Headaches and Neck Pain at Work? Upper Crossed Syndrome May be to Blame

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Don't be chained to your desk.

Sitting in at a desk all day could be causing more problems than you realize. The forward head posture and rounded shoulders from which many office workers suffer is often associated with a condition called Upper Crossed Syndrome. This condition can also be accompanied by headaches and neck pain, pain in the upper back and shoulders, and decreased neck range of motion. Upper crossed syndrome is a prevalent condition  in today’s workplace. There are many things that can contribute to the advancement of upper crossed syndrome; here are a few things to keep in mind:

Do you wear a tie?

Creative Commons License Sitting So Much Should Scare You Infographic by Ergotron is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Everyone knows how fun it is to sit at a desk and stare at a computer screen all day. It is even more enjoyable when the tie around your neck is choking you and making it difficult to breathe. One 2009 study demonstrated that a tight necktie can lead to increased upper trapezius activity and decreased neck range of motion within a matter of minutes. An overactive trapezius is one of the contributing factors to upper crossed syndrome.

Are you a swimmer?

Swimmers are also commonly found to have overactive pectorals, trapezius, decreased shoulder range of motion, rounded shoulders and a forward head position. Over time, the repetitive motion of different strokes and the body’s position in the water can lead to undesirable changes in static posture. Musicians may also be at risk for postural impairment and static alterations due to spending an extended duration of time in the playing position.

How much time do you spend sitting every day?

Whether you spend long periods of time sitting in front of a computer screen, behind the wheel during long commutes or on a piano bench, posture should be one of your main concerns. The cumulative effect of extended periods on our posteriors with poor posture has been shown to cause multiple issues. Muscle imbalances can lead to altered joint positioning to tightness in the neck and upper back, which may lead to headaches and muscle and joint pain. If you can’t reduce your the amount of time you sit every day, you could at least practice perfect posture.

Never Fear! We can win this fight!

Even though postural impairment is incredibly prevalent these days, the news isn’t all bad. A combination of manual therapy, exercise and self-care can be very effective in treating conditions like upper crossed syndrome. For instance, foam rolls may be used on nearly any region of the body, and when used in conjunction with other techniques can improve soft tissue extensibility. Alternatively, a Tiger Ball may be used for those hard to reach places like the upper back and neck! Along with self care, manual therapy techniques like Active Release Technique and Graston Technique are very effective at treating soft-tissue dysfunction and postural conditions. Their usefulness is enhanced when they are paired with corrective exercises that target shoulder, neck and back stabilization. There is hope for office workers, swimmers and musicians who may be suffering from headaches, neck, shoulder or back pain, and other symptoms associated with postural impairments. Immediate steps may be taken to treat these conditions. What are you waiting for? Come visit us at InHealth PLLC to discuss the solution to your pain and get started on your personalized treatment plan!

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