Over the last three days, I've spoken to five people who are dealing with neck pain. All four of these folks have had no history of an injury, so what's the deal? My guess is it has something to do with how we have spent sitting, working, and on our couch during quarantine.
Upper Cross Syndrome
A lot of times, neck pain is due upper cross syndrome, a condition made popular by the work of Dr. Vladimir Janda. Usually, due to poor posture over time, the upper trapezius, levator scapula, and pectoralis become tight, and the deep neck flexors, lower trapezius, and serratus anterior muscles become weak. In addition to neck pain, a person may also experience shoulder pain, TMJ, headaches, upper back pain, tiredness, and tightness in the chest. Activities like reading, texting, and working on our computer from the couch can contribute to upper cross syndrome.
So how do we fix this?
Since many of us are still working on our laptops from the couch, then scrolling through social media during our downtime, choosing a more optimal at-home workspace, and taking breaks throughout the day can be a big help. Some other ways you can support yourself throughout your workday are:
take a walk while focusing on proper posture
a gentle chest stretch laying over a bolster or rolled-up blanket
reach your hands behind your back and stretch your chest
place your laptop or monitor a few inches above eye level
Acupuncture and Upper Cross
Acupuncture can support relieving upper cross syndrome by working directly with the muscles. Very simply, acupuncture can help release the tight muscles and strengthen the weak muscle. An acupuncturist can "jumpstart" the inhibited muscles by needling the muscle's motor point and applying electrical stimulation. A motor point is an area where a nerve enters the muscle belly and provides the ability to contract. When a muscle is inhibited, it's difficult for the muscle to contract and fire, resulting in weakness. When an inhibited muscles are restored, and tight muscles are released, posture improves, and pain and discomfort decrease.
Chiropractic Care and Upper Cross
According to Dr. Dev'n Moran, Chiropractic care can help improve range of motion and decrease pain by adding extension to the thoracic spine. The thoracic spine is the vertebra from the end of your neck down to the bottom of your rib cage. When a person sits in a flexed position, such as sitting on a couch working for hours at a time, your muscles and joints can "freeze" in that position. Chiropractic adjustments help to release that freeze in the joints and restore the motion that you have lost. Once the joints are moving better and more appropriately aligned, the muscles will be more balanced as a result.
Once your acupuncturist and chiropractor help get the muscles and joints back into proper alignment, it is essential to continue strengthening the deep neck flexors, lower trapezius, and serratus anterior. It is also important to keep stretching the upper trapezius, levator scapula, and pectoralis. Regular acupuncture and chiropractic care will be a big help in maintaining proper alignment.
If you are located in Charleston, South Carolina, and need an acupuncturist or chiropractor to help you with discomfort due to upper cross syndrome, check us out at Carolina Spine and Sport. We are conveniently located in the same office to assist your needs.
For more information, visit our website
Acupuncturist -Tiffany Schaal - www.breatheeasywellness.com
Chiropractor - Dr. Dev'n Moran - www.carolinaspineandsportsc.com
Disclaimer: The information provided in or through this website, article, and blog is for educational and informational purposes only. I am not providing health care or medical advice, or attempting to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any physical, mental or emotional issue, disease or condition.