woman with low back pain from lower crossed syndrome

What is Lower Crossed Syndrome and What to Do About It

In Back Pain, Injury Prevention, Physical Therapy by Advance TherapyLeave a Comment

By Peter Culp
Often you will hear therapists speak of muscular imbalances. This essentially means that something has happened to make a muscle or muscle group less functional than it should be. This typically will look like either weakness or tightness. Lower Crossed Syndrome is a presentation of muscular imbalances that happen mostly because of the habits of our modern lives. We spend lots and lots and lots of time sitting. We sit in the car or truck to get to work, we sit at our desk at work, we sit at the dinner table when we get home, and we sit on the couch to watch TV in the evening. 

Vladimir Janda was a Czecoslovacian physician who noticed these habits and put together that these habits of modern life create a specific muscular imbalance in the body. He noticed a recurring pattern that many patients presented with weak abdominal and glute (buttocks) muscles and tight low back and hip flexor muscles. When looking at someone from a side view, the muscles involved in the insufficiency create an X as seen below in the image. This is the reasoning for the name, “Lower Crossed Syndrome.”

lower crossed syndrome postureThe progression of Lower Crossed Syndrome, can lead to difficulty with daily tasks, back pain, and other limitations. Reversing the tightness and weakness is relatively straightforward most of the time. As overused as the cliche, “movement is medicine” is, it remains true in the case of these muscle impairments. If you find yourself in a seated position for most of your day, start incorporating some standