Franklin Chiropractor | Upper Crossed Syndrome

What Is Upper Crossed Syndrome & How Does It Effect You? Your posture plays an important role in your overall health. Poor posture leads to chronic strain and discomfort. “Upper crossed syndrome” describes poor posture that results from excessive tightness in your shoulders and chest with weakness in your neck and mid-back. This combination forces your shoulders to roll inward and your head to project forward. Your Franklin Chiropractor is here to help & would like to help you to understand how upper crossed syndrome causes trouble. Think of your spine as a telephone pole and your head as a bowling ball that sits on top. When the bowling ball is positioned directly over the top of the upright post, very little effort is required to keep it in place. If you tip the post forward and the ball begins to roll over the edge of the post, significantly more effort would be required from the muscles trying to hold it there. This effort results in chronic strain of the muscles of your neck and upper back. The chronic strain is uncomfortable and may also lead to neck pain, upper back pain, headaches, TMJ pain, and ultimately- arthritis. This postural problem is exceptionally common in computer workstation users. Correction of this problem is accomplished by your Franklin chiropractor by giving you advice on stretching the tight muscles, strengthening weak muscles, and modifying your workstation. Our Treatment here is a brief description of the treatments your Franklin Chiropractor may use to help manage your problem. 1.Joint Manipulation -Your Franklin chiropractor has found joints in your body that are not moving freely. This can cause tightness and discomfort and can accelerate unwanted degeneration i.e. arthritis. Your Franklin chiropractor will apply a gentle force with their hands, or with hand held instruments, in order to restore motion to any “restricted” joints. Sometimes a specialized table will be used to assist with these safe and effective “adjustments”. Joint manipulation improves flexibility, relieves pain and helps maintain healthy joints. 2.Therapeutic Exercise -Muscle tightness or weakness causes discomfort and alters normal joint function, leading to additional problems. Your Franklin chiropractor will target tight or weak muscles with specific therapeutic stretching and strengthening to
help increase tissue flexibility, build strength, and ease pain. Healthy, strong, and flexible muscles may help prevent re-injury. Some Things That You Can Do to Help Yourself1.Sleep Posture – Your mattress and the position you sleep in may affect your condition. •Choose a mattress that provides medium or firm support, such as a traditional coil spring or adjustable airbed. Avoid waterbeds, thick pillow tops and soft, sagging mattresses. •Always sleep on your back with a pillow either underneath your knees or on your side with a pillow between your knees. Avoid sleeping on your stomach. •Keep your neck and back covered while sleeping to avoid drafts that could cause potential muscle spasms. •2.Exercise- Aerobic -Aerobic exercise requires your heart and lungs to work harder. Aim to get at least 20-30 minutes of exercise daily, 4-6 times per week to help prevent problems ranging from heart disease to back pain. •Start off gradually, and consult your doctor to determine your appropriate level of exercise. •Vary your activities to prevent overuse injuries. Examples include – Walking, swimming running, bicycling and low impact aerobics. •Work out with a friend for motivation. •Make sure that you are still able to talk while exercising (referred to as the “talk test”).3.Workstation Ergonomics -Ergonomics is the science of adjusting your workstation to minimize strain in the following ways: •Maintain proper body position and alignment while sitting at your desk – Hips, knees and elbows at 90 degrees, shoulders relaxed, feet flat on floor or footrest. •Wrists should not be bent while at the keyboard. Forearms and wrists should not be leaning on a hard edge. •Use audio equipment that keeps you from bending your neck (i.e., Bluetooth, speakerphones, headsets). •Monitors should be visible without leaning or straining and the top line of type should be 15 degrees below eye level. •Use a lumber roll for lower back support. •Avoid sitting on anything that would create an imbalance or uneven pressure (like your wallet). •Take a 10-second break every 20 minutes: Micro activities include: standing, walking, or moving your head in a “plus sign” fashion. •Periodically, perform the “Brugger relief position” -Position your body at the chair’s edge, feet pointed outward. Weight should be on your legs and your abdomen should be relaxed. Tilt your pelvis forward, lift your sternum, arch your back, drop your arms, and roll out your palms while squeezing your shoulders together. Take a few deep cleansing breaths. Franklin Chiropractor

