By Dr. Matt Rhynold, DC
What is it?
Before you begin reading this post, take a look at how your body is positioned.
- Are you slouched?
- Is your head bent forward looking down at your phone?
- Are your shoulders rounded?
If so, you’re not alone. Cell phone use is just one of many factors that can contribute to neck pain, as well as a condition I am highlighting today. Upper Crossed Syndrome is a very common condition experienced by many individuals. It is characterized by:
- a head forward posture
- rounded shoulders
- and a specific pattern of weak and strong muscles that can contribute to stiffness and pain in the neck and upper back.
Think about a teeter totter – the more weight you put on one side, the more weight you need to add to the other side to keep the bar level. The same is the case with your neck.
The average human head weight anywhere from 20-30lbs. Head forward posture adds that weight to the front of the body, causing the muscles in the back of the neck and upper back to work on overdrive to keep your head level and your neck stable. Can you imagine holding a 20-30lbs weight for minutes, sometimes hours, on end? It’s no wonder that in Upper Crossed Syndrome, these muscles holding onto your head are overused and can become injured. Moreover, muscles critical for the normal maintenance of neck posture are underused and not properly recruited.
What factors can lead to Upper Crossed Syndrome?
- Increased cell phone use
- Increased laptop/computer use
- Improper work ergonomics (especially while working from home)
- Prolonged time sitting and slouching
- Improper breathing techniques
Am I stuck like this forever?
No! In fact, corrective exercises have been shown to restore normal functioning of the neck muscles and improve posture. Exercises targeting underused muscles of the neck and lower trapezius can improve head forward posture, rounding of shoulders, and shoulder blade positioning.
Manual therapists like myself are able to identify which structures need to be addressed and create a treatment plan that incorporates hands-on care with exercises that can not only correct your problems now, but prevent them from returning.
If you are having neck pain and want it assessed and treated, please book an appointment with me.
My treating hours at Clarkson Sport & Physiotherapy are:
Tu 11:30am – 7:30pm
Th 10am – 3:30pm Fri 10am – 3:00pm Sat 10am – 3pm
Dr. Matthew Rhynold, D.C., B.Sc Kin (Hons)