Upper Crossed Syndrome – how can remedial massage help?

What is Upper Crossed Syndrome (UCS)?

Upper Crossed Syndrome (UCS) a very common musculoskeletal imbalance of the upper body. It is usually caused by poor posture or repetitive tasks in prolonged standing or sitting positions. As a result, particular muscles become chronically tight and shortened due to becoming overactive. These include the muscles of the upper back and neck (upper trapezius, levator scapula & sub-occipitals), and the chest (pectoralis). Excessive shortening of muscles, results in an imbalance. The surrounding counter muscles are under used and weak. These include the muscles of the upper back (mid-lower trapezius, rhomboids & serratus anterior), and the deep cervical flexors in the neck. This muscular imbalance results in rounded shoulders, winging of shoulder blades, and a forward head position with a protruding chin.

What are the Symptoms of UCS?

  • Neck & jaw pain
  • Headaches
  • Pain, tension and restricted mobility in the neck, upper back, shoulders, chest & ribs
  • Weakness in the front of the neck, while strain in the back of the neck
  • In some cases pain,numbness, and tingling in the upper arms
  • Lower back pain
  • Discomfort when sitting to read, watch TV and prolonged driving
  • Fatigue
  • If untreated can result in chronic conditions such as shoulder instability, impingement and bursitis.

What Causes UCS?

UCS can present itself because of prolonged poor posture, eg. standing or sitting for long periods with the head pushed forward.

  • Reading
  • Watching TV
  • Using a iphone, laptop, or computer
  • Cycling
  • Driving
  • Congenital defects or injuries in small cases.

How can a remedial massage therapist (RMT) provide relief for individuals with UCS?

An RMT can use their skills in soft tissue work and a variety of techniques to release the tight and overactive muscles, and then stimulate the weak and underactive muscles. This is beneficial in order to properly encourage them to activate and strengthen. An RMT will then formulate a treatment plan which can include simple self-care exercises and stretches to manage UCS causes and relieve symptoms.

At Enhance Physiotherapy, a skilled RMT such as myself can be used as an effective complementary treatment for UCS.  Especially most effective in conjunction with treatment and exercises prescribed by our experienced team of Physiotherapists and Exercise Physiologists.

Briella RMT

(08) 9583 5165

Enhance Physiotherapy – Mandurah 

Getting out of an exercise slump

I’ve seen this time and time again but have also experienced it personally when you go in and out of an exercise routine. Whether you have been sick, away on holiday or have other countless excuses with finances or the very popular no time.

Despite these, yes it can be hard to get the ball rolling again and get back to exercise but here are my recommendations.

  1. Starting Exercise

It has been a while since you’ve been back to some regular exercise, I strongly recommend chatting to a health professional (aka me, an Exercise Physiologist or one of my many amazing friends at Enhance Physiotherapy) to see if exercise is safe for you.

  1. Goal Setting

Not just thinking about how nice it would be to do XYZ, actually putting pen to paper and writing down some achievable and measurable goals that you want to work towards. For example number of exercise sessions per week. Keep these goals on hand by putting them on your fridge so you can be reminded of why you’re doing this.

  1. Exercise Type

Try and pick the type of exercise that you will enjoy. If you hate going to the gym at 5am don’t do it… You’re more likely to stay consistent with a type of exercise that you enjoy.

  1. Friends!

Not only someone to chat to but someone to give you that motivation and extra push. Its ok to have those hard days when the motivation is low, however exercising with a friend makes it so much more achievable!

  1. Food

Making sure you’re fueling your body to succeed with balanced and healthy meals. If you goal is to lose weight you can’t just starve yourself…  that not fun, nor is it healthy or something that you can maintain for long term. You end up putting more weight on, trust me I do this to earn a living.

I hope these tips are helpful and if you have any burning questions come visit me at any one of our 3 clinics or give me a call. I’m happy to chat and to help you with your exercise journey!


Sam is our full time Exercise Physiologist. To book an appointment with Sam call our clinic on 9583 5165.

5 healthy travel tips I actually follow

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”2591″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]Recently I went away on holiday and I didn’t have access to a gym or any fancy equipment. However I wanted to make sure I continued to stay healthy and active whilst I was away. Here are my tips to enjoying yourself on holiday whilst keeping your goals in check

The plane ride

Even if your holiday doesn’t require any plane trips I’m sure you will encounter travel where you need to be seated for a long duration. To help keep aches and pains at bay, as well as to encourage circulation through your muscles to keep them healthy, some light stretches and exercises are great to help. Some of my ‘go to’ exercises are in the pic above.

  1. Walking

Not only is walking a cheap way to get from point A to B when on holiday. It is great way to keep your body healthy and strong, just make sure you have the appropriate footwear for your chosen destination!

  1. Food

Holidays and food just go hand in hand. Now I’m not saying to make sure every meal you eat on holiday is a balanced and healthy meal. What I do suggest is trying to think about reducing the portion sizes of the lovely treats you’re delving into.

Also don’t forget to clear out the fridge and pantry before you go on holiday, you don’t want to find any surprises when you return home!

  1. Hydration

Depending on where you are travelling to I suggest taking a refillable water bottle with you. It’s a great way to keep check of how much water you’re actually drinking. Not only does staying hydrated make your skin look amazing it helps with keeping your muscles and organs healthy as well as reduce your level of fatigue.

Also if you are planning on drinking whilst on holiday use the 1 for 1 rule (1 glass of water for 1 alcoholic drink), this way you will be able to make the most of your holiday and do the best for your body.

  1. When you return

Start by slowly getting back into the routine. Set yourself a few days before returning to work to regain some structure and figure out what day it is!

I always start by meal prepping some healthy food options as well as getting back into some structured exercise, oh and to unpack that suitcase (7 loads of washing later…).

Hope these tips help! Happy and safe travels everyone.


Samantha is our full time exercise physiologist and is available for appointments at all 3 of our clinics. Call 9583 5165 to book.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”2595″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row]