4.Pillow Selection -To avoid neck and upper back pain from improper neck support: •Select a pillow that will hold your head in a neutral position while sleeping on your side or back. •Avoid excessively thick or multiple pillows. •Choose a fiberfill or feather/down pillow as these are usually better than foam. •Consider a commercially available pillow that promotes good neck posture. •5.Nutrition-Brief – The foods we eat have a dramatic impact on how we feel and our bodies will perform best with quality foods. Here are a couple of nutrition tips for better health & healing: •Decrease consumption of red meat & refined carbohydrates like sugar and white flour. •Choose “healthy” oils like olive or canola. •Increase consumption of vegetables and fruits. •Choose water over carbonated, caffeinated or calorie-laden beverages. •Consume six 8-oz glasses of water daily. •6.Lifting Mechanics -Here are some tips to help you lift safely: •Avoid lifting or flexing before you’ve had the chance to warm up your muscles (especially when you first awaken or after sitting or stooping for a period of time). •To lift, stand close directly facing object with your feet shoulder width apart. •Squat down by bending with your knees, not your back. Imagine a fluorescent light tube strapped to your head and hips when bending. Don’t “break” the tube with improper movements. Tuck your chin to help keep your spine aligned. •Slowly lift by thrusting your hips forward while straightening your legs. •Keep the object close to your body, within your powerzone” between your hips and chest. Do not twist your body, if you must turn while carrying an object, reposition your feet, not your torso. An alternative lifting technique for smaller objects is the golfers lift. Swing one leg directly behind you. Keep your back straight while your body leans forward. Placing one hand on your thigh or a sturdy object may help. 7.Exercise- Resistance -Resistance exercise involves pushing and pulling against weights or resistance. Resistance exercise should be performed three to four times a week. Consider the following: •Lifting lighter weights for higher repetitions (12-20) will build strength and endurance. •Lifting heavier weights for fewer reps (6-10) builds strengths but increases risk of injury. •Make sure that you alternate your routine between “pusher” and “puller,” muscles, ideally working them on different days. “Pushers” include: Shoulders, chest, triceps, abs, quadriceps, and calves. “Pullers” include: Biceps, back and posterior shoulder muscles and hamstrings. •Always check with your doctor before starting any exercise program. •8.


Sleep Habits -Researchers recommend sleeping for 7-9 hours per night. Even small deficits can pose problems like decreased athleticism, diminished brain function, increased inflammation and a greater likelihood to get sick- sleeping only 6 hours per night makes you four times more likely to catch a cold when compared to sleeping 7 or more hours. Follow these additional tips for better sleep: •Limit screen time before retiring- the blue light emitted from computer monitors, phones and TV’s can limit melatonin production and adversely affect sleep. Try reading from a book or magazine instead. •Ideally, eat your last meal 3-4 hours before bedtime and especially limit heavy, spicy or high-fat foods. Ration how much you drink before bedtime to minimize bathroom breaks. Particularly limit caffeine in the afternoon and evening- caffeine has a half-life of 6-9 hours and can keep you awake long after the last sip. •Stick to a sleep schedule, trying to retire and arise at the same time each day, including weekends. •Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillow. Choose 100% cotton sleep clothes and sheets over synthetic materials (i.e. polyester). Some research has suggested that your “deep” REM sleep improves when your mattress is oriented so that your body is aligned North and South as opposed to East and West. •Most people sleep best in a cool room; ideally between 60-67 degrees F. •9.Yoga – Yoga is a popular method to stretch and strengthen the body. Many people enjoy yoga and it can be performed in groups or individually. Studies suggest that yoga may help reduce chronic pain and improve your ability to walk and move. Regular yoga exercises might have other health benefits such as reducing heart rate and blood pressure, and may even help relieve anxiety and depression. Follow these yoga tips to stay healthy: •If you’re new to yoga, find a reputable, experienced instructor and start with a Level I or Beginners class. •Start slowly and stay within your limits; don’t feel bad if you need to slow down or skip some poses. Listen to your body and avoid any position that causes pain. Remember this is all about relaxation, not competition. •Don’t compare yourself to others. Everyone has varying levels of flexibility and experience. Be patient. Like any other athletic activity, practice makes perfect (or at least better). •


10.Mattress Replacement -The age and quality of your mattress have a major impact on how you feel. A worn-out mattress can certainly contribute to back and neck problems. Most experts agree that traditional mattresses should be replaced every 5-8 years. Since you spend about one third of your life in bed, choosing the right mattress is critical. Unfortunately, mattress selection is a highly individual process as there is no single “best” mattress. The following tips will help you make an informed decision: *Choose a medium-firm model. Mattresses that are either too soft or excessively firm can aggravate back pain. *Keep the pillow-top relatively thin. An excessively plush topper is the equivalent of placing a cheap mattress on top of a good one. *Always replace the box spring foundation when you replace the mattress. *Don’t choose the most expensive mattress in the store- but don’t set your budget unreasonably low. Bargain mattresses are not a good option. Your savings should be focused on avoiding unnecessary add-ons (mattress covers, custom sheets, pillows, etc). *Look for vendors that provide an in-home warranty that allows you to exchange the mattress if it does not meet your expectations. *Your chiropractor may be able to provide additional suggestions to help you choose between, coil spring, memory foam, water and air beds. Franklin Chiropractor