Welcome to the second part of my nine part series on correcting posture deviations.This post post will focus on lower-cross syndrome symptoms.
DEVIATION 2: LOWER-CROSS SYNDROME
Excessive Curve In The Low Back, Pelvis Is Tilted Forward
For those who want to review my first post on fixing sway back posture, you can check it here. Also, if you want to jump ahead and read about all the posture deviations and how to correct them, you can check my free Power Posture instruction manual here:
What is Lower- Cross Syndrome
LCS or lower cross syndrome is a neuromuscular condition related to tightness and weakness of muscles. The term lower-cross syndrome is derived from the dysfunction of muscles present in the lower body portion.
The cross in lower-cross syndrome is on account of muscular weakness and muscular tightness. If these structures are seen in the x-rays, they appear to be in an “X” pattern.
In some people, lower cross syndrome coexists with the upper-cross syndrome.
Involvement of muscles:
Two types of problems occur in lower cross syndrome; weakness of muscles and tightness of muscles.
Weak muscles: Gluteus maximus and abdominal muscles.
Tight muscles: Hip flexors as iliopsoas, and thoracolumbar extensors (the erector spinae muscle).
Where does it come from?
LCS or lower-cross syndrome is a widespread muscular problem. Most of the time, it is found associated with upper-cross syndrome. We will cover that later in the series.
LCS can occur on account of several factors as:
- Genetics (rarely)
- Sitting in a poor posture for relatively long periods
- An inactive or sedentary lifestyle
- Uneven use of muscles as while participating in sports activities
- Improper procedure or technique for strengthening exercises or exercise regimen.
Lower-cross syndrome symptoms:
- The first and the most apparent sign of lower-cross syndrome is its characteristic postural dysfunction leading to hyperlordosis of the lumbar spine and an increase in an anterior pelvic tilt.
- Upon physical examination and palpation, the following specific muscles are likely to be tight; quadratus lumborum, thoracolumbar paraspinal, adductor brevis, adductor longus, pectineus, TFL (tensor fascia latae), iliacus, and rectus femoris.
- A patient can also complain of movement restriction in thigh extension at the hip joint, flexion at the lower back, and the spinal joints.
- Pain is not a cardinal sign of lower-cross syndrome, but if the patient has been suffering from constant and chronic complications, then he/she can also complain of low back pain on account of low back muscles tightness (extensor muscles and psoas muscles) due to the over-compression upon the area of facet joints in the lumbar spine. This condition is referred to as facet syndrome.
- If the facet syndrome is symptomatic, then the patient will experience pain over the extension of the lumbar spine.
- The pain can be experienced over the region of medial adductors and anterior flexors of the hip.
- If the pain is left unattended or unresolved for a longer duration, then the development of UCS (upper-cross syndrome) and all its consequences can also occur as a result of the lower-cross syndrome.
In short, we can summarize the symptoms of the lower-cross syndrome as:
- Posture deviations as “Swayback posture.”
- A knee injury or knee pain such as hyperextension of the knee
- Low back injury or pain
- Budging out of the abdomen
- The tilted position of the pelvis
- Degenerative joint diseases as osteoarthritis
- Physically poor performance.
All joking aside, neck and back pain related to bad posture is something you need to be aware off. You can get more information on how to fix text neck here. Back to the text.
Management of lower-cross syndrome:
Physical therapy and exercises are the best way to manage lower-cross syndrome and symptoms associated with posture deviations. Treatment of muscular tightness is not in strengthening as it can further lead to an increase in tightness, which can possibly cause more muscle weakness.
Image Source: Valley Health Clinic
Treatment of muscle tightness involves soft tissue approaches. You should stretch the specific muscle for about 15 seconds. A stretching program for 5 days a week can efficiently increase the passive ROM and active ROM in the lower extremities. Other than stretching exercises, core stabilization exercises are also effective for strengthening of abdominal muscles.
Release of trigger points and removal of muscular adhesion through trigger-point release massage and myofascial release at gluteus muscles, TFL, and iliopsoas muscles is also recommended.
According to Sherrington’s law of Reciprocal Innervation, stretching the tight muscle can result in the improvement of muscular strength in inhibited and antagonistic muscles.
Lower-cross syndrome exercises:
The most advised stretches for the lower-cross syndrome are:
- Stretch of erector spinae muscle –
- In this stretch, the patient tends to lie straight with face toward the ceiling in the fetal position or flexed position.
- Their knees are flexed towards the chest, and arms tend to wrap the flexed knees.
- After adapting the perfect position, now ask the patient to stretch the muscles towards the chest with arms and exhale.
- Stretch of rectus femoris and iliopsoas –
- The patient is advised to adapt Thomas position.
- The leg which is not meant to be stretched is kept flexed for stabilization of the pelvis and to flatten the lumbar spine.
- The leg to be stretched is already in a slightly flexed position due to muscle tightness.
- Now push the leg into its neutral position as on the table.
- Hold a particular position for about 15 seconds.
- You can perform the stretch of rectus femoris in the same position if you bend or flex the knee to more than 90 degrees while performing the stretch of the iliopsoas.
Breathing is important during stretches! Helps the muscles relax into the stretch
Strengthening exercises: Pelvic tilt to bridge, single-leg glute bridge, exercise-ball hip bridge, leg-elevated crunch, frog sit-up
Here is a video-log of the strengthening exercises
Pelvic tilt to bridge
Single-leg glute bridge
Exercise-ball hip bridge
Lower-cross syndrome is a problem associated with muscle tightness and weakness. This problem can be resolved with strengthening and elongation of the respective muscle. The best method to resolve this problem is stretching exercises of tightened muscles, which can strengthen the opposite muscles. I hope, if you are suffering from this condition or just interested in preventing it, that this post was useful. Remember that you can always check your posture awareness by taking the quiz below. Meanwhile, here are some products mentioned in this post.
Disclaimer: The content within the post is to guide and inform only. If you have any health concerns, it is important to seek medical advice.
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