How a Muscle Recruitment Pathology Gives You “Wings,” and What You Can Do about It
Upper Cross Syndrome
As special as that sounds, it is actually a muscle recruitment pathology. The shoulder blades should lie flat on the back. When they are not, the shoulders are rounded forward as they are pulled by tight traps and pecs (Owee!!). Meanwhile the three muscles that should pull the scapula down, anchoring it to the torso, are effectively out to lunch. Over time, the neck will lunge forward, causing a stair-stepping of the cervical vertebrae, instead of stacking straight up above the shoulders (More ouch!). This phenomenon is know as upper cross syndrome.
How Trigger Point Therapy Can Help
As an acupuncturist, I use needles to reset the muscles, by needling “trigger points” where muscle fibers are entangled and chronically turned on, causing a chronic spasm or contraction of the muscle body. Trigger point therapy essentially, is akin to hitting the reset button on your muscles. Poor postural habits lead some muscles constantly firing (contracted), and some completely turned off, unable to be recruited when needed. Trigger points may be found in both groups, or just in the over-active muscles. It is remarkable how well trigger point works for any muscle recruitment pathology, absolutely anywhere in the body. I have seen one treatment resolve this pathology. Follow-ups for maintenance as well as postural restoration exercises go a long way in keeping this problem at bay.
When to Go See a Professional
As a practitioner of Chinese medicine, I encourage patients to take care of the little problems as early as possible. The young woman in the photo above is living quite tolerably and managing low grade discomfort and occasional mild-pain due to her pathology. However, any physical musculo-skeletal problem is going to cascade (see:get a whole lot worse) with time. We all know the image of elderly hunched over, and we all say that will never be us. Truthfully, I can tell which healthy 20-somethings are going to be hunched over who will stand erect, just by looking at early signs such as these in the upper body.
What Else Can be Resolved With Trigger Point Therapy?
Here is a short list of common symptoms and syndromes:
TMJ (temporal-mandibular joint, AKA jaw clenching or teeth grinding)
Back Pain (Upper, mid, and low back)
Sciatica and Piriformis Syndrome
Lingering pain after a trauma such as a sprain
Limited range of motion in any joint
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