Slouchy posture, a forward head and droopy shoulders have become so common, that you might almost think it is normal to hold that position. In fact, because so many of us have assumed this postural change, various conditions such as neck pain, headaches, shoulder pain, vertigo and TMJ issues have been on the rise. It’s become such a problem that researchers have actually named this poor posture as Upper Crossed Syndrome, due to the criss-cross arrangement of tight and weak muscles that allow it to occur.
At first, people tend to ignore the discomfort, perhaps take NSAIDs to mask the pain and complain to their friends about how slumpy they look. Everything is all good, right? Sure… Over time, this postural change can lead to a variety of degenerative conditions including chronic tension headaches, cervical disc herniations, arthritis along the joints of the neck, shoulder impingement and rotator cuff tears.
To prevent Upper Crossed Syndrome, encourage your kids and teens to limit time at the computer and staring at their tablets or cell phones. Regular exercise that encourages them to walk or run briskly, raise their arms overhead or pulling back can help undo the hours of sitting at school or work.
Once they start having symptoms, or if they have been slouched forward for a while, you may need to call a chiropractic physician to help “reset” their posture and teach them how to reinforce the care with targeted stretches or exercises specific to their needs. Traditional medicine is not very adept at treating Upper Crossed Syndrome and many medical doctors will refer you to a chiropractor for relief.
The earlier Upper Crossed Syndrome is treated, the faster patients notice improvement with care. If you’ve had symptoms for a while, all hope is not lost. It will just require more time to fully recover as you attempt to retrain your body and brain to the new normal. Most people notice improvements as little as 2-3 visits.
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