Sore neck and shoulders? Could you have upper cross syndrome?


14 years….. Thats how long I have been treating people with massage. In 14 years I’ve seen so many people for so many issues. Calculating it out I’ve estimated 2500 a year- that’s roughly 35000 total massages. When I treat people, I see repeated problems of tension. No two peoples bodies have been exactly the same, however there are contributing factors to people’s issues that repeat often. One of the most prolific problems is upper cross syndrome.

What is upper cross syndrome? The chances are you have a degree of it and its caused by many things in our modern life. The prime culprits are sitting with a poor posture, performing tasks sitting with our arms in front of us. Upper cross syndrome is characterised by hunched shoulders gutted out chin craned neck excessive forward curve in the upper back (also known as hyper-kyphosis).

What happens when it is left untreated? In our 20’s it creates minor discomfort and a less desirable day to day posture, in our 30’s it leads to more severe pain headaches degenerating posture limited range of motion above the shoulder line and through the thoracic spine. Exposing people to injuries from rotator cuff, neck to hip and lower back issues. In our 40s and 50’s unaddressed it begins to really become serious and can lead to neck degeneration (cervical joint degeneration).

The longer we hold the bad posture the more ingrained in our bone / muscle structure it becomes and day to day wear and tear begin making it less and less reversible- discs begin to bulge nerves become impinged and surgery is inevitable for some. The pain from advanced nerve compression is debilitating and often treated with expensive addictive pain medication. It is a slow creep and over my career I’ve seen it at all stages. Upper cross is a simple and common example of a workplace and lifestyle driven structural dysfunction. The good news is there is something that can be done and it doesn’t just help posture it helps with everything.

How do we treat upper cross syndrome? Remedial Massage is a great first step to remeding upper cross syndrome or any number of muscular imbalances that’s what the remedial in our title stands for. If you refer to the above image you will note there are highlighted muscle groups with a deft touch the tight, over active groups (in yellow) are loosened and with exercise the weak (in red) inhibited muscles are strengthened, With expert guidance a therapist can recommend exercises and routines that can help build healthy posture as apart of your routine.

I am an avid fan of massage, yoga and pilates as a weekly routine combined with your prefered exercises. Everyone is different with different proclivities and a skilled therapist can advise you to choose exercise that best suits your life and budget; the spectrum of options is broad and there is something for everyone.

Actively pursuing a more healthy body is a lifestyle that builds a more rewarding life and to begin that journey action must be taken.

Book now and we can begin or continue your health journey. Written by John Davies, Massage Therapist at Life Synergy.

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