Upper Cross Syndrome(shoulder muscle deformity): causes,symptoms & its treatment

  • April 4, 2017
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Upper-Crossed Syndrome (UCS) is also referred to as proximal or shoulder girdle crossed syndrome. In UCS, tightness of the upper trapezius and levator scapula on the dorsal side crosses with tightness of the pectoralis major and minor. Weakness of the deep cervical flexors ventrally crosses with weakness of the middle and lower trapezius. This pattern of imbalance creates joint dysfunction, particularly at the atlanto-occipital joint, C4-C5 segment, cervicothoracic joint, glenohumeral joint, and T4-T5 segment.

Faulty Posture

  • Muscles in slightly shortened positions tend to be stronger
  • Muscles in slightly elongated positions tend to be weaker than their opposers
  • If we can balance muscle groups there is a sense that posture can self-correct

Symptoms :

  • Forward head posture
  • Rounded shoulders
  • A hunched upper back
  • Headache
  • Shoulder pain, upper back and neck

Physiotherapy Treatment :

  • levator scapulae stretch
  • upper trapezius stretches
  • pectorals stretch
  • improve thoracic extension


It basically involves strengthening the weak scapular stabilizers which are the rhomboids, middle and lower trapezius, serratus anterior; and the deep flexor muscles of the neck.

The other most important factor is proper ergonomics. When sitting in front of the laptop, ensure that:

  • The screen is right in front of your eyes. No poking chin or facing downwards.
  •  The keyboard should be at a level such that your elbows are bent at 90 degrees shoulders slightly back and wrist remain in neutral position with feet well supported on the ground and back erect.

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