The upper-crossed syndrome (UCS) is a predictable pattern of muscle weak-ness that is present in all bipeds. It is an inevitable result of gravity acting on a human through his or her lifetime, though UCS is notably worsened by spend-ing extended periods of time working or studying at a desk. A combination of gravity and poor posture cause your neck flexors and scap-ular stabilizers to become weak. To compensate, your brain recruits antagonist muscle groups to perform functions that your weakened muscles can no longer achieve. These muscle groups—the upper trapezius, levator scapula, and pec-toral muscles—become overactive. This unique muscle imbalance is a signifi-cant cause of shoulder pain, and without treatment can easily break down the mechanics of the shoulder and deep arm movement patterns, leading to shoul-der impingement, tendonitis and bursitis symptoms, and even rotator cuff injury.
Who does the Upper-Crossed Syndrome Affect?
Unfortunately, the Upper-Crossed Syndrome will affect every human over time; it is an inevitable result of gravity, and there’s nothing we can do about that! We spend more time fighting against gravity as we age and therefore the UCS will affect us more as we grow older. Aside from the elderly, symptoms of the UCS tend to be more pronounced in those who work or study at a desk or in those who perform repetitive movement of the midback, shoulder, or arms.