Check out our previous blog post to learn about what upper crossed syndrome is. This blog will focus on active care for this condition. After an assessment with your chiropractor, he/she will first provide passive care such as joint manipulation, myofascial release and advice. The start of the active care component of your treatment will then begin and include stretches and exercises you can do at home. Below are phase I exercises referenced from ChiroUp.com specifically tailored to patients first starting treatment for upper crossed syndrome.
Deep Neck Flexion
Lie on your back, with your head supported. Perform a “chin tuck” by retracting your head to create a double chin. Lift your head, bringing chin toward your chest without lifting shoulders- as though you are looking at your toes. Hold this position for 3-4 seconds. Lower your head and relax. Keep your teeth apart during exercise to decrease straining at the jaw.
Sit or stand looking forward with good posture. Tuck your chin to create a double chin. Hold this position for 3-5 seconds. Return to the starting position. Focus your vision on a spot on the wall to avoid neck flexion or extension. To progress, place a finger on your chin, and apply backwards pressure at end range. Imagine that your head is on drawer slides. Keep your mouth closed. Alternately, this exercise may be performed standing with your back against a wall. Your buttocks and shoulder blades should be in contact with the wall. Tuck your chin to make a “double chin” until the base of your skull contacts the wall, relax and repeat as directed.
While sitting, grasp the seat of your chair with your left hand. Rotate your head toward the right and look downward toward the floor. Place your right hand over the top of your head and gently pull down and diagonally in the direction you are looking. Against the resistance of your hand, contract your neck in an attempt to push your head backward/diagonally from the direction you are looking for seven seconds. Relax and gently pull your head further toward the floor to increase the stretch. Lock into this new position, and make sure that you continue to keep your head rotated in the direction that you are pulling.
Corner Pectoral Stretch
Begin standing, facing a corner with your palms on the walls above head level. Step toward the corner and “lean in” to stretch your chest muscles. Against the resistance of the wall, attempt to push your hands into the wall and toward each other for 7 seconds. Relax and “lean in” to increase the stretch. Lock into this new position and repeat 3 contract/ relax cycles, twice per day or as directed.
While sitting, reach down with your right arm, grasping the bottom of a chair for stability. While looking straight ahead, place your left hand on top of your head, and gently pull your head sideways toward the left. Against the resistance of your arms, attempt to bring your right ear and right shoulder together for seven seconds. Relax and stretch further toward the left. “Lock-in” to each new position, and do not allow any slack.
If you think you may benefit from chiropractic treatment and exercise rehab for upper cross syndrome, call the clinic and book your appointment today!
**Images and exercise descriptions referenced from ChiroUp.com