Tag: Migraines

chiropractor better posture poor posture upper crossed syndrome Upper crossed posture postural muscles chiropractic chiropractor stress muscle imbalance Janda postural control weak inhibited suboccipitals stress stressed kinematic neck weak headache migraine sitting desk Emsworth Chichester Portsmouth Southampton Havant Cosham Southsea

How poor posture causes pain

Sitting at a desk all day may mean you’re conscious of poor posture. You’ll know it can lead to headaches, muscle pain, stress and more. You may therefore be familiar with “Upper Crossed Syndrome “without even knowing it.

It’s not a serious condition but it can give rise to headaches, migraines, joint pain, muscle pain and stress. If you’re a keen gym-goer, it can also prevent you being able to reach your optimal training threshold.

What is Upper Crossed Syndrome?

It’s caused by overlapping overactive and underactive muscles throughout the neck, chest and shoulders. The chest muscles (pectorals) and muscles at the rear or side of the neck (upper trapezius, levator scapulae, suboccipitals and sternocleidomastoid) are overly tight or “facilitated”. The deep flexor muscles in the front of the neck and the rhomboids, lower trapezius and serratus anterior muscles are weak or inhibited.

chiropractor better posture poor posture upper crossed syndrome Upper crossed posture postural muscles chiropractic chiropractor stress muscle imbalance Janda postural control weak inhibited suboccipitals stress stressed kinematic neck weak headache migraine sitting desk Emsworth Chichester Portsmouth Southampton Havant Cosham Southsea
Source: http://www.muscleimbalancesyndromes.com/janda-syndromes/upper-crossed-syndrome/

A chap called Janda coined the term “Upper Crossed Syndrome”. According to his book “Assessment and Treatment of Muscle Imbalance: The Janda Approach” Upper Crossed Syndrome can lead to…..

“Dysfunction, particularly at the atlanto-occipital joint, C4-C5 segment, cervicothoracic joint, glenohumeral joint, and T4-T5 segment.  Postural changes decrease glenohumeral stability as the glenoid fossa becomes more vertical due to serratus anterior weakness leading to abduction, rotation, and winging of the scapulae. This loss of stability requires the levator scapula and upper trapezius to increase activation to maintain glenohumeral centration (Janda 1988).”

You can see how a simple matter of muscular imbalance can lead to a range of issues.

What causes it?

This is caused by a build up of small issues, such as:

  • Prolonged sitting at a desk then causes forward head carriage.
  • Poor technique when training (such as overtraining the chest and neglecting the mid-back) affects the chest and upper back.
  • Having a large bust contributes to rounded shoulders.

What are the signs and symptoms?

  • Forward head carriage- when looking at yourself side-on in a mirror, your ear should be in line with your shoulder. If it’s not, it’s what we call forward head carriage.

    chiropractor better posture poor posture upper crossed syndrome Upper crossed posture postural muscles chiropractic chiropractor stress muscle imbalance Janda postural control weak inhibited suboccipitals stress stressed kinematic neck weak headache migraine sitting desk Emsworth Chichester Portsmouth Southampton Havant Cosham Southsea
    Source: https://www.physio-pedia.com/Age-related_hyperkyphosis
  • Increased inward curvature of the cervical spine (hyperlordosis).
  • Increased outward curvature of the thoracic spine (hyperkyphosis or “humpback”) . Tight muscles in the front of the chest pull you forwards, weak muscles in the upper back can’t resist the pull. Add in forward head carriage and you can end up with hyperkyphosis. In some cases, the neck can look normal because we simply overextend through the neck to hold the head up properly!
  • Breathing dyfsunction caused by over-activated muscles and compression of the rib cage.
  • Rounded shoulders and rotator cuff issues- Muscular imbalances affect the function of the shoulder joint. Due to the imbalance, rotator cuff muscles then have to work harder to stabilise the shoulder joint. This can ultimately lead to shoulder impingement and rotator cuff strain.
  • Winging of the scapula- the shoulder blades jut out instead of lying flat against the ribcage.
  • Chronic pain caused by trigger points (tender points) in the affected muscles.
  • Migraines and tension headaches due to tension in the surrounding muscles and dysfunction in the cervical and thoracic spine.
  • Pins and needles or tingling in the arms- Rounded shoulders and forward head carriage can compress the blood vessels or nerves in the space between your collarbone and first rib.

