Upper Crossed Syndrome

What is Upper Crossed Syndrome?

Upper Crossed Syndrome (UCS) is a condition where one or both legs are crossed over the midline of the body. It may occur when there is a congenital abnormality of development of the femur (thigh bone), or it could be due to trauma such as surgery, accident, disease, etc. People with UCS have two feet pointing forward at all times and their head and neck protrude from between them. They usually stand with their right leg outstretched and their left leg bent at the knee. They are unable to bend down to touch the ground or even sit comfortably because of the large amount of space between them and the floor.

How Is UCS Diagnosed?

A physical examination will reveal if your legs are crossing over each other or not. If they do, then you have upper crossed syndrome. A neurologist will perform a thorough neurological exam to rule out any other causes of your symptoms. You may need additional tests such as:

An MRI scan of the brain and spinal cord may show abnormalities in the structure responsible for controlling muscle movement.

Blood tests can confirm the presence of certain blood proteins. These tests cannot determine whether or not you have had a stroke or heart attack, but they can detect problems with oxygen levels in your blood.

Imaging tests such as a CT Scan or MRI may show any swelling, bleeding or other changes in the brain.

Tests to assess your heart function, including an electrocardiogram (ECG), to see if there is evidence of heart disease.

Upper Crossed Syndrome Exercises

Exercises can help improve posture and muscle tone, and reduce pain in people suffering from upper crossed syndrome. They can be done at home and in private, and require no special equipment or additional training.

Strengthening exercises should focus on engaging the muscles that are weak and underactive. Your physical therapist will work with you to design a program that focuses on these areas. It is important to perform these exercises 3 or more times per week.

Movement re-education helps you to use your muscles in a way that is comfortable for you. For example, while doing the wall slide exercise, you may lean too far forward or let your head protrude too far between your arms. By practicing the correct technique and using proper form, you can retrain your body to do it correctly.

Stretching exercises are often less comfortable but can greatly improve muscle tone and flexibility. Stretching under the supervision of a physical therapist can help you develop a routine that is safe and effective.

Upper Crossed Syndrome Treatment

There is no cure for upper crossed syndrome but it can be treated with exercises, surgery or occupational therapy. Your doctor can advise you on what treatment options are suitable for you.

Some people with upper crossed syndrome may be offered an operation to free their hands from their feet. This is often successful in helping them to walk, but other therapies may be needed to help with balance and to prevent a recurrence of the condition.

Consult Your Doctor

Upper crossed syndrome is a condition that can cause serious problems if left untreated. You should talk to your doctor if you think that you or a member of your family may have it. Early detection and treatment can improve quality of life and prevent future health complications.

Sources & references used in this article:

Upper crossed syndrome and its relationship to cervicogenic headache by MK Moore – Journal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics, 2004 – Elsevier

Effects of a ball-backrest chair on the muscles associated with upper crossed syndrome when working at a VDT by W Yoo, C Yi, M Kim – Work, 2007 – content.iospress.com

The effect of middle and lower trapezius strength exercises and levator scapulae and upper trapezius stretching exercises in upper crossed syndrome by WS Bae, HO Lee, JW Shin, KC Lee – Journal of physical therapy …, 2016 – jstage.jst.go.jp

Chiropractic management of a 46-year-old type 1 diabetic patient with upper crossed syndrome and adhesive capsulitis by J Valli – Journal of chiropractic medicine, 2004 – Elsevier

Upper crossed syndrome by J Muscolino – Journal of the Australian Traditional …, 2015 – search.informit.com.au

The Torsional Upper Crossed Syndrome: A multi-planar update to Janda’s model, with a case series introduction of the mid-pectoral fascial lesion as an associated … by CE Morris, D Bonnefin, C Darville – Journal of bodywork and movement …, 2015 – Elsevier