It is not uncommon for downtown Syracuse office workers to spend 8 hours or more in front of their computers. All this cumulative time has resulted in some postural changes in the body. Many patients that come into the office have these same posture issues, and most of them are related to work.  The first official term for these postural imbalances was Upper Cross Syndrome.

Upper Cross Syndrome

This is a medical term describing the issues we see in the upper back and neck posture.  By definition, upper crossed is over activation or tightness of two muscle groups and the under activation or weakness of their opposing muscle groups.  The tight muscles in the upper back consist of the pectoral muscles. Furthermore, tight muscles of the neck include the suboccipital, upper trapezius, and levator scapulae.  Opposingly, the weak muscles in the upper back include the rhomboids and lower trapezius. While the weak muscles in the neck consist of the deep neck flexors.

Upper Cross

What does this look like?

With respect to the image on the right, there are two characteristics that are common with Upper Cross Syndrome. These two characteristics are Anterior Head Carriage, and Rounded Shoulders.

Anterior Head Carriage.

Neutral posture is when the ear is directly over the spine, shoulders and hips.  As the head moves anterior, the chin begins to jut forward to keep the head level.  Every inch of forward head carriage adds 10 lbs of force to the spine and muscles holding the head up.   The average head weighs 10 lbs, and one inch of forward head carriage can double the stress on your neck.

Rounded Shoulders

This is when the scapula or shoulder blade moves into a position that directs the arm socket forward and down.  This draws the muscles that help to hold the head up out of proper position. This can then add additional stress to the posterior neck muscles.  This can also stretch some of the posterior muscles, like the rhomboids, to a weakened point.  This will also prevent proper range of motion in the shoulder which can affect your athletic ability.

I have posted a blog on some of the exercises to battle neck pain. For more specific help on how to reduce the long term effects of Office Posture, invite us to your office. Or, you can reach out to Cuse Chiro and make an appointment in our downtown Syracuse chiropractic office.