Articles in Category: General Health

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/

 

Myth Busters: It's Important to Stretch before Exercise

on Thursday, 14 February 2019. Posted in Newsletters, General Health, Sporting Injuries, Ergonomics, Training and Performance

Myth Busters: It's Important to Stretch before Exercise

For many years it was believed that performing static stretches before exercising reduced your risk of injury. However research has shown that this is not the case.

 

Static stretching is a method of stretching where you gradually lengthen your muscles and tendons by holding your body in a certain position for approximately 30 seconds. An example of this might be a hamstring stretch (see below). This type of stretching is useful in improving flexibility and muscle function.

 

Stretch 1 

A study completed in Norway that had over 1000 participants found that there was little to no reduction in injury risk when stretching was performed before exercise. Research has shown that performing a warm up made up of dynamic stretches can increase body awareness, strength and neuromuscular control which reduces the risk of injury.

Stretch 2  Stretch 3

Dynamic stretching is a type of stretching where you gradually lengthen muscles and tendons and also warm them up by moving your joint through a range of motion similar to the activity you are about to perform. For example if you are about to go for a walk/run/cycle performing leg swings can be beneficial (see below).

 

Static stretching is still important to perform after you exercise. This can help in easing muscle soreness caused by Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness (DOMS) which can occur 24-48 hours after an exercise session. It is a good idea to perform these stretches in your cool down, focusing on the areas of your body that you worked most.

 

So if you’ve been doing static stretches as part of your warm up at the gym or on the field maybe swap it for some dynamic stretches and save the static stretches for your cool down.

 

If you would like to learn or know more about what stretches are most beneficial for you as an individual get in contact with Emily our Exercise Physiologist here at Institute of Sports and Spines!

 

 

Written by Emily Holzberger

Qualifications: B. ExSS Majoring in Clinical ExPhys.   

 

Resource: ABC Health and Wellbeing, 2014

 

Curbing the Low Back Pain while Driving

on Thursday, 24 January 2019. Posted in Newsletters, General Health, Chiropractic

Low Back Pain while Driving

You are not alone if driving, especially for long periods or through heavy traffic make your back, neck and shoulders stiff.

While these days car seats are more “adjustable friendly'' than before, often still they do not have enough lumbar support and the proper seat angles to take the pressure off your spine.

This then encourages poor low back posture, which in a cascade of events then stresses the mid back and neck at the same time.

If your work requires you to drive for long periods, then you are definitely more vulnerable to this problem.

How Do You Fight Against a Flawed Design?

The answer to this is WORK WITH WHAT WE CAN CONTROL.

STEP 1: START FROM SCRATCH

Push your seat as far back as possible. If the steering wheel is adjustable, bring it high and close to the driver.

Drop the seat height and cushion to their lowest and the seat's backrest reclined back to 30 degrees.

STEP 2: SEAT DISTANCE FROM PEDALS

 

Slowly move the seat forward one notch at a time until you find a comfortable position allowing your leg to have good control over the pedals (ideally the knees should not be over bent).

STEP 3: BACKREST AND CUSHION HEIGHT

 

Again, recline the backrest one notch at a time until your back feels supported. Make sure it is not excessively declined because this will interrupt the driver's field of vision.

As for the cushion height, the rule of thumb is “Knees LOWER or at the SAME height as your Hips”.

This can be a bit tricky because most cushions are in an inclined position making the knees sit higher than the hips (which is not what we want). Bring it up to the point where your knees are at the same height as your hips. Then, sit on a cushion or a rolled up towel to help lift the hips up higher than the knees relieving some of the pressure in the lower back.

STEP 4: STEERING WHEEL

 

Move the steering wheel to a distance where your wrist is comfortably resting on it at 10 and 3 o’clock position with a slightly bent elbow.

It should also be adjusted to a height where the controls are clearly viewed and not touching your legs while driving.

STEP 5: GET OUT OF THE CAR

 

This is probably the simplest thing anyone can do if the back is hurting when driving. Yes. Get out of the car and take a short 5-10 minute walk ideally at each hour of driving.

Studies have shown that the likelihood of a back hurting sitting in a car verse an office chair is a lot higher due to the vibration of the vehicle whilst driving as more strain is inflicted on the spine as a whole.

So, do your back a favour and get that car seat set up right!

 

Written By Iris Tan
B.App Sc (Chiropractic)
M.Clin Chiropractic