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Like so many people in the world, many professionals are at home, sitting at their desks for hours and leaning into their computer screens. People may not know it, but when we repeatedly hunch over while we work, our posture changes and creates issues in the long run for different parts of our body. In today’s entry of #AdobeLife at Home, Katie Meloche, Solutions Consultant for our Digital Experience business and certified fitness nutritionist, talks about Upper Crossed Syndrome (UCS), and four “in between calls” stretches to help alleviate UCS at home.
What is Upper Crossed Syndrome
Upper Crossed Syndrome describes poor posture that results from excessive tightness in your shoulders and chest with weakness in your neck and mid-back. This combination forces your shoulders to roll inward and your head to project forward (how most of us naturally look at our screens all day!). The chronic strain is uncomfortable and may also lead to neck pain, upper back pain, headaches, TMJ (temporomandibular joint dysfunction) pain, and ultimately arthritis. Correction of this problem is accomplished by stretching the tight muscles, strengthening weak muscles, and modifying your workstation.
Here are the four “in between calls” stretches to alleviate UCS
Sit or stand looking forward with good posture. Tuck your chin to create a double chin. Hold this position for 3 – 5 seconds. Then, return to the starting position and focus your vision on a spot on the wall to avoid neck flexion or extension. To progress, place a finger on your chin, and apply backwards pressure at end range. Imagine that your head is on drawer slides. Perform 1 set of 10 repetitions 3 – 10 times per day. Alternatively, this exercise may be performed standing with your back against a wall. Tuck your chin to make a “double chin” until the base of your skull contacts the wall, relax and repeat.
While sitting, grasp the seat of your chair with your left hand. Rotate your head toward the right and look downward toward the floor. Place your right hand over the top of your head and gently pull down and diagonally in the direction you are looking. Against the resistance of your hand, contract your neck in an attempt to push your head backward/diagonally from the direction you are looking for seven seconds. Relax and gently pull your head further toward the floor to increase the stretch. Lock into this
new position, and make sure that you continue to keep your head rotated in the direction that you are pulling. Perform three contact/relax cycles on each side twice per day, or as directed.
While sitting, reach down with your right arm, grasping the bottom of a chair for stability. While looking straight ahead, place your left hand on top of your head, and gently pull your head sideways toward the
left. Against the resistance of your arms, attempt to bring your right ear and right shoulder together for seven seconds. Relax and stretch further toward the left. “Lock-in” to each new position, and do not allow any slack. Repeat three contract/relax cycles on each side twice per day, or as directed.
Corner pectoral stretch
Begin standing, facing a corner with your palms on the walls above head level. Step toward the corner and “lean in” to stretch your chest muscles. Against the resistance of the wall, attempt to push your hands into the wall and toward each other for 7 seconds. Relax and “lean in” to increase the stretch. Lock into this new position and repeat 3 contract/relax cycles, twice per day, or as directed.
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