What is Upper Crossed Syndrome (UCS)?
Upper Crossed Syndrome (UCS) a very common musculoskeletal imbalance of the upper body. It is usually caused by poor posture or repetitive tasks in prolonged standing or sitting positions. As a result, particular muscles become chronically tight and shortened due to becoming overactive. These include the muscles of the upper back and neck (upper trapezius, levator scapula & sub-occipitals), and the chest (pectoralis). Excessive shortening of muscles, results in an imbalance. The surrounding counter muscles are under used and weak. These include the muscles of the upper back (mid-lower trapezius, rhomboids & serratus anterior), and the deep cervical flexors in the neck. This muscular imbalance results in rounded shoulders, winging of shoulder blades, and a forward head position with a protruding chin.
What are the Symptoms of UCS?
- Neck & jaw pain
- Pain, tension and restricted mobility in the neck, upper back, shoulders, chest & ribs
- Weakness in the front of the neck, while strain in the back of the neck
- In some cases pain,numbness, and tingling in the upper arms
- Lower back pain
- Discomfort when sitting to read, watch TV and prolonged driving
- If untreated can result in chronic conditions such as shoulder instability, impingement and bursitis.
What Causes UCS?
UCS can present itself because of prolonged poor posture, eg. standing or sitting for long periods with the head pushed forward.
- Watching TV
- Using a iphone, laptop, or computer
- Congenital defects or injuries in small cases.
How can a remedial massage therapist (RMT) provide relief for individuals with UCS?
An RMT can use their skills in soft tissue work and a variety of techniques to release the tight and overactive muscles, and then stimulate the weak and underactive muscles. This is beneficial in order to properly encourage them to activate and strengthen. An RMT will then formulate a treatment plan which can include simple self-care exercises and stretches to manage UCS causes and relieve symptoms.
At Enhance Physiotherapy, a skilled RMT such as myself can be used as an effective complementary treatment for UCS. Especially most effective in conjunction with treatment and exercises prescribed by our experienced team of Physiotherapists and Exercise Physiologists.