Upper Crossed Syndrome
Several years ago, I stumbled across a series of articles that looked at postural imbalances in the neck/shoulder and hip areas. I was intrigued because I had never heard of the phrase upper crossed syndrome before.
Very quickly into the series, it was like a light bulb went on and I realized that not only did it explain my own symptoms, but those of so many of my clients as well! And it changed how I approached treatment and home stretches for clients.
What exactly is upper crossed syndrome?
In a nutshell, it is an imbalance between weak and tight muscles.
Weak muscles between your shoulder blades (rhomboids & lower traps); tight through upper chest (pecs) & front of shoulders (anterior deltoid); weak neck flexors (muscles along the front of your neck); and tight neck extensors (basically from the top of your shoulder blades up to the base of your skull).
With upper crossed syndrome, you end up in a posture with your shoulders rounded forward and your head forward as well. Think about being pulled forward and down. It also makes maintaining good posture a challenge because the weak muscles can not counteract their tight counterparts, nor are they strong enough to hold neutral posture without fatiguing.
(For more on efficient neutral posture click here)
Now that we know what the problem is, what can we do about it?
Most importantly you need to stretch the tight muscles and strengthen the weak (and keep doing it!) Then, in your massage treatment we work on addressing those same tight muscles and soothing the fatigued weak muscles.
Once you start addressing the muscle imbalance, it is important to regularly check your posture. It is really easy to slide into old patterns & back into the round shoulder, head forward slouch.
So, who’s ready for some more efficient posture??
...for a more intense stretch, hit a doorway ...
Brien-anne RMT, CA
I am passionate not only about Massage Therapy & Aromatherapy, but also living a holistic lifestyle and empowering others to do the same!