with orthopaedic testing to see which muscles are overactive and which muscles are weak. Following this, treatment to the tight muscles with begin via massage, dry needling or cupping to take the pull off the shoulders and tailored exercises to strengthen your back. Another key component is a blue foam roller, which can also be used to counteract the rounded desk sitting posture to open up the chest region for a deep stretch and to reduce anterior shoulder pain.