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Upper Cross Syndrome

Why Posture is Important

Upper Cross Syndrome is a chronic upper neck and back muscle imbalance caused by a weak and lengthened posterior and tight chest and neck muscles that can lead to joint dysfunction. Upper Cross Syndrome is caused by consistently bad posture and the easiest way to recognize this is an apparent curve at the base of the neck.

The most common persons affected by this syndrome are office workers, young athletes, and the elderly. The fix is relatively easy and should be a focus in athletes to increase injury prevention of the spine.

Body Compensation

  • When one muscle becomes weak, another connected muscle takes over.

  • The middle/upper back muscles are becoming weak and cause the chest and neck muscles to tighten.

  • This causes pain in the shoulders and neck

  • Upper cross syndrome is the biggest cause of loss of range of motion in the upper body.


  • Headaches

  • Neck pain or strain in the back of the neck

  • Chest pain and tightness

  • Pain in the upper back, especially the shoulders

  • Difficulty sitting, reading, watching television, or driving for long periods

  • Restricted range of motion in the neck or shoulders

  • Numbness, tingling, and pain in the upper arms

The prolonged hunched posture is very tough on the spine as the muscle and joint imbalances cause the spine to pull forward and increase stress on supporting muscles that help keep the body upright.

Untreated pain and pressure can cause permanent spinal damage. Making it very important to be conscious of body positioning and actively working on posture to allow better performance and reduce injury.


  • Proper posture throughout the day

  • Strength training with proper form

  • Yoga for the upper body

  • Corrective stretching

  • Standing desks


Posture is very important to overall health and performance, as proper alignment of the spine allows greater flexibility and range of motion at each of the joints. Having Upper Cross Syndrome is detrimental to one’s health and adds unwanted stress to the most vital piece of our musculoskeletal system, the spine. Be conscious of the symptoms and know how to treat them by being in tune with your body and posture and work to be well-rounded with your strength and flexibility throughout the entire body.


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