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Deep Neck Flexors

Wednesday, 05 June 2019

Hi guys. Today I'm going to be talking to you about postural issues of the neck and upper body, more known as an upper crossed syndrome. Now, this kind of symptom is probably one of the biggest problems our generation is going to face today, which is sitting at a desk, looking at our phones, staring at a computer screen. Having lousy posture in all these positions will cause this kind of upper crossed syndrome or weakness and over the tightness of specific muscles through the upper body and up into the neck. Today I'm going to be running you through some treatment and exercises on how to correct these kinds of problems and help alleviate some of the symptoms like headaches and tight shoulders.

So what is upper cross syndrome? Upper cross is a tightness of the Suboccipitals, upper traps and Levator Scapula, peck major and minor and a weakness of the Rhomboids and lower Traps and Cervical flexors, or the muscles hiding on the front of the neck deep inside underneath the jaw. Deep cervical muscles are like the “core” of the neck and can have a detrimental affect long term if not kept secure and supportive. So what happens with these kinds of problems is, over time the neck will start to draw itself forward, and the chin will become projected further out from the chest than it should be, the shoulders slouch in a forward curved position. Long term it may cause disc degeneration and Kyphosis" forward flexed torso"  Leaving you looking a little like this.

So from my understanding of how UCS “Upper Cross Syndrome” works, I would go through a basic assessment of the Cervical "neck" and Thoracic "back" spine. From there we will access a range of motion through active, passive and restricted ROM “range of motion” of these areas to see if there's any pain, any restrictions to these muscles and then we'll go onto doing a treatment "if there are no major issues found with the basic ROM tests". The client will lay face down on the table I will then work through the upper middle back, relieving some of the erectors, muscles around the Scapula and the Rhomboids, also up to the traps and the upper neck. Then we'll revert back into supine "face-up" and we'll be working up through the Scalenes, the SCM “sternocleidomastoid” and the deep neck flexors "longus colli" to relieve some of these tight and stiff tissues to help mobilise them again then start working through the pecs and anterior deltoids. Relieving these muscles will allow them to relax, adding length to them, reducing the effect of forward rolling shoulders allowing your body to feel more neutral and over a few treatments looking like this...

From this point, we will go through and do some exercises. Now the two exercises I would be taking the client through to help alleviate some issues with neck pain from upper crossed syndrome are very easy neck retraction exercises. Exercise one will be starting face up, or supine, laying on a flat surface with a small tower folded under your head for better support and to lift your head off the table more. Start by drawing your chin in and giving yourself a "double chin". Drawing your head back, chin closer to your chest. We'll be holding these in contraction for around three seconds and then relaxing; we'll do that ten times...

Hold for 3 seconds...

From there, we'll do a seated position, so get you sitting on the edge of the massage table,  in a good postured position sitting tall, and we'll do the same thing. The client will then repeats the same steps as laying down, just be retracting the chin inwards, holding for three seconds and relaxing again. Do that up to ten times.

Hold for 3 seconds...

What these are going to do after our treatment is to help strengthen those muscles that have become weak through bad posture. I would expect to see results in the first week if these exercises are done twice a day for about a week. After a couple of weeks of remedial treatment and these exercises, you should expect to feel less tension in shoulders headaches dissipate or disappear completely, depending on the situation and severity of the issue. Stretching the pecs and anterior delts also help alleviate some neck and shoulder pain issues as they are one of the main culprits to this problem.

Anyone who regularly comes in contact with a computer screen or handheld device can practice these exercises anytime, in bed, at work standing waiting for your...something! They are really easy, and better yet they are good for you so get the double chin cranking.

If you know anyone who has any problems or any symptoms like this, bad posture long term headaches, or whiplash share this along. Contact me at anthony@This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and check out my FB AFXMassage for regular updates and shared content.