Upper crossed syndrome (UCS) occurs when the muscles in the neck, shoulders, and chest become imbalanced, usually as a result of poor posture.

People often adopt this position when they are:

  • reading
  • watching TV
  • biking
  • driving
  • using a laptop, computer, or smartphone

People with UCS display stooped, rounded shoulders and a bent-forward neck.The muscles that are typically the most affected are the upper trapezius and the levator scapula, which are the back muscles of the shoulders and neck. First, they become extremely strained and overactive from being overly lengthened due to slouching.  Then, the muscles in the front of the chest, called the major and minor pectoralis, become tight and shortened. Overly shortened and overly lengthened muscles become weaker. 

The deformed muscles put strain on the surrounding joints, bones, muscles and tendons. This causes most people to experience symptoms such as:

  • neck pain
  • headache
  • strain in the back of the neck
  • pain in the upper back and shoulders
  • tightness and pain in the chest
  • jaw pain (TMJ) 
  • lower back pain
  • trouble with sitting to read or watch TV
  • trouble driving for long periods
  • restricted movement in the neck and shoulders
  • pain and reduced movement in the ribs
  • pain, numbness, and tingling in the upper arms

There is hope! UCS syndrome can be treated! 

As a Chiropractor, I would adjust the spine to realign the spine and remove any restrictions in motion. An adjustment also usually stretches and relaxes the shortened muscles. Prescribe stretches to stretch the anterior shortened muscles and exercises to help strengthen the back muscles. I would also use trigger point therapy to release adhesions in the affected muscles. 

If you are experiencing any of the signs or symptoms above, use the link below to schedule an appointment to get you started on your journey to better health! 


Find Health in Every Day and Get Adjusted! 

Dr. Lindsay