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Upper Crossed Postural Syndrome

woman with poor posture wondering in chiropractic is right for her

Upper crossed postural syndrome (UCPS) is a collection of symptoms associated with a common postural imbalance. Whether its too much time at the desk, on a mobile device, or doing it wrong at the gym the solution is remarkably simple. The key, however, is consistency over time.


  • Neck pain

  • Shoulder pain / tendinopathy / impingement

  • Headaches

Treatments in office

In office treatments usually involve soft tissue focused manual therapy, passive stretching, adjustments, and therapeutic exercise instruction/prescription. Every care will vary so treatment often has its nuances. The doctor will work with you to plan and execute a program to address your postural dysfunction.


There is a lot to be done at home for upper crossed postural syndrome. What follows is a brief overview. As always, the Doctor will prescribe tailored and ability appropriate exercises after an exam.

Stretching: The main muscle groups that become shortened are the pectoralis and the upper trapezius which is why the first step in battling UCPS is to begin stretching these two muscle groups.

Strengthening: Several muscle groups become neglected in UCPS. Its important to remember that the pattern and severity may not be the same for each individual. A weakness of the deep neck flexors, mid/lower trap fibers, and scapular stabilizers are common. These muscle groups will require some strength and more importantly some endurance to begin to balance things back out.

Postural awareness: There are several options ranging from rigid braces to soft anchors to connected devices. I really only have a poor opinion of one: the rigid braces. Rigid braces force a posture and do not help to train your body to hold a posture. Worse, they may actually encourage weakness and lead to further problems.

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