Sitting for a long period of time promotes imbalances in muscular length and strength leading to Lower crossed syndrome (LCS), a common postural imbalance.
In both the front and the back of the hip region, prolonged sitting produces a pattern of over-and underactive muscles. the lower crossed syndrome is one of the most common compensatory patterns and a postural disorder in the lower back, pelvis, hip joints the muscles. It is characterized by individuals displaying a postural lordotic posture in which the buttocks and stomach protrude.
“Cross” refers to the overactive muscles’ (and possibly tight and shortened) crossing pattern with the underactive (and possibly lengthened and weak) muscles’ counter crossing.
The postural impact on the pelvis is most important and needs to be addressed immediately. That being said, poor stance / poor level of understanding of how to execute everyday activities, insufficient preparation, one-sided discomfort, and too high tension in the lumbar region is the most common causes.
- Tightness of the hip flexors and lumbar erector spinae along with
- weakness or inhibition of the gluteal and abdominal muscles creates a postural imbalance in the lower back and hips.
The postural imbalance noted in lower crossed syndrome is an anterior (forward) rotation of the pelvis and an excessive extension (back bending) in the lumbar spine, known as hyperlordosis. This excessive backward curve of the lumbar spine may lead to back pain.
Symptoms of Lower Cross Syndrome
People with Lower Cross Syndrome often suffer from lower back pain or pain in the pelvic or hip joints. In addition to this, people will suffer from:
- Reduced mobility or stiffness in the lumbar, hip, hamstring, or pelvic region
- Pain in hip flexors, groin, spine, or buttock muscles
- Protruding stomach from an overly arched low back
- Tension in the lower back and/or buttock muscles
Lower Cross Syndrome Exercises
In order to improve optimum muscle function and improve the postural alignment of the lower back, it is also important to reinforce those muscles that have been stressed. Exercises are a great way to address Lower Cross Syndrome.
Hip flexor stretch
- Keep the body in an upright position and reach to the back foot, gently lifting it off the ground to feel a stretch at the front of the thigh.
- Repeat this 3 times on both sides.
The lower back cat
- On both hands and knees, arch the back upwards, tucking the bottom under and chin to chest.
- Extend the spine and drop back downwards.
- Bring bottom back over feet.
- Repeat this 12 times.
A supine ball squeeze
- Lie in a supine position in the place of a neutral spine.
- Trigger the abdominal core muscles.
- Breathe out and keep the contraction for 5 seconds and grip the medicine ball/chi ball.
- For all adductor muscles, make sure there is an equal contraction. There is no glute activation or pelvic tilting for 12 times.
The Leg extension
Extends one leg away from the body respectively for 3 sets of 10 on each side.
- Lie backward with hands, taking a breath to brace. Pressing through the midfoot during exhalation to lift the hips and trunk off the surface. Triggering the complex of gluteus maximus and hamstring.
- Keep on for one count. To return to the surface, exhale.
- For one count, inhale to rest, then exhale to repeat the action.
- Ensure that the neutral spine is preserved and that the lumbar spine should not over-extend
- Repeat 10 times.
Lower Cross Syndrome Treatment
Lower Cross Syndrome should not be left untreated. In order to recover natural joint mobility, the locked joints of the hip, pelvis, and lumbar must always be adjusted by one or more modifications (manipulation). This can be paired with coordinated strengthening and stretching of the weak muscles and ergonomic conditioning of the tight ones.
Treat LCS under the supervision of a physical therapist who could monitor chronic symptoms and prescribe a personalized regimen of stretching and strengthening.