After finishing binging the latest Netflix series, you move to stand up from the couch and you feel like you’re fighting your body to stand, congratulations you’ve just encountered lower cross syndrome! Continuing with the first blog post in this series, this post is going to go over the second half of the crossed syndromes, lower cross syndrome.
What is Lower Cross Syndrome?
As you may imagine, lower cross syndrome is similar in view to upper cross syndrome. A cross is formed in the lower body that denotes which muscles are too tight and which muscles are too weak. This imbalance is what causes persistent low back pain, adjustments not to hold as long, and even long-term postural changes. These changes form a positive-feedback loop. The postural changes increase the tension in the tight muscles and debilitate the weak muscles, which in turn creates more postural changes, and the cycle repeats itself.
So how did this happen?
The most significant contributor to lower cross syndrome is the types of jobs that are more prevalent and the leisure activities that go along with these long stressful work hours. The constant sitting puts your hip flexors and low back extensors in a shortened state for long periods. After repeated days, weeks, months, and years, the body starts to accept that this shortened state is the new “normal,” so any attempts to stretch this area alone are ineffective at best.
Now that you have two different muscles that are being shortened and are tight, the muscles that balance these muscles are unable to handle the increased stress. The repeated stress of trying to hold back these tighter areas is too much, and they aren’t strong enough, causing them to be weaker in comparison.
What’s going on?
Lower cross syndrome forms a cross in the lower body in the lower back/pelvic region of the body. Imagine looking at someone from the side. The first line denoting tight areas moves from the front of your thigh/hip diagonally to your low back. The muscles are the hip flexors (iliopsoas primarily) and the erector spinae (lower back muscles). The second line denoting weak areas moves from the abdominals (rectus abdominis primarily with some secondary oblique functions) moving diagonally to the rear (gluteus maximus and minimus) forming the cross.
So if you imagine a pulley system, you’ve got one rope pulling down on the front and one pulling up on the back for long periods. So as you have these tight and weak muscles, the postural imbalance that you’re creating is that your pelvis and hips rotate forward. The rotation shortens the hip flexors and low back extensors, even more, making it easier for them to stay tight. Anterior pelvic tilt is the name for this postural imbalance.
How do I prevent this?
Lower cross syndrome is, unfortunately, prevalent in the developed world. Even if you aren’t experiencing the symptoms yet, it’s something worth investing time in to prevent it from giving you trouble. Getting checked out by your local Frisco Chiropractor and getting adjusted is the first step to seeing if you would benefit by getting started with preventative techniques to make sure this isn’t a problem.
Stretching the tight muscles is important as those are what is causing the discomfort, but it’s a double-edged sword. You have to strengthen the weak muscles or else none of the work the chiropractor or you do will make a difference in the long term. Luckily enough, that is what the next blog post is over, how to stretch and strengthen muscles involved in upper and lower cross syndrome.
For even more information on this topic, check out this link to another great chiropractor!
Here at Express Chiropractic of Frisco, we want to make sure you’re the best that you can be and make sure you’re not setting yourself up for something later down the line. We’d love to help you on this journey to make sure you live a happy, wellness filled life! We even have a certificate for $10 off your initial visit, which involves a consultation, examination, adjustment (if warranted), and a massage with a licensed massage therapist!