Lower Cross Syndrome
By Steph (RMT) at Yoga Sol
Do you find yourself getting lower back pain? Have trouble engaging your abdominal muscles during exercise? Or perhaps your quads or hip flexors are always tight and interfere during a good workout session. Today we are going to explore Lower Cross Syndrome and how it can affect the body.
When we are presenting with Lower Cross Syndrome our muscles are going into states of stretch/weakness and tightness/contraction. The image below helps demonstrate this beautifully.
Typical physical traits of those who are in a posture of Lower Cross Syndrome present as:
• Hyper Lordosis of the Lumbar spine (increased curve in the lower spine)
• Anterior tilting of the pelvis (forward pelvic tilt)
Having a hyper lordosis in the lumbar spine simply means: that the natural curvature (called lordosis) of the lumbar spine (lower back) is exacerbated. If you present with this you will likely find when you are laying on your back you can fit your hand/arm easily under your lower back as it’s not in contact with the floor.
So how can this create pain and dysfunction?
Our postural muscles in our lower back and hips play a large role in Lower Cross Syndrome. When they go into tightness /contraction they can cause our pelvis to tilt forward and can result in a hyper lordosis of the lumbar spine.
Furthermore, when a muscle group is in tightness/contraction its opposite muscle group that it works with goes into stretch/weakness. In the case of Lower Cross this is typically your abdominal, glute and hamstring muscles.
When our muscles are in states of tightness/contraction and stretch/weakness we typically start seeing irregular movement patterns, or compensating occurring in the body. When our joints are moving or even stationary in an incorrect position usually the first sign of this dysfunction is muscle or joint pain.
Being in this anatomical state long term can create problems such as:
• Hypertonic muscles causing pain (particularly lower back and hip)
• Muscle spasms
• Disk herniation (bulging disk), disk degeneration, bone spurs on the
vertebrae, facet joint irritation
• Hip internal rotation resulting in hip pain
• Knee & ankle pain usually due to hip internal rotation
• Irregular movement patterns which can lead to pain elsewhere in the body
(shoulder and neck pain)
• Being prone to injury
While we are not perfectly symmetrical anatomically, our body likes to be as close to it as possible. As massage therapists we are trained to recognise dysfunctions such as Lower Cross Syndrome and help you get out of pain.
In terms of treating and correcting Lower Cross Syndrome, this is an individual process for everyone. However, it’s usually a case of performing remedial massage techniques to reduce the muscle tension, which will also help give you the ability to perform the prescribed exercises we give you. The combination of remedial massage and tailored exercises is typically the most effective combination of overcoming pain and dysfunction from Lower Cross Syndrome.
It’s never a bad day to get a massage!