A 54 year old female desk worker presented to Elite Myotherapy who had been diagnosed with mild upper cross syndrome that had been progressively getting worse over the last 3 months. Her signs and symptoms consisted of a constant ache through the middle of her shoulder blades and at the back of the head. Her pain was aggravated when sitting for long periods of time without movement or looking at her monitor at work.

Upper cross syndrome is the postural change in muscles of the upper body that occurs over time. It can lead to changes in activation of muscles, the ability for muscles to contract and this impacts the ability to support the bony structures and can also lead to pain.

On observation the client was quite hunched forward through her upper back and shoulders, plus her head and neck were forward. It was noticeable she struggling to support herself in an upright position. It was due to these changes that also created reduced neck and shoulder movement and reduced torso movement, especially when arching backwards.

It was important for my client to initially decrease the pain but she also wanted to prevent the decline in her ability to perform everyday tasks. Within the treatment we applied manual therapy techniques were such as soft tissue massage to reduce tightness through her pectorals and the back of her neck. Dry needling was also used to help reduce pain through her shoulder blades. The most crucial aspect to changing the pain presentation was the prescription of an exercise program, aiming to open her chest and neck, strengthen her back muscles which would ultimately over time change her posture and her ability to hold herself in an optimal position.

After 4 weeks of treatment the client had reduced pain and improved mobility, and after 8 weeks the client had significantly less pain and improved mobility.

It’s extremely important that as we age we continue to challenge the strength, activation and utilisation of our body in all different functional ways. Sitting at a desk, or a specific repetitive work-based task can definitely lead to changes in the way we function.

If you have any further questions about what types of exercises you should be doing to help keep yourself strong and functional please don’t hesitate to contact one of our Myotherapists.

Bradley Graf – Elite Myotherapist