Fix Your Posture | Upper Cross Syndrome Explained

What is Upper Cross Syndrome?

It occurs from muscle imbalances (weaknesses in one group of muscles and tightness in the other). This can contribute to poor posture.

The muscles usually affected are the upper trapezius and levator scapula. These muscles are at the back of your shoulders and neck. They can become strained and over active and the muscles in the front of your chest (pectoralis) can become tight and shortened. On the flip side you will have weaker muscles at the front of your neck and weaker external rotators of your shoulders like your rhomboids and rear deltoids.

Signs of upper cross syndrome include forward head posture, hunchback and shoulders rolling in.


Poor posture from sitting for prolonged periods of time with your head forward can cause upper cross syndrome.

Common examples include:

  • desk jobs
  • reading
  • texting
  • watching TV
  • driving

What are the symptoms?

Some of the symptoms you may experience include

  • neck pain
  • headaches
  • weakness in the front of your neck
  • tightness in the chest
  • low back pain
  • discomfort driving for long periods
  • restricted movement in the neck and shoulders