To balance out our “HIP” guide to Happier Movement series, today’s feature, is yet another structural breakdown pattern we commonly see in today’s hustle and bustle of society. Whether you are an athlete, a weekend warrior or a recreational fitness enthusiast of any skill level, upper cross syndrome (UCS) and shoulder pain can affect you and they are often closely linked; no one is immune to injury.
UCS can affect your posture and the balance in your hips. UCS usually leads to a forward head posture/ head carriage, causing strain to the muscular attachments of the shoulder and shoulder blade. An anterior tilt and abduction (“flaring out”) of the
shoulder blades occurs, producing a rounded shoulder appearance, this strains postural muscles and stabilizers of the most important area of spine (and most often neglected; which is our thoracic spine.
Overdevelopment of the postural muscles creates a deltoid shear (crossing of rotator cuff under AC joint); which can easily progress and breakdown the mechanics of the shoulder and deep arm movement patterns leading to shoulder impingement, tendonitis and even bursitis syndromes (lions, and tigers and bears – oh my).
As we know our fascial system is the third top communicator in our body, and in upper crossed syndrome it’s functionality can breakdown compromising the superficial and deep front and back lines, along with the spiral lines when there is shoulder injuries connected to the UCS.
How is upper crossed syndrome related to our “HIP” Guide?
We know that when we make positive change in one movement pattern, all other movement patterns are impacted. our fascia, muscular system, nervouse system, and eveyother system for that matter, are all connected. In UCS is very common to see pelvic instability and a reduced connection to the trunk (loss of kinesthetic awareness). Why? Because of the constant compensation and over development of the muscles in the pectoral girdle; which then transfers load and energy inconsistently through the trunk to pelvis and onward, to the lower mechanics and lastly our feet.
How can you prevent USC?
- Recognize, identify and transform patterns of stress and tension through re patterning techniques. Deep breathing and meditation are key to establishing new patterns beneficial to the body and mind.
- Learning how to avoid postures that place stress on our neuromusculoskeletal system is essential in avoiding injury and poor posture mechanics.
- If you sit at a desk all day or are studying regularly, take breaks often and invest in a good hatha or yin style Yoga class. By, eliminating upper back and neck and stabilizing your postural frame can support better movement patterns overall.
- Explore simple methods of opening and re-strengthening upper body muscles that become imbalanced due to poor sitting habits and chronic work-related postures.
Try these great corrective Yin and Hatha style Postures to help prevent UCS:
1. Rib Pull and Thoracic Mobility Rotations
2. Supine Arm Circles using a Half Foam Roller
3. Extended Child’s Pose with High Hips
4. Gate Pose & Kneeling Side Bend
5. Triangle and Dancing Warrior Series