Upper Crossed Syndrome – What is it? And how can Remedial Massage help?
Well, as you may have guessed it has nothing to do with knickers, we are actually we are talking about the poor old neck.
Upper Crossed Syndrome (UCS) is an extremely common musculoskeletal imbalance of the upper body.
It is usually caused by poor posture or repetitive tasks ,such as working at a computer or in prolonged standing or sitting positions. As a consequence certain muscles become chronically tight, while others become long and weak. This muscular imbalance results in rounded shoulders/upper back, winging/tipping shoulder blades, and a forward head position with a poking out chin.
The muscles affected in this common syndrome are the Pectoralis Major and Minor muscles in the chest, the Sub-Occipital muscles at the base of the skull and Upper Trapezius and Levator Scapulae in the upper shoulder/neck which all become overactive, short and tight. This excessive shortening of muscles causes an imbalance between muscles groups. Muscles such as Mid-Lower Trapezius, Rhomboids and Serrratus Anterior of the upper back and the deep cervical flexors in the neck therefore become underactive, long and weak.
The musculoskeletal imbalances of UCS can result in an array of pain or discomfort presentations. For example mid- upper back pain/tightness, neck pain/tightness, headaches, or pins and needles down the arms, just to name a few. Also overtime if untreated, these muscular imbalances can affect the position of the skeletal system leading to other chronic conditions such as shoulder instability, shoulder impingement and shoulder bursitis.
Luckily Remedial Massage and correctly prescribed exercises can drastically help with this condition. Remedial Therapists can use their skills in soft tissue work to release the tight, short and overactive muscles, and can give simple homework stretches/exercises. This is extremely important for while these large powerful muscles such as the Pecs or Upper traps remain tight, it is very challenging to properly strengthen the weak muscle groups. Remedial Therapists can also use techniques to stimulate the long, weak and underactive muscles encouraging them to activate and strengthen.
Remedial Massage can be used as an effective stand-alone treatment for UCS, but can also be used as complementary treatment alongside yoga or exercise physiology allowing the exercises prescribed in these activities to be most effective.
If you feel like you relate to any of these symptoms, don’t wait, find the time to care for yourself and book some Remedial treatment today so you can move and feel your best!