Pain in the Neck: Upper Cross Syndrome

Pain in the neck upper cross syndrome

Back and neck pain are common complaints from people who work remotely or at a desk. Dr. Morgan Toone explains the connection between neck pain and a condition called Upper Cross Syndrome.

When working from home, one of the many challenges you face is finding a comfortable place to sit and work. You’re probably not used to sitting at the kitchen table or in your living room. Your body doesn’t have the support of an ergonomic chair or desk, and thus feels more inclined to slouch. As the day drags on, those hours spent slouching over a computer put stress on your neck and spine. At the end of the day, that tension will leave you feeling sore and exhausted.

Postural ergonomics are essential for good back and neck health, which is why poor posture habits can eventually develop into a painful injury known as Upper Cross Syndrome.

Identifying Upper Cross Syndrome

The symptoms of Upper Cross Syndrome are usually localized at the base of the neck and shoulders, and sometimes can be felt in the upper back. Pain from UCS often feels very tight, especially when bringing your head towards your chest.

You might experience a pinching or stabbing pain when looking up towards the ceiling.  Many patients with UCS equate this sensation to “being stabbed by an ice pick” or “a hot poker,” and you may also experience tension headaches that wrap around your head, adding pressure to an already painful experience.

While this condition is common and those are the usual identifiers for Upper Cross Syndrome, it is important to get a proper diagnosis by your Airrosti Provider or primary care physician to rule out other possible medical conditions.

Tips to Avoid Neck Pain from UCS

Improve Your Posture

The best way to avoid neck pain and Upper Cross Syndrome is to improve your posture. Practice proper posture when sitting and try to take short breaks throughout the day to walk around and stretch. This article is a great resource for posture tips and easy exercises to try at home to help relax any muscle tightness during the day.

Stand Up When You Work

You can also switch things up by standing while you work. No matter what position you choose to work in, proper desk set-up is important for encouraging correct posture and preventing neck pain. To take tension off your neck and shoulders, make sure that your computer monitor is at eye level and your chair is not too high or too low. Make sure your arms are bent at 90-degrees.

Stretch It Out

Taking a break from work to stretch your muscles a few times during the day can also help relieve the symptoms of Upper Cross Syndrome. Stretching at work is a great way to reduce muscle fatigue and improve your posture.  Add a few stretches or yoga poses to your daily routine to alleviate muscle tension and work on your flexibility throughout the day.

Eliminating Pain with Airrosti

At Airrosti, our main goal is to treat your aches and pains at the source. By combining targeted manual therapy with custom at-home exercises, our providers can diagnose and resolve the true cause of your injury while giving you the resources and tools you need to prevent future injury.

Schedule an appointment with one of our expert providers today, and get rid of your UCS pain for good.

We also offer remote telehealth appointments. Give us a call at (800) 404-6050 to learn more about telehealth and schedule your virtual appointment today.

View our medical disclaimer here.


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