Symptoms: Postural syndrome symptoms are caused by poor posture that results in physical changes to the body which can bring about painful side effects. Postural syndrome manifests itself through rounded shoulders that tend to droop forward, causing the muscles that connect the shoulders and the back of the neck to pull the head forward. These changes in the body’s structure can result in constant, aching pain, stiffness and even burning in the upper and middle back areas, as well as in the shoulders, neck and head. Eventually, poor posture can develop trigger points (tight muscle fibers) which refer pain through the back and neck which can lead to headaches.
Overview: Poor posture can be caused by sitting improperly for long periods of time. We spend a great deal of our lives sitting: In our cars, at work, eating and watching television. Most people tend to slouch while sitting. When you are in a slouched position, your head and neck jut forward, your shoulders hunch over and round forward, your low back flattens out, your diaphragm becomes compressed, and muscular imbalances occur between the muscles in the front of your body (e.g. the chest muscles), and those in the back(e.g. the upper back muscles). With good posture there is a checks and balances system between the chest muscles and the upper back muscles, and between the muscles that bring your chin to your chest and the muscles in the back of your neck. With good posture no muscle group dominates.
Chronic poor posture destroys this checks and balances system as the chest muscles become dominant and begin tugging or pulling the shoulders forward. This in turn causes the muscles behind the shoulders to become relatively weak. Then the stronger chest muscles begin to pull the spine out of its normal alignment, resulting in postural changes, and tension and tightness in the neck, mid back and low back. The body tries to compensate by holding the head up straight causing the muscles in the back of the neck to become tight which results in the head jutting forward.
Dr. Suzan Starler, D.C. can help restore your muscle balance and joint health through therapy and exercise. Although poor posture usually is developed over many years, and it may take some time to make long lasting corrections, often there are simple adjustments and movements that will begin to relieve symptoms almost immediately. Don’t suffer needlessly. If you have symptoms relating to poor postural habits, call Dr. Suzan right away!