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  • Lucas Vermot-Desroches

Upper Cross Syndrome

Upper cross syndrome is a disproportionate forward rounding of the middle and upper back, also known as the thoracic spine. It is a common muscle imbalance brought on by prolonged time in some postural positions, exercise or activities and myofascial dysfunction.

Symptoms include musculoskeletal aches and pains, breathing problems, limited function, impaired athletic performance, gastrointestinal upsets and increased mental stress,injuries and headaches.

This is manifested by weakening and lengthening of the posterior upper-back and neck musculature and the tightening and shortening of the anterior and opposing musculature.

Poor posture, such as slumping over a computer or slouching, contribute to it! If you swim, bike or resistance training, for example, it will exacerbate the faulty mechanics and cause excessive wear to the skeletal system, muscles, and tendons and ligaments. Additionally, it will also hinder performance by depressing the sternum, meaning you can’t breathe, which is rather important for endurance athletes! The people this affects the most are those that sit all day, usually in front of a computer or at a desk. This is why it’s called student or corporate syndrome!

Due to poor ergonomics, most people in these situations either find themselves leaning over a desk to read, or hunched at a computer typing all day.

In order to maintain this unnatural position, the body has to continually contract certain muscles. If you think about a muscle’s length when it is (concentrically) contracting, it gets shorter. If you hold that contracted position for long enough, the muscle will actually remain shorter, resulting in tight muscles and imbalances.


It takes some time, but with a good personal training program and with adapted monitoring, there will be great improvements and complete disappearance of the syndrome! For more information, don’t hesitate to consult me.

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