The Care and Feeding of a Court Reporter, Part II – Upper Cross Syndrome

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As a court reporter or someone who spends their day mostly sitting, do you ever wonder why your upper back, neck and shoulders ache? Largely due to poor posture and long hours of sitting, it’s Upper Cross Syndrome:

Upper Cross Syndrome Court Reporter

Upper Cross Syndrome is an imbalanced muscle pattern located at the shoulder and head regions, which leads to shoulder instability; essentially tight upper trapezius and pectorals combined with weak lower trapezius and deep neck flexors. When you shake your head no and then shrug your shoulders, you are using your upper trapezius muscle.

Tight muscles need to be stretched and weak muscles need to be strengthened. So let’s start with a few stretches. The best time to stretch is at night, before going to bed.

1)         Sit tall with good posture. Put your hands on the back of your head. Tuck your chin and push your elbows back. You should be feeling this between your shoulder blades. Repeat 20 times.

2)         Extend your right arm out to the side, thumb up, with your palm facing forward. Now turn your head to the left and look down to the floor. Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat, extending your left arm out to the side, thumb up, palm facing forward. Now turn your head to the right and look down to the floor. You should be feeling a good stretch from your neck all the way down your arm. Hold for 30 seconds.

3)         Arms up as if you’re being robbed. Now slowly bring your hands to a diving position above your head with the inside of your elbows touching your ears, then bring back to the robbed position. You should be feeling this in your shoulders. Repeat 10 times.

Now that you have stretched, you need to strengthen.

1)         Arm circles: Hold your arms out to your sides, shoulder height, palms up, and do 10 forward motion circles, followed by 10 backward motion circles. You should be feeling this in your shoulders and arms.

2)         Using a resistance band, hold it with both hands at a 90-degree angle in front of you, hands facing upward in fists. Your elbows are glued to your waist. Now move your hands to the outside, stretching the band. You should be feeling this between your shoulder blades. Repeat 10 times.

3)         Last is the skydiver. Lay on your stomach with your feet pointed and on the floor. Now reach your shoulders off the floor, hands up – again like being robbed – where you look like, guess what, a skydiver. Repeat 10 times.

Now, remember to keep practicing your fabulous posture and you’re good to go!

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