Poor Posture and Upper Crossed Syndrome

Poor Posture and Upper Crossed Syndrome

woman with neck pain

In today’s society, countless hours are spent sitting. Whether it is commuting to and from work, constantly using an IPad or smartphone, or sitting at a desk for extended periods of time, we are continuously sitting. Constant sitting has become an epidemic and it is starting at a very young age. As we sit various muscles in our back, shoulders, and neck fire to keep our upper body as erect as possible. However, over a period of time these muscles begin to fatigue and our posture starts to change. One of the most common changes is with the head. The body begins to develop Anterior Head Carriage (AHC) or Forward Head Posture (FHP). This is where the head begins to drift in front of the shoulders, the curve of the neck begins to diminish, and a rounding of the shoulders and upper back starts to occur. This position can reek havoc on our spine and associated muscles. One of the most common conditions to occur is Upper Crossed Syndrome and unfortunately the majority of the population suffers from this.

Upper Crossed Syndrome affects a series of muscles that help stabilize the spine and support the head. These muscles include: tight pectorals, upper trapezius, and levator scapulae and weak deep neck flexors, lower trapezeus, and serratous anterior.

Sitting in improper positions and extended periods of time is the main culprit of this condition. This causes certain muscles to become overly tight and not function correctly. When this occurs day after day this condition becomes chronic. When muscles become tight and locked up this can lead to poor range of movement, stiffness and wear and tear on a joint. If a muscle becomes weak or overstretched it is not able to support the joint properly and sudden quick movements can lead to irritation of the joint and damage to its surrounding ligaments. Muscles need to be used regularly to make them strong but they also need to be stretched regularly to make them flexible. Upper Crossed Syndrome can contribute to a host of symptoms. These include: neck pain, upper back pain, “knotted” muscles, trigger points, headaches, TMJ problems, numbness and tingling into the arms, shoulder pain, limited range of motion, and even breathing problems, which decreases the ability of the rib cage to expand.

Treatment for Upper Crossed Syndrome can vary per individual. However with a basic functional examination, checking movement patterns, and palpation to the neck and shoulders, a treatment plan can be designed specifically for you. In my office we use the Janda approach (http://www.jandaapproach.com/the-janda-approach/jandas-syndromes/). Based on what the functional exam reveals, we are able to provide specific exercises to help strengthen the inhibited or weak muscles and stretch and lengthen the tight or over active muscles. We also include soft tissue therapies such as Active Release Technique (http://www.activerelease.com/) and Graston Technique (http://www.grastontechnique.com/) to help mobilize the muscles. Another key component to treatment is joint mobilization. A thorough chiropractic exam is performed to locate which joints are restricted and not moving efficiently. By adjusting the joint and freeing up these restrictions this helps improve overall mobility of the spine and soft tissue.

Upper Crossed Syndrome is a chronic condition, however if treated properly can be corrected with time and effort. If you feel you have poor posture or suffer from any of the symptoms provided within the article, contact your local chiropractor, health care provider, or physical therapist for an assessment. Simple exercises and stretches may be your answer and put you back on a path to recovery.

Dr. Scott Hallums is the owner and chiropractic physician at Wheaton Chiropractic Spine & Joint Center located at 340 W. Front St., Wheaton, IL. (630) 580-9457 Wheaton Chiropractic Spine & Joint Center was founded on the principles of RELIEF. RECOVERY. RESULTS. Our number one goal is to get you out of pain and back doing the activities that you enjoy. A combined approach of chiropractic manipulation, soft tissue work such as instrument assisted and Active Release Technique, and functional rehab, will allow the body to heal and recover at a quicker rate than traditional care. The treatment and care at Wheaton Chiropractic Spine & Joint Center will allow the body, joints, and muscles to move more efficiently and function at their optimal level.


8:00am - 6:00pm

8:00am - 6:00pm

8:00am - 6:00pm

8:00am - 6:00pm



Wheaton Chiropractic
Spine & Joint Center

316 West Roosevelt Road #100
Wheaton, IL 60187
(630) 580-9457