Is Your Posture Helping Or Hurting You?

Those who spend hours at their desk each day often feel pain in their chest or back. They can also have headaches because of tight neck muscles caused by leaning forward too often without good postural alignment.

Vladimir Janda, a highly notarized Medical Physician was the first physician to define posture into the different “crossed syndromes”.

In 1979 he classified postural distortion into upper and lower syndromes.

Based upon these syndromes, postural corrections were theorized to correct these musculoskeletal imbalances. We will look at those in this module.

Visual Observation Of Upper Crossed Syndrome

Picture two lines along your neck, shoulders, and back.

A = The Tight Line

  • Staring at screens or phones cause muscle imbalance patterns to develop. This results in the muscles lifting around your shoulders, pulling your head forward.

B = The Weak Line 

  • Line B muscles react to changes in the neck, head and shoulders and the body compensates by inhibiting the muscles.

The muscles in this area all play a role in distorting and compression the body's bony framework which can lead to pain-spams-pain cycles. 

Restoring the original balance and symmetry requires a therapist to manually lengthen the tight muscles and tonify the weak, inhabited tissues.

What Are The Main Causes Of Upper Crossed Syndrome?

Our transition from a society of movers to sitting all day has created tension in our neck, back and shoulders.

Poor posture has become the leading cause of upper crossed syndrome. Forward rounded shoulders are the initial postural deviation that many people exhibit, and overuse of smartphones, computers, tablets and sitting for extended periods with driving can lead to unconscious shoulder rounding.

Visual Observation of the Lower Crossed Syndrome

A = The Tight Line

  • The tight line affects the muscles are generally the hip flexors. This creates pain and restricted movement.

B = The Weak Line 

  • Line B shows the weak muscles. These are generally the abdominals and gluteal muscles. 

Restoring the original balance and symmetry requires a therapist to manually lengthen the tight muscles and tonify the weak, inhabited tissues.

What Are Some Corrective Exercises You Can Do?

In order to avoid long-term health problems, such as upper crossed syndrome and strained neck muscles due to poor posture, it's important at all times throughout the day that you take care of your body.

Corrective exercises are typically spine-sparing strategies that include movements and stretches to correct postural distortions and musculoskeletal imbalances.

This would include concepts like taking micro-breaks very often at work to stretch for 20 seconds, look 20 yards away at an object to readjust the muscles in your eyes from staring at a computer screen.

The following exercises will increase your motion and should reduce pain:

  • an overhead arm reaches
  • Brugger’s postural relief
  • sitting to standing
  • spine mobilization exercises
  • wall angels

These exercises can help open up the posture from sitting in a forward flexed position for hours at a time. 

Another Approach: Functional Rehabilitation

Functional rehabilitation would include incorporating functional exercises that are intended to activate the core. 

This activation will help strengthen the body’s muscles to make the muscles stronger to endure hours of repetitive posture.

Some of these exercises might include:

  • side bridges
  • rows
  • planks
  • cat/camel exercises
  • bird dog
  • superman extension exercises

Having chronic neck pain or a back injury can make an otherwise average day feel miserable.

You don't have to suffer alone - come and see us.

We'd love to see you and make sure you are on the path to great health. Request an appointment and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

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Do you feel like you understand Upper and Lower Cross Syndromes? Are you taking the necessary steps to help improve your posture?

If you feel confident you can answer "Yes", it's time to move to the next module.

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