Stretching Series: Suboccipitals

Suboccipitals

The Suboccipital muscle group is one of great importance.  When these are hypertonic it is usually because of postural reasons. They are usually not just tight but in a  chronically shortened state which locks down the upper cervical region. They are very much connected to chronic headaches and migraines. Also, when shortened down, they will limit the amount of cervical rotation which is possible. Continue reading “Stretching Series: Suboccipitals”

Stretching Series: Pectoralis Minor

Figure 1                                                                                Pectoralis Minor- Photo Credit Anatomography

 

Figure 2
Pectoralis Minor is probably one the hardest muscles in the body to stretch. It is commonly done in an exact manner as pectoralis major which, in my opinion, can be improved upon. Because of its attachments, it does not have the ability to move through a large range of motion which, of course, limits how we can move it to stretch it. The main issue with singling out pectoralis minor is that pectoralis major usually comes to tension before we can stretch minor, or shoulder mobility does not allow for enough movement. So, in order to reach pectoralis minor, we will need to take these factors out of the equation. Instead of focusing on glenohumeral movement, we are going to focus more on scapular motion (retraction) to gain the lengthening we require.
Now some of you may ask why we are not going to incorporate more elevation of the scapula since the pectoralis minor depresses the shoulder. I answer this by saying that elevation, at least the way we need it, is almost impossible to accomplish when stretching on your own (someone assisting you is a different story). Also, we can accomplish more lengthening and single out pectoralis minor much more effectively with shoulder retraction in this circumstance. If you look back and look at Figure 1, I want you to imagine a simple pulley system on top of the shoulder. Pectoralis minor is a rope on the front side of the pulley and the scapula is the back side of the system. By depressing the scapula while at the same time retracting it, we are, in essence, “hoisting” the insertion of pectoralis minor up and drawing it away from its origin in the ribs.

Although Pectoralis Minor does not have an attachment on the humerus (unlike Pectoralis Major), we will use it to affect how we want the scapula to move.  We will also use the ribs where the Pectoralis Minor originates to help lengthen the muscle from the other direction.

Continue reading “Stretching Series: Pectoralis Minor”

Upper Cross Syndrome…Why is Everyone So Crossed? – Part 2

Upper Cross Syndrome Picture
Upper Cross Syndrome
 In the first part of this article (Upper Cross syndrome…Why Is Everyone So Crossed?), we went over the physical and anatomical attributes that contribute to upper cross syndrome. Not the most simple of things when you start peeling back the layers of possible muscular involvement. Now that we have the understanding lets look at the second part of this syndrome, which to some may seem like a strange angle. The emotional side of upper cross syndrome.

Continue reading “Upper Cross Syndrome…Why is Everyone So Crossed? – Part 2”

Upper Cross Syndrome…Why is Everyone So Crossed?

Part 1

Upper cross syndrome is certainly an epidemic these days. Everywhere you look, you see people living their lives slouched over like they had a bag of bricks on their shoulders. Unless you are an actual bricklayer headed for a bricklaying festival (these probably don’t exist) carrying a load of bricks, you probably shouldn’t  look this way. Yes, there are circumstances where genetically or structurally a person is naturally formed this way. However, the general public should have a much more rigid posture than what we have come to see as “normal” in everyday life. Even I, a genius/ idiot in my own right, struggle with a slouched posture most of the time.

I would like to delve into this issue taking two different paths. The first being that of a structural or physical view; pinpointing the reason behind this common physical issue. Second, I would like to touch on the emotional side of this which, to some, may sound a little crazy or spiritual. I am by no means one to convince people of the energy side of therapy as I practice strictly in the form of hands-on therapy, but this topic deserves a bit of this honor. I am speaking more from the standpoint of our emotions as humans and the dramatic effect that these emotions can have on the human body. I premise this by saying I am in no way a psychologist or counselor. My opinion is only derived from experience.

First, let us delve into the physical side of this problem in order to get the anatomical viewpoint of this syndrome. Continue reading “Upper Cross Syndrome…Why is Everyone So Crossed?”