Upper Cross Syndrome, Neck and Shoulder Arm Pain

Chiropractor and Acupuncturist Chapel Hill, NC

Many people experience pain in their neck, shoulders, and upper back. The cause of this pain may be a syndrome known as Upper Cross Syndrome. In Upper Cross Syndrome, weak muscles of the mid and upper back cause tightness in the pectoral and neck muscles. Pain and tightness across the upper body, neck, and shoulder regions result in reduced range of motion, stiffness, and neck achiness. At Acupractic Natural Healing Center, the chiropractic and acupuncture offices of Dr. Lisa Oskardmay, we help patients experiencing Upper Cross syndrome and other conditions using various natural healing methods, including chiropractic adjustments and acupuncture, massage, and other physical modalities.

The serratus and trapezius muscles cover much of the upper back. The serratus anterior muscle (so-called for its serrated knife appearance) originates at the upper nine ribs and attaches to the medial edge of the underside of the scapula. This muscle stabilizes the scapula, allowing boxers to punch and yoga practitioners to do plank exercises and other movements. Innervation for this vital muscle comes from the long thoracic nerve (C5-7), a branch of the brachial plexus. When a person experiences subluxation inflammation in the lower part of the neck where these nerves arise, it may affect the brachial plexus and these muscles.

The trapezius muscle is a back muscle that originates in the head and neck and covers the shoulders and part of the back. This large muscle stabilizes posture and moves and lifts the shoulders. Motor innervation to this vital muscle of postural stabilization and shoulder and neck movement comes from a cranial nerve called the spinal accessory nerve.

Weakness in the trapezius and serratus muscles happens from disuse or misuse of the muscles. Misuse of the muscles can occur when a person doesn’t stretch before exercise or uses the muscle beyond its capacity or for too long. Causes of weakness include inadequate muscle exercise, muscle trigger points, general body tightness, and improper nerve flow to the muscles. Improper nerve flow can result from poor spinal alignment, subluxation, and other factors. These can result in upper cross syndrome and tight neck and pectoral muscles.

As a licensed chiropractor, Dr. Oskardmay can help patients understand and heal the cause of their neck, upper back, and shoulder pain and tightness. She can mobilize specific vertebral segments associated with nerve and muscle flow to the involved head, neck, and shoulder areas using chiropractic adjustments. Additionally, massage, acupuncture, and other physical modalities and treatments help improve neck, back, and shoulder pain caused by upper cross syndrome. Call today at (919) 929-1400, email us at schedule@acudocnc.com or visit our website at acudocnc.com to schedule your appointment any time and learn more.

The Lung and its Role in Health

The ribcage protects the two lungs in our chest. The lungs are responsible for three main things: they deliver oxygen to the body’s cells, remove waste gases, including carbon dioxide, from the body upon exhalation, and protect the airways from irritants and harmful substances. Known as ‘the delicate organ’ in Chinese medicine, the lungs can regenerate lost or damaged cells and can do so relatively quickly after injury and some lung diseases. Our lungs are vital organs. We breathe in and out about 22,000 times daily, and many factors affect their function.

Nerve innervation to the lungs comes from both branches of the autonomic system- sympathetic and parasympathetic, and from the phrenic nerve, a bilateral mixed nerve carrying both motor and sensory fibers. Sympathetic nerve supply from the interior to T2 to T6 segments increases breathing rate, whereas parasympathetic fibers traveling with the vagus nerve (cranial nerve 10) slow breath rate. The phrenic nerve arises in the cervical spine. It descends the thorax to innervate the diaphragm, a dome-shaped muscular partition between the thorax and abdomen that contracts to increase thorax volume to inflate the lungs; the diaphragm relaxes upon exhalation.

Other factors influencing our breath include shoulder, back, and neck motion. Whereas a pinched nerve will not directly affect the lungs, the movement of the lungs and chest cavity as one inhales and exhales can increase nerve compression and pain. Body posture influences the ribcage’s ability to expand on inhalation and the movement of the diaphragm and even the collarbone to bring air into the lungs.

At Acupractic Natural Healing Center, the acupuncture and chiropractic offices of Dr. Lisa Oskardmay in Chapel Hill, she understands the crucial role the lungs play in overall health. She recognizes the importance of various body parts that influence lung function. Through careful history, examination of the spine and extremities, review of posture, and palpation of connected areas, Dr. Oskardmay strives to help patients whose breath and breathing patterns affect their lives. Using gentle mobilization procedures to affected areas of the spine and extremities, she helps restore alignment and pain-free movement.

In Chinese medicine, the fall season relates to the lungs as the metal yin organ. The metal yin organ corresponds with letting go of unneeded things, detoxification, and the natural decline of the autumn season as we prepare for winter. For some, this decline and letting go brings grief, and for others, clarity.

Breathing intentionally and slowly is a way to release troublesome thoughts. The next time you experience stress, take a moment to inhale and appreciate how your lungs help you.

Call us at (919) 929-1400, email or visit our website today to schedule an appointment and learn more about how natural healing can help to improve your health and well-being. Trusted by the Triangle since 1995, the acupuncture and chiropractic offices of Dr. Lisa Oskardmay in Chapel Hill are here for you.

Serving the communities of Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Durham, Hillsborough, and the rest of the NC Triangle

205 Providence Rd. Chapel Hill NC 27514 | Phone: (919) 929-1400

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