In part 1 we looked at how lower back pain can be caused by tight hip flexors and lower back muscles, leading to an anterior pelvic tilt, which in turn, can cause lower crossed syndrome.
In this part we move further up the back toward the scapula and thoracic and cervical spine to a problem that can not only cause back pain but is also a common cause of many shoulder issues:
Upper Crossed Syndrome
This can cause upper back and neck pain but may also contribute to shoulder pain. This is becoming more common due to increased time spent sat working behind a desk and driving. It is often accompanied with slumped shoulders and a rounded, kyphotic curve of the thoracic spine.
This causes the head and neck to stoop forward, forcing the upper back and neck muscles to fight against gravity causing them to become overworked and stretched under load. Turning the head in this position involves using muscles that weren’t designed to do so on their own and strains can often occur as a result of this. Proper breathing can also be affected.
The fix? Like your mother probably told you – Sit up straight! Almost no-one has the perfect posture but being aware of it is half the battle.
Stretch – Your neck muscles - Upper traps, levator scapulae and sternocleidomastoid are your main neck muscles and they will be tight. Pectorals will also need some tlc.
Strengthen – Mid & lower traps, serratus anterior and rhomboids.