The Corporate Syndrome - is it Affecting You?
Yuri Elkaim, BPHE, CK, RHN
Do you work in an office? Are you seated in front of a computer all day? Do you experience any discomforts in your low and
upper back? Do notice your posture beginning to deteriorate? Well, this article is going to address a common problem millions of people suffer from these days. I refer to it as the Corporate Syndrome.
The Corporate Syndrome
The Corporate Syndrome is defined as the set of symptoms and physical adaptations your body undergoes as a result of being in a seated position typing away at your computer for hours, days, months, and eventually years. These symptoms may include tired eyes, upper back tension, neck pain, wrist discomfort, low back pain, poor posture, and overall fatigue. Being seated in front of computer for several hours can be very draining and lead to tired looking eyes. Aside from the fatigue issue, the Corporate Syndrome is preliminary to a combination of two medical syndromes that will be described below.
Some of the physical adaptations that may occur as a result of this repetitive seated position include a rounded back (as the shoulders roll forward), tight pectoralis minor/major (chest muscles), tight hamstrings (back of thigh), tight hip flexors (front of hip), tight quadriceps (front of thigh), tight calves (back of lower leg), weak glutes, weakened and tight scalene muscles (deep neck flexors), and weakened and/or lengthened upper back muscles such as the middle and lower trapezius and rhomboids.
The overall effect of the Corporate Syndrome is general fatigue and clearly identifiable poor posture created by an imbalance of tight and weak muscles surrounding the pelvis and shoulders. These weak and tight muscles are caused by phenomenon known as creep, whereby any material will eventually deform under a constant load or stretch. In this case, your muscles are the material and the undesirable posture is the load or stretch. At their most developed stage, these characteristics of muscle weakness and tension may cause what is known as Upper Crossed Syndrome and Lower Crossed Syndrome.
Upper Crossed Syndrome
This is a medical term. It is a syndrome that produces elevation and protraction of the shoulders, winging of the scapula, and protraction of the head (chronic rounding of the upper back with the head protruded forward). This atypical posture produces overstress of the cervical cranial (neck-head) junction, the C4-5 and T4 vertebrae, and the shoulder due to altered motion of the glenohumeral (shoulder) joint. Excessive stress on the T4 segment can occasionally cause chest pain known as pseudoangina pectoris. The altered angle of the shoulder joint causes rotation and abduction of the shoulder blades, ultimately leading to the wearing of the supraspinatus muscle and causing rotator cuff problems.
Lower Crossed Syndrome
3 Easy Steps to Preventing the Corporate Syndrome
The key is to stretch, or relax, tight muscles and strengthen weaker ones. This can be accomplished by following this easy 3-step protocol.
1. MASSAGE (using foam roller)
Areas to Massage
Using the foam roller, you can easily and effectively massage out much tension in certain muscles. For postural purposes you want to focus on massaging the:
Areas to Stretch
The focus of your stretching should be on the:
• Chest muscles (pec minor/major)
Areas to Strengthen
The areas in need of strengthening include the:
• Muscles of the upper back
Need help guiding you through this process? Have a look at Fitter U™. A complete personal training system for your MP3 player that will help improve your posture, core strength, and get you to your ideal body!
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