How can I improve my posture?: Upper Crossed Syndrome

How can I improve my posture?: Upper Crossed Syndrome

The upper cross syndrome is a not a diagnosis of a problem, an upper cross syndrome is a group of findings that affect the upper half of the body. It is not the syndrome that is the problem but what can happen as a consequence of having the pattern of an upper crossed syndrome.
The findings for an upper crossed syndrome are summarised in the below picture:

How can I improve my posture?: Upper Crossed SyndromeThe reason why these findings occur are simple, look at everyone’s everyday life in the 21st century. We are all using technological innovations, which often can lead to the over use of our neck and shoulder muscles as we hunch to use the mouse/keyboards or crane our necks over to look at our laptops or mobiles. Right then, you ready for a big couple of words to help me explain? ‘Reciprocal Inhibition!!’– this is when as one muscle tightens (agonist), the opposite muscle (antagonist) has to relax to enable the motion of the joint upon which they are causing movement. Now when muscles get tight from overuse as you can see in the above picture, their opposites must relax (and become weak). This is what you can see occurring in the above example, Pectoralis muscles become tight, their opposites are the Rhomboids and Serratus Anterior which relax (known as being ‘inhibited’). As the Levator Scapulae muscles become tight, their opposite muscle is the lower fibers of Trapezius which relax. As the Upper Traps get tight, the deep neck flexors relax.

What you must remember is that a muscle that has to relax neurologically will be weak but also a muscle that is too tight is also weak, so its a lose lose with a crossed syndrome. Now where the problems lie are with the effect on the movement of the neck and shoulder, though this is for another topic which I will post at a later date.

Hope this has helped your understanding of an upper crossed syndrome, let me know if you have any questions danny@longlevenschiro.com

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