Complied By Binumon Joseph, Registered Physiotherapist
Upper crossed syndrome refers to a particular configuration of overlapping overactive and under-active muscle groups in the neck, chest, and shoulders. Typically, poor posture causes the syndrome, including the forward head posture, which occurs when people use electronic devices, read, and drive. Those with upper crossed syndrome usually have the same or similar set of postural irregularities that people may describe as slouching. Many different stretching and strengthening exercises exist that usually offer relief for symptoms of upper crossed syndrome.
Fast facts on upper crossed syndrome
With upper crossed syndrome the muscles of the shoulders, neck, and chest have become deformed.
Specifically, the back muscles of the neck and shoulders (upper trapezius, and levator scapula) become extremely overactive and strained. The muscles in the front of the chest (the major and minor pectoralis muscles) become shortened and tight. As a result of these overactive muscles, the surrounding counter muscles become underused and weakened. In upper crossed syndrome, this causes weak muscles in the front of the neck (cervical flexor muscles) and in the lower shoulders (rhomboid and lower trapezius muscles). The condition gets its name from the "x" shape that develops when regions of overactive and under-active muscles overlap.
Poor posture can be a cause of upper crossed syndrome.
Different movements can cause upper crossed syndrome, but most cases develop through poor posture, specifically sitting or standing with the head forward for prolonged periods. Activities that promote this postural position include:
Common characteristics of upper crossed syndrome include:
The best way to treat upper crossed syndrome is through exercise and postural changes. Though some people may feel a lot of discomfort when stretching, it is important that they attempt some form of gentle exercise as restricting activity can cause stiffness and soreness.
People must ensure they warm up their tissues before exercising, either with gradual, gentle motions or by having a warm bath or shower. Begin all exercises gently and build up slowly.
The best way to prevent and treat upper crossed syndrome is to avoid activities that require stretching the head forward for extended periods of time.
Other tips for preventing upper crossed syndrome include:
Correcting or practicing proper posture is also an important part of avoiding and treating upper crossed syndrome.
By Dr Sonya Hamilton, Chiropractor
Acupuncture is an ancient component of Chinese Medicine (TCM) which has gained immense popularity in North America during the past decade due to it's efficacy in relieving pain, and improving quality of movement.
Medical acupuncture is an effective treatment approach aimed at reducing and/or relieving pain and improving muscle function and activity of affected areas of the body. A thin, disposable needle is inserted into the skin and tissue in specific areas of the body (as mapped out by TCM Meridians), through the use of western biomechanical principles.
Acupuncture stimulates the body to produce its own pain relieving neurochemicals, and it can encourage natural healing through the reduction of inflammation. The use of acupuncture is safe and very effective (as the building body of research literature indicates). The improved energy and biomechanical balance produced by acupuncture stimulates the body's natural healing abilities, and patients often feel better within 5-8 treatments.
Acupuncture is very effective in treating a variety of painful disorders such as:
Low back pain, Osteoarthritis, Headaches (Migraine/Tension), Neck pain, Rotator cuff tendinitis, IT Band Syndrome, Muscle tightness, Shin splints, Lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow), Knee pain, Jaw pain, Plantar fasciitis
Commonly Asked Questions:
What is a treatment like?
Contemporary medical acupuncture is generally used by our chiropractor in combination with other manual therapy treatment techniques such as joint mobilization, soft tissue techniques, and rehabilitation exercises. Dr Hamilton will first complete a comprehensive clinical exam and discuss with you her diagnosis, and clinical options to effectively treat your specific diagnosis.
How long might my treatment last?
The length depends on the goal of the treatment and individual response. For many local uncomplicated injuries the needles can be inserted for up to 15 to 20 minutes to produce an appropriate effect. Research shows that long lasting results take effect from 5-8 visits.
Is it painful?
In general, most people report that they barely feel an acupuncture needle being inserted with no pain reported. A short and minor feeling of sharpness occasionally happens when a needle is inserted but it is nothing to worry about. Acupuncture is generally a comfortable experience for most.
Interested in booking an Acupuncture Assessment with Dr Hamilton? Click Here>>
Written by the team at Rebound Health and Wellness