Treatment of Upper Crossed Syndrome: A Narrative Systematic Review

Min Cheol Chang, Yoo Jin Choo, Keeyong Hong, Mathieu Boudier-Revéret, Seoyon Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background and Objectives: Upper crossed syndrome (UCS) is a common musculoskeletal condition that is characterized by tightness and weakness of the muscles of the neck, shoulders, and upper back. The aim of this current study is to summarize and provide an overview of the treatment in patients with UCS. Materials and Methods: A MEDLINE (PubMed), Cochrane library, Embase, Scopus, and Web of Science database search was conducted for English-language articles about upper crossed syndrome that were published until 19 January 2023. To identify potentially relevant articles, the following key search phrases were combined: “upper crossed syndrome”, “upper cross syndrome”, “diagnosis”, and “treatment”. A total of 233 articles were identified. After reading the titles and abstracts and assessing their eligibility based on the full-text articles, 11 articles were finally included in this review. The risk of bias (RoB) was assessed using RoB-2 and ROBINS-I for the randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and the non-randomized clinical trial (non-RCT), respectively. Results: Among eleven studies that investigated the effect of treatment programs for UCS, five studies compared the therapeutic effect of exercise programs with controls, whereas six compared different rehabilitative treatment strategies, such as the muscle energy technique, soft-tissue mobilization, and stretching exercises. In addition, regarding the study design, ten studies were RCTs and only one study was a prospective observational study. Conclusions: Treatment programs including various types of exercises and techniques to correct an abnormal posture and restore neuromuscular imbalances are effective for decreasing pain and improving neck disabilities and postural deviations in patients with UCS.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2328
JournalHealthcare (Switzerland)
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.


  • musculoskeletal diseases
  • musculoskeletal manipulations
  • musculoskeletal pain
  • pain
  • pain management
  • postural balance


Dive into the research topics of 'Treatment of Upper Crossed Syndrome: A Narrative Systematic Review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this