The affected muscles have a lower threshold for irritation and dysfunction. This means they very quickly become affected by faulty movement, leading to more pain and problems. As a result this puts stress on the involved joints, leading to further pain. As you can see, poor posture is contagious. Not like a bad cold shared around the office…  Instead it starts in one area and then affects another, which in turn affects another.

How can we treat Upper Crossed Syndrome and Poor Posture?

Your chiropractor will work with you to restore normal function to your upper back and neck. If underlying joint function is abnormal, exercising in this state may simply cause the muscles to adapt to the underlying dysfunction. (For more on this, read our stretching blog here.) This is why joint function must be restored first and foremost. Gentle stretches and exercises can then help relieve tension and strengthen the weaker muscles.

Here’s a video on our one simple way to improve your posture at the desk.

Begin with the chin tuck exercise. This ultimately counteracts forward head carriage.

chiropractor better posture poor posture upper crossed syndrome Upper crossed posture postural muscles chiropractic chiropractor stress muscle imbalance Janda postural control weak inhibited suboccipitals stress stressed kinematic neck weak headache migraine sitting desk Emsworth Chichester Portsmouth Southampton Havant Cosham Southsea
Source: http://www.orthoneurophysio.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/download-1.jpg
  • Stand upright with your back to wall.
  • Slightly tuck chin to chest and draw head back to wall.
  • The muscles in the front of the neck should be active when holding this position for 5-10 seconds.

You may feel some stretching of the scalene muscles on the side of the neck that go down to the collarbone. You may also notice the suboccipital muscles at the top of the neck and the base of the skull. This exercise begins to strengthen the muscles in the front of the neck and muscles of the upper back.

You can do this exercise lying down in bed, pushing back into a pillow. Once you get the hang of it, you can then do it standing upright. You’ll soon be able to do this whilst sitting in the car or at your desk at work. Repeating the exercise throughout the day will also help improve your posture over time.

Chiropractic care can help to restore normal joint movement and alleviate muscle stress. As part of your treatment programme, you’ll be given further specific exercises to help address muscle tension and restore joint function.

To book your appointment with our chiropractor, simply use the link below.

migraine prevention chiropractic care for migraines chiropractor migraine headache emsworth head pain migraine attack sufferers aura neurological spinning dizziness vertigo lights sounds attack headache chiropractic treatment for migraines

Chiropractic Care for Migraine Prevention

Right now in the UK, over 190,000 people are suffering from a migraine attack. Despite the number of people affected by migraines, it’s still not know why they occur. It’s thought the genetics and environmental factors play a role. For those who suffer with migraines, you may not know that chiropractic care for migraines can help prevent you from suffering.

Quick facts about migraines:

  1. Migraines are a recurrent type of severe headache which, for some people, will happen throughout their lifetime.
  2. They’re most commonly described as episodes of disabling pain with headache, feeling or being sick, and sensitivity to normal levels of light and sounds.
  3. They can affect people of all ages (even young children).
  4. The head pain is usually one-sided, pulsating, and may worsen with normal physical activity (such as climbing the stairs).
  5. They can last from a few hours to a few days, and on average happen once or twice a month- for some people they have one a year, for others- one a week.
  6. Research has shown that in the USA and the UK, only half of people with a migraine had seen a doctor for this problem in the last twelve months, and only two-thirds of them had been diagnosed correctly. As a result, many migraine sufferers are reliant on over-the-counter medication and have poorly-managed migraine symptoms.
  7. Although migraine attacks affect a significant number of people the triggering processes for the headaches are not fully understood.
  8. At least 60% of people who suffer with migraine never consult their GP because they believe nothing can be done to help them. (Source)
  9. For many people the symptoms of migraine are a mixture of more than one type. This is why many specialists, including chiropractors, now talk about a “headache continuum”, with the less disabling mild tension headache at one end of the scale, and severely disabling migraines at the other.

    chiropractic care for migraines chiropractor migraine headache emsworth head pain migraine attack sufferers aura neurological spinning dizziness vertigo lights sounds attack headache
    Image: American Council for Headache Education

What causes migraines?

The truth is- no one really knows what causes a migraine. It may be that abnormal brain activity affects the chemicals, nerve signals and blood vessels deep in the brain. The release of inflammatory substances around these structures may be what causes pain.

It’s possible that your genes also make you more likely to suffer. There are several possible triggers that can lead to a migraine attack, including hormonal, emotional, dietary, physical, environmental or chemical/medicinal factors. These can vary from person to person and as such, it’s important to find out what your triggers are and learn how to manage them. This may be by avoiding certain types of foods, keeping to a regular sleep pattern or reducing chemical stressors such as stopping smoking.

Types of migraine

There are seven different classes of migraines- and some of these have further subclasses. We’re going to focus on the main two:

Migraine with aura
This type of migraine accounts for around 10-30% of people with migraines. These type of migraines do not present with an aura. In this case, aura means neurological symptoms, most commonly visual disturbances. These can present up to an hour before or during the migraine, and you may experience:

  • Blind spots
  • Coloured spots
  • Seeing sparkles, stars, flashing lights or zig-zagschiropractic care for migraines chiropractor migraine headache emsworth head pain migraine attack sufferers aura neurological spinning dizziness vertigo lights sounds attack headache
  • Tunnel vision

You might also experience:

  • Numbness or tingling
  • Pins and needles
  • Weakness on one side of the body
  • Dizziness or a feeling of spinning

Migraine without aura
These generally last for between 4 to 72 hours. Usually, you’ll feel a headache on one side of your head, which may throb or pulsate. They can affect your daily life and generally worsen with everyday exercise (such as walking or climbing stairs). Some people who suffer with these types of migraines also report feeling or being sick, having diarrhoea or being sensitive to light or sound.

This is the most common type of migraine accounting for 70-90% of attacks.

Chiropractic Treatment for Migraines: Prevention is better than cure

Chiropractic treatment has been shown to reduce the severity and frequency of migraine attacks, and is therefore recommended as a treatment for migraine prevention.  One study of 127 migraine sufferers in Australia found that those that received chiropractic treatment had fewer attacks and needed to take less medication. More than 80% of the study participants blamed stress for leading to their migraine attacks. The researchers therefore suggest that chiropractic care might physically help reduce the body’s reaction to stress.

Recent research studies suggest that chiropractic treatment for migraines might also be as efficient as amitryptaline, propranolol and topiramate in the prophylactic management of migraine.

Your chiropractor will provide hands on care and advice across a range of areas. This includes nutritional support, lifestyle management, and exercise. As such, you can work with Philippa to determine a “Migraine Prevention Programme” that works for you. Your treatment programme will address many of the factors that may contribute to migraine. This includes postural issues, muscle tension in the upper back, neck and shoulders, and restriction of movement in the neck and upper spine. Chiropractic care for migraine prevention can include nutritional support, acupuncture or dry needling, manual therapy, soft tissue techniques and more- all your treatment is bespoke to your needs.

If you have any doubts about whether a specific treatment type is suitable for you, please consult your chiropractor or GP.

Ever wondered what it feels like to experience migraine? Watch the video below.

References:

Bryans, R., Descarreaux, M., Duranleau, M., Marcoux, H., Potter, B., Ruegg, R., & White, E. (2011). Evidence-based guidelines for the chiropractic treatment of adults with headache. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics34(5), 274-289.

Chaibi A, Tuchin PJ, Russell MB. Manual therapies for migraine: a systematic review. J Headache Pain. 2011;12:127–133. doi: 10.1007/s10194-011-0296-6.

Nelson CF, Bronfort G, Evans R, Boline P, Goldsmith C, Anderson AV (1998) The efficacy of spinal manipulation, amitriptyline and the combination of both therapies for the prophylaxis of migraine headaches. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. 21: 511-519.

migraine prevention chiropractic care for migraines chiropractor migraine headache emsworth head pain migraine attack sufferers aura neurological spinning dizziness vertigo lights sounds attack headache chiropractic treatment for migraines

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