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Upper Cross Syndrome

October 2, 2019


A very common condition chiropractors see and treat is upper cross syndrome. This is when the muscles of the neck and upper back are not functioning properly. Many people are affected by this condition, such a desk workers, students, and individuals with poor posture. This condition is becoming more and more prevalent with increased cell phone use in both the adolescent and adult populations. This is due to the fact that we are looking down at phones, tablets, books and televisions for prolonged amounts of time.


When muscle groups become tight and overactive the surrounding counter muscles become short, weak and inhibited. With upper cross syndrome the deep neck flexors and the lower trapezius and serratus anterior muscles become weak and inhibited. When this occurs, the upper trapezius, levator scapulae and the pectoralis major and minor muscles become tight and overactive. When the head and shoulders are in a forward rounded position this causes the natural cure of the cervical and thoracic spine to change. The cervical lordosis and thoracic kyphosis, or curvatures both increase.


Symptoms of upper cross syndrome are neck and upper back pain and stiffness, headaches, sore shoulders and shoulder blades, restricted range of motion and jaw pain. This condition can be prevented by limiting screen time, taking breaks every 15-20 minutes especially while sitting at a desk, participating in regular physical activity with an emphasis is stretching the short muscles and strengthening the weak and inhibited muscles.

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