Shoulder, Neck and Back Pain!

Likely to be the most common movement impairment syndrome is the Upper Crossed Syndrome.  You can see evidence of this impairment in almost everyone, to varying degrees.  The UCS is characterized by a forward head position, a hyperextended (bowed) lower back, and forward tilted hips. (See picture).  This posture can be caused by many things, most notably sitting in a chair or desk for long periods of time (especially with a computer) and resistance training the front side of the body disproportionately to the back side (very common, also known as working “mirror muscle” only). 


The static posture observed in this picture indicates a few things.  There are several OVERACTIVE and tight muscles pulling the posture forward, and several UNDERACTIVE or weakened muscles allowing this to happen.  For the most part, the OVERACTIVE muscles are in the front, and the UNDERACTIVE muscles are in the back.  The following is a list of those muscles:


Pectorals (Chest)

Upper Traps and Levator Scapula (Neck)

Hip Flexors 


Lower and Middle Traps

Rhomboids (Upper back)

Rectus Abdominus (abs)

Deep neck flexors (front of neck)

This posture can lead to pain, faulty and inefficient movement mechanics, and a BIG decrease in performance (dance, sports, LIFE!)

Correcting this posture is a simple matter of knowing what to work, what to stretch, and what to inhibit (foam roll). 

 In general, stretch and roll the OVERACTIVE muscles, and stregthen the weakend muscles with resistance.

For more specific exercises or stretching/inhibitory techniques, contact an Emerge Fitness Trainer via phone or email.

Matt Pirtle, MA, CSCS

Emerge Fitness Training

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