Upper Back Pain: The Surprising Sources You May Not Have Considered

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Are people constantly telling you to sit up straight? Or is the ghost of your second grade English teacher glaring at you while you look down at this article? Despite Mrs. Smith’s glare, there are serious consequences of long-term bad posture; Upper Cross Syndrome (UCS) can lead to these symptoms and worse. Long hours of sitting at a computer, watching TV, or talking on the phone contribute to bad posture which strain and cause pain to the upper back and shoulders - without you even realizing it.  

The ‘cross’ in UCS comes from a weakening of the muscles in the front of your neck (neck flexors) and your upper back (rhomboids), while the opposite groups on the back of the neck (trapezius) and chest (pectorals) are shortened and tight. This muscle pattern will pull your head and shoulders forward to maintain overall balance while sacrificing range of motion.

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ProCare patients with UCS typically include swimmers, cyclists, weightlifters, drivers, and technology users. Long term poor posture at a desk, or training that only emphasizes certain muscle groups, make these populations frequently at risk for this condition. Upon creating bad habits, the body will begin to accommodate for UCS by using other muscles for previously simple tasks, leading to new overuse injuries.

The best treatment options involve a combination of chiropractic care and exercise. First, a chiropractic adjustment can realign joints that have become fixated due to tight muscles and bad posture; a chiropractor may not only help increase range of movement, but an adjustment often relaxes and stretches shortened muscles. Following the adjustment, we will approach the muscle imbalance with a combination of stretches and strength training to push your body back into balance.

If you are local to Cypress or Houston, Texas, click below to set up your free consultation for UCS or any other concerns you may have about your posture and performance.