Articles in Category: Ergonomics

The Forward Head Posture

on Friday, 26 May 2017. Posted in Newsletters, General Health, Ergonomics, Chiropractic

The Forward Head Posture

The Forward Head Posture

In the January newsletter, we discussed the different types of common postures observed in people and how ideally the spine likes to be in an as neutral position as possible (not leaning forward too far and not overextending backwards). 

 

This month, we will start fixing those with a Kyphotic posture (the slouching and neck protrusion). 

 

First we start by correcting the top of the spine; the neck.

 

Kyphosis 1 

To minimize the stress and strains on the neck, the cervical spine ideally has to be in a vertical line with the body's centre of gravity. This position is balanced off by the front neck muscles (the sternocleidomastoid) and the back neck muscles (levator scapulae and trapezius). Like the wires holding a bridge.

 

This abnormal posture can cause headaches, neck pain, sometimes jaw pain and rounded shoulders. Most people also often feel pain/tightness starting from the neck radiating up to the base of the skull. In a prolonged period, an excessive load on the joint and muscles are imposed which can then degenerate the cervical spine leading to irritation of the nerves.  

 

In Forward Head Posture, the SCM shortens and the middle fibres of trapezius and levator increases in length and weakness. Most of the time the commonly prescribed treatment for FHP is to stretch the levator and trapezius (which is good short term) but it doesn't give you a long term solution as the SCM is still shortened and the levator and middle trapezius are in a lengthened position. 

 

What needs to be done is to relax the SCM and bring posterior cervical muscles to a correct length. To do so, the best exercise to begin with is the chin tuck exercise.  

 

Rolled Towel Chin Tucks:

YouTube Link: https://youtu.be/m3smFwVGy7s

Chin Tucks 

 

A FHP not only increases load on the cervical spine, it also leads to a rounded shoulder which enhances the flexion of the mid back (the slouch).

 

Being in this position long term can affect your lung expansion capabilities, digestion rate, shoulder impingement and also cause loss of height. 

 

Kyphosis 2

 

Correcting your mid back will help your neck feel better in the long period. If you find that doing the chin tuck exercise does not make you feel any better at all, it probably means you will have to start fixing the thoracic spine first. 

 

The seated thoracic extension exercise is one of our clinics favourite. All you need is a chair and it can be practiced anywhere. Try doing these 2 exercises 10-20 reps throughout the day and feel the difference it makes on your neck and back!

 

Seated Thoracic Stretch:

YouTube Link: https://youtu.be/YcURm7DWXko

Seated Thoracic 1 Seated Thoracic 2 Seated Thoracic 3

    

By Iris Tan

B.App.Sc (Chiropractic) M.Clin.Chiropractic. 

Memb: CA, Gonstead (Australia)

Iris picture new contrast 

Reference 

1.Lee, K.-J., Han, H.-Y., Cheon, S.-H., Park, S.-H., & Yong, M.-(2015). The effect of forward head posture on muscle activity during neck protraction and retraction. Journal of Physical Therapy Science27(3), 977–979. http://doi.org/10.1589/jpts.27.977

2.Dalkilinç, (2015). The benefits of good posture - Murat DalkilinçYouTube. Retrieved 8 March 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OyK0oE5rwFY

Upper Cross Syndrome

on Thursday, 14 February 2019. Posted in Massage, Newsletters, General Health, Ergonomics

Upper Cross Syndrome

Upper Cross Syndrome (UCS) refers to a particular configuration of muscles that are underactive and overactive in the back, neck, shoulders and chest. Muscles of the upper back and into the neck become overactive and strained and the muscles of the chest become shortened and tight. UCS gets its name from the “X” shape that develops as a result of the underactive and overactive muscles overlapping, along with the surrounding muscles that consequently become weak. 

 

 

How Does This Happen?

UCS is typically a result of inappropriate posture, specifically sitting or standing with the head forward for prolonged periods. Activities that may promote a head forward position include:

  • Computer and laptop use

  • Browsing, texting, apps and gaming on mobile devices

  • Reading

  • Watching TV

  • Driving

How Can This Affect You?

Tension headaches and migrainesthe head forward position increases the stress placed on the upper back and the muscles at the back of the neck, increasing your risk of headaches.

 

General neck, shoulder and upper back pain – can be experienced due to the impacted muscles of UCS. Trigger points or tender areas can develop due to the constant stress being placed on these muscles.

 

Impaired respiratory function – rounded shoulders and a forward head position typically cause tightness and shortening of muscles as seen in those with UCS. These overactive and underactive muscles as well as the position of the rib cage can result in impaired respiratory function.

 

You may also experience:

  • Jaw pain

  • Tiredness

  • Difficulty sitting, reading, watching TV or driving too long

  • Restricted range of motion in the neck or shoulders

  • Discomfort, pain, tingling or numbness in the upper arm

  • Tightness in the chest

  • Lower back pain

 

What Can I Do? Well, I’m glad you asked!

Prevention is better than a cure as they say and the best way to prevent UCS is to avoid activities that require a head forward position for extended periods of time, this may be:

  • Limiting time spent using computers and laptops or mobile devices

  • Take regular breaks while sitting or engaged in problematic activities

  • Being mindful of movements or activities that may worsen symptoms and avoid these when possible

  • Stretch and strengthen muscles of the back, neck, shoulders and chest

  • Maintain a good posture

Can Massage Help With My Symptoms? YES!

Massage can reduce the pain and discomfort associated with UCS. Massage Therapists use soft tissue and active release techniques in combination with stretching and helpful suggestions for strengthening exercises.

 

As a former office worker of almost 20 years, having spent more than 40 hours a week in front of a computer; I understand the impact that this type of work or activity has on our body. I appreciate that it is not always simple to limit time on the computer or mobile device; or taking regular breaks are not always easy or practical; or even maintaining a good posture throughout the day, “I got tired, I slouched in my chair” – I hear you. Any step towards a healthier you, is a step in the right direction.

 

 

Written by Maharlia Kennedy

Remedial Massage Therapist (Dip. Remedial Massage)

 

 

Refernce for Image: https://www.healthandexercise.com.au/exercise-physiology/exercise-physiologyposture-correction-exercises-upper-crossed-syndrome/

 

Upper Cross Syndrome (UCS) refers to a particular configuration of muscles that are underactive and overactive in the back, neck, shoulders and chest. Muscles of the upper back and into the neck become overactive and strained and the muscles of the chest become shortened and tight. UCS gets its name from the “X” shape that develops as a result of the underactive and overactive muscles overlapping, along with the surrounding muscles that consequently become weak.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Does This Happen?

UCS is typically a result of inappropriate posture, specifically sitting or standing with the head forward for prolonged periods. Activities that may promote a head forward position include:

  • Computer and laptop use

  • Browsing, texting, apps and gaming on mobile devices

  • Reading

  • Watching TV

  • Driving

 

How Can This Affect You?

Tension headaches and migrainesthe head forward position increases the stress placed on the upper back and the muscles at the back of the neck, increasing your risk of headaches.

 

General neck, shoulder and upper back pain – can be experienced due to the impacted muscles of UCS. Trigger points or tender areas can develop due to the constant stress being placed on these muscles.

 

Impaired respiratory function – rounded shoulders and a forward head position typically cause tightness and shortening of muscles as seen in those with UCS. These overactive and underactive muscles as well as the position of the rib cage can result in impaired respiratory function.

 

You may also experience:

  • Jaw pain

  • Tiredness

  • Difficulty sitting, reading, watching TV or driving too long

  • Restricted range of motion in the neck or shoulders

  • Discomfort, pain, tingling or numbness in the upper arm

  • Tightness in the chest

  • Lower back pain

 

What Can I Do? Well, I’m glad you asked!

Prevention is better than a cure as they say and the best way to prevent UCS is to avoid activities that require a head forward position for extended periods of time, this may be:

  • Limiting time spent using computers and laptops or mobile devices

  • Take regular breaks while sitting or engaged in problematic activities

  • Being mindful of movements or activities that may worsen symptoms and avoid these when possible

  • Stretch and strengthen muscles of the back, neck, shoulders and chest

  • Maintain a good posture

 

Can Massage Help With My Symptoms? YES!

Massage can reduce the pain and discomfort associated with UCS. Massage Therapists use soft tissue and active release techniques in combination with stretching and helpful suggestions for strengthening exercises.

 

As a former office worker of almost 20 years, having spent more than 40 hours a week in front of a computer; I understand the impact that this type of work or activity has on our body. I appreciate that it is not always simple to limit time on the computer or mobile device; or taking regular breaks are not always easy or practical; or even maintaining a good posture throughout the day, “I got tired, I slouched in my chair” – I hear you. Any step towards a healthier you, is a step in the right direction.

 

 

Written by Maharlia Kennedy

Remedial Massage Therapist (Dip. Remedial Massage)

 

 

Image: https://www.healthandexercise.com.au/exercise-physiology/exercise-physiologyposture-correction-exercises-upper-crossed-syndrome/

 

What Posture Are You?

on Friday, 26 May 2017. Posted in Newsletters, General Health, Ergonomics, Chiropractic

What Posture Are You?

I am sure many of us have been told that a poor posture can cause back and neck pain over time. A lot of people then try to improve their posture and one of the concepts I preach a lot about is how your spine will adapt overtime. 

 

In basic terms, your body tries to keep your eyes on the horizon and your spine as close to the midline as possible. So, if an imbalance is developed somewhere in your body, your spine will try and correct it. 

 

For example, your hips are tilted more forward than normal. If left alone, the body will fall to the front and tip over. Therefore, to prevent this from happening, the spine lowers the centre of gravity of the body by increasing the curve of the midback, now leaving us with a slouched/hunchback. Finally, counterbalance the midback changes, the head moves forward and away from the body creating a protruding head carriage.   

 

Here are the few most common types of posture observed:

 

1.(hunchback)

Hyperkyphosis 

  • The head is displaced forward and away from the centre of the body. 
  • The upper back is rounded increasing the curve of the midback.
  • In some cases, vertebral fractures due to osteoporosis or a spinal deformity called Scheurmann's disease (more commonly seen in young males) can create a noticeable hump.

2.Lordosis

Lordosis 

  • The low back curve is overextended with the belly protruding forward.
  • The head is displaced backwards behind the centre of the body.
  • Shoulders may also be pulled back too much causing tightness around the neck. 
  • Over straightening of the knees causing constant hamstring tightness.

3.Scoliosis

Scoliosis 1Scoliosis 2 

  • An abnormal sideways curve of the spine. 
  • Shoulder height is uneven (Left higher than right or vice versa).
  • A protruding hump on one side when bending forward.
  • Uneven pelvic height (Left higher than right or vice versa) may contribute to low back pain in prolonged standing.
  • Scoliosis can be a congenital problem, but it may also be caused by improper function of the muscles holding the spine.

 

The moral of the story is look deeper than the one obvious imbalance to make a longer lasting change. Understand what kind of posture you are adapting first instead of attacking only where the pain is. If you do that, your problem most likely will never be fixed permanently, because it is all connected.  

 

Share this with a friend who needs to improve their posture!

 

By Iris Tan

B.App.Sc (Chiropractic) M.Clin.Chiropractic. 

Memb: CA, Gonstead (Australia)

Iris picture new contrast