Humans are supposed to move – we aren’t meant to be sedentary and motionless, but most of our jobs keep us sitting all day long. And to top it off, we’re typically commuting sitting down in our cars for an extended period of time. And, we’re so tired when we get home from work, we plop down on the couch and continue the downward spiral of a sedentary lifestyle. We harp on this a lot because it’s become such a huge part of our culture – and we want to counteract that at Symmetry Physical Therapy.
There’s a particular type of muscular imbalance pattern that we see time and time again, and it has a whole lot to do with that desk job, sitting in school, or just simply being in front of the computer all day. This imbalance pattern is called upper crossed syndrome (UCS). This fancy terminology just simply means that there is a pattern of tight/shortened muscles crossed with weak/lengthened ones, like this:
Basically, in UCS, a postural deficit comes in the form of the tight/shortened upper trapezius and levator scapula on the back (dorsal) side of the body crossing with tight/shortened pectoralis major and minor on the front (ventral) side of the body. Then, in the realm of weak/lengthened muscles, the syndrome also encompasses weak/lengthened deep cervical flexors on the ventral side and weak/lengthened lower trapezius.
Here’s what you’ll see with UCS:
- Forward head posture
- Rounded shoulders
- Hunched upper back
- Shoulder, neck, upper back pain
And why is this important? Muscles have something called an optimal length-tension relationship, which means that they function at their highest level – giving you the most strength and effectiveness – when they are at the perfect balance of not being too tight nor too lengthened. UCS takes muscles out of that optimal relationship and seriously inhibits performance.
At Symmetry Physical Therapy in Downtown Miami/Brickell, we’re always working on helping you combat muscular imbalances, especially those found in UCS. We hone in on strengthening those weakened muscles and stretching out the tight and over-shortened ones, while supplying you with mobility drills and corrective techniques, making sure you don’t develop faulty posture, imbalance-related injuries, or muscles that are too weak to keep up with all you want to do in life.