We can all agree that the majority of the population is looking at screens too much. This is leading to something called upper cross syndrome. Whether that’s a phone screen while texting or playing a game, a computer screen at work, or just your TV at home while you’re trying to relax from looking at screens all day by looking at a screen all day. While some of this can’t is unavoidable (I’m sure you’d like to keep your job), some of the associated symptoms of this can be alleviated.
One of the causes of upper cross syndrome is our use of screens. While the long-term effects of using screens this much is an entirely different topic, you’ve surely felt the impact of using them too much short term. Whether that’s neck discomfort playing the new hot iPhone game or midback pain from leaning over your desk, we’ve all felt it. This process has a name, and that is Upper Cross Syndrome.
What is Upper Cross Syndrome?
Upper Cross Syndrome is what it sounds like, a syndrome of the upper region of the body that forms a cross pattern. This cross pattern shows one line of the cross showing weak muscles and one line of the cross showing tight muscles. To fix this problem it’s straight forward what must be done, relax the tight muscles, and strengthen the weak muscles.
Before we do that, we need to explain how this happened because the habits that started this need to be broken or else the same leak keeps being patched only to start leaking again.
It all starts with screens or books, or anything that makes you look down for long periods. As you are looking down, over time, it causes you to have forward head posture not only while you are looking down, but it general. As the head is more forward, it puts more pressure on the back of your neck, holding your head that far away from you (try holding 10lbs next to your chest and then at arm’s length away, little different?) and the muscles get tight.
These tight muscles overpower the weak muscles on the front of your neck that is trying to prevent this. As these muscles tighten and your head moves forward, your back has to compensate for this. Your midback gets rounded as it leans forward, pulling your shoulders forward. As your shoulders are always forward, it shortens the muscles of your chest, causing them to tighten and pull the shoulders forward more. With the chest tight, it pulls your shoulder blades farther apart and weakens the muscles between them as they aren’t able to fight against the tight chest muscles.
All of this together completes the Upper Cross Syndrome. The first line is from the back of the neck, crossing the neck to the front of the chest, showing the tight muscles. The second line is the front of the neck, crossing the neck to the back of your shoulder blades, showing the weak muscles. This cross of the Upper Cross Syndrome shows us where the start on the treatment for the symptoms you may be experiencing.
For even more information on upper cross syndrome check out this link with information from another great chiropractor!
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