Conditions & Treatments - Upper Crossed Syndrome
Upper Crossed Syndrome (UCS) is
described as a muscle imbalance pattern located at the head and
shoulder regions. It is most often found in individuals who work
at a desk or who sit for a majority of the day and continuously
exhibit poor posture. Vladimir Janda, MD, an expert in the research
of muscle imbalances, characterized Upper Crossed Syndrome by
over activity of the upper trapezius, levator scapulae,
sternocleidomastoid and pectoralis muscles, and reciprocal
weakness of the deep cervical flexors, lower trapezius &
serratus anterior (1, 2, 3). The image above illustrates
Upper Crossed Syndrome where tightness of the upper trapezius
and levator scapulae crosses with tightness of the pectoralis
major & minor and weakness of the deep cervical flexors crosses
with weakness of the lower trapezius and serratus anterior (3).
Table 1 lists the actions of muscles involved in Upper Crossed
When treating patients with UCS the shortened muscles must be
restored before embarking on training of the weakened muscles.
This is based on Sherrington's Law of reciprocal inhibition
which states that when one muscle is shortened or tightened its
opposite muscle relaxes (1, 2).
Last revised: April 15, 2011