Postural Syndromes – when posture is the problem

Is your posture becoming a problem? You may have a Postural Syndrome!

Sometimes its hard to pinpoint just one spot that is causing a problem. You might simply feel stiff or feel too tired to sit up straight. When we spend hours sitting at a desk looking at a screen whether it be at work or home a computer or tv, we remain in a  sustained sitting posture. This is not what our body was designed to do. Chronic sustained sitting postures combined with poor posture patterns can become a problem and if not addressed can develop postural syndromes.

The reality is that we live in a sitting culture. What about you? How many hours a day do you remain seated? Even with the recommended 30 minutes of exercise a day you can still be in a seated position for the majority of your day!

What is happening to our bodies when we remain in sustained postures?

We can develop a Postural Syndrome: There are 3 common presentations

Upper Crossed Syndrome

  • Image result for upper cross syndromeWhere our head is protruding forward, our shoulders become rounded with our shoulder blades winging out and our thoracic kyphosis increases which round the upper part of our back.  Joint dysfunction is created by this muscular imbalance presentation at areas of increased stress. The base of the skull, the base of the neck, shoulder joints and mid-upper back.
  • Chronic muscle weakness of our deep cervical flexors in the front of the neck and the lower trapezius and serratus anterior muscles located around the mid back. Without the facilitation of these muscles, the neck and chin are allowed to protrude forward and the shoulder blades are left unsecured.
  • Chronic muscle tightness is also exhibited of the upper trapezius, levator scapulae, sternocleidomastoid and pectoralis muscles which pull the shoulder blades up and pull our shoulders forward and into internal rotation.


Lower Crossed Syndrome

  • Related imageWhere our pelvis is tipped forward, we have slight hip and knee flexion, there is an increase in lumbar lordosis deepening the lower back curve, our stomach sticks out and we develop an increase in thoracolumbar kyphosis which causes a rounding through the middle back. Joint dysfunction created by this muscular imbalance presentation occurs at the lower back, pelvis and hip joints.
  • Chronic muscle weakness of the abdominals and gluteus muscles allowing our stomachs to protrude outward and creating instability through the lower back and pelvis
  • Chronic muscle tightness is also exhibited through the thoracolumbar extensors of the low back and the hip flexors, iliopsoas and rectus femurs, pulling the pelvis forward creating an anterior pelvic tip which creates joint dysfunction of the lower back, pelvic and hip joints.


Layer Syndrome

Image result for layer syndrome

  • which is a combination of Upper Crossed and Lower Crossed Syndromes. Due to the
    combination of presentations, layer syndrome takes longer to correct and has a poorer prognosis than the Upper Cross or Lower Cross alone.
  • Chronic muscle weakness of the lower stabilisers of the scapula (shoulder blade), lumbosacral erector spinae and the gluteus muscles
  • Chronic muscle tightness of the cervical erector spinae, upper trapezius, levator scapulae, thoracolumbar erector spinae and hamstrings

If you have noticed any of the above patterns in your own posture or if you have a job where you are stuck in sustained postures it may be time for your next spinal health check. Ask your chiropractor for information about postural assessments. We can help you find out what treatment options could be right for you!

Call Hands on Health Care at (02) 9949-3017 or book your next appointment online at

June 26, 2018
Katie MacRae