the Source of Neck & Shoulder Pains

Neck/Shoulder Pain - UPPER Cross Syndrome

Nowadays, it is fairly easy to see people with rounded shoulders, forward neck, and abnormal kyphosis in upper back area. Formal name for these incorrect postures altogether is called Upper Crossed Syndrome (UCS), which is caused usually by staying in "bad posture" during their daily routine activities such as work, study, sleeping, driving and so on. Postural problems such as UCS are becoming more evident every day especially in younger population due to the fast growing technology which predispose youth group to be more prone to overusing cell phone, computer, and others over doing physical activities.

Prolonged incorrect posture leads to dysfunctional length-tension relationship in the related muscle groups. UCS induced from imbalance between flexors and extensors of upper back (upper trapezius and levator scapula) and chest muscles (pectoralis major and minor). When chest muscles become tightened and upper back muscles become lengthened or loosened, it pulls your neck forward and round the shoulders inwards. The muscular imbalances get worse over time if they are left untreated. Proper exercise prescription and getting guidance from health care professional would be effective approach however you are likely to get best results from consistently correcting your posture throughout the day, not just during workout sessions. 

According to corrective exercise continuum, postural correction starts with releasing the knots or trigger points in your muscles (usually performed with massage ball or foam roller) then followed by lengthening/stretching the targeted muscle groups. Activating and strengthening the weakened or inactive muscles would improve your posture further by returning the altered length-tension relationship of the muscles back to normal or even stronger.  Working with a qualified kinesiologist would greatly benefit. Initial assessment of the situation is critical in prescription of these exercise interventions.

Again, exercises and treatments are important to make corrections and fix the source of discomfort and pain, but maintaining good posture throughout the day is just equally important.

written by the team at BODIWORKS Institute


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