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Posted on 10-20-2011

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          What Is Corporate Syndrome and How Can Chiropractic Help?  Or: Pain and Suffering at the desk!

Corporate Syndrome also referred to as upper cross syndrome or student syndrome is a pattern of muscular imbalances from the waist up.  Generally certain muscles of the upper body, head and neck  become weak and tight.  A very common trait for someone with upper cross syndrome is tight upper traps (a muscle that lies just to the side of the lower neck and extends up to the base of the skull).  This is common for most that sit at a desk for long hours each day, hence the term corporate or student syndrome! Due to faulty ergonomics many people find themselves leaning over a desk or slumped over at a computer screen all day. Take a stroll down your work aisle or college library and take a look, you'll see!   In order to maintain this awkward position your body has to constantly contract certain muscles.  When muscles concentrically contract they shorten, if this short position is held for a long enough period of time these muscles will become adaptively shortened and tight. While those contracted muscles become shortened, the other muscles that you are not using to hold these positions become elongated and weak. 

 The muscular system of the body is a prime example of balance.  When one muscle contracts the opposite muscle for the most part is relaxing.  This is referred to as reciprocal inhibition.  Think about your bicep for an example.  If you curl something really heavy your bicep is concentrically contracting while the opposite muscle on the back of your upper arm the tricep is relaxing and stretching. With continual stretching and relaxation of the opposing muscles they become weak and elongated.
Corporate syndrome can lead to head and neck pain, vertebral subluxation, difficulty achieving and maintaining a healthy posture, numbness and tingling in the upper extremities and shoulder impingement.  People with corporate syndrome have tight chest, shoulder and neck muscles and often present with forward head aka anterior head carriage.  This is a position where the center of their head is in front of their body instead of over the center of their body. Muscles that are most often tight with corporate syndrome include:
•    Upper traps
•    Pectoralis Major and Minor   ( Chest muscles )
•    Sub occipitals  ( That is right beneath your skull in the back )
•    Levator scapuli  ( this is the one that hurts when you shrug your shoulders )
•    Deep neck extensors ( looking up hurts the back of your neck )
Muscles that tend to be weak include:
•    Middle and Lower traps
•    Rhomboids
•    Deep neck flexors
The goals of treatment for someone with corporate syndrome include spinal adjusting, postural retraining, muscle work, rehab and work station modification.  This combination has proven to be most effective in treating corporate syndrome.  Chiropractic care is a great source to address all aspects of treatment related to corporate syndrome. Your favorite Encintias Chiropractor will help!    Submitted with the help of Jeremy Sontag, future Doctor of Chiropractic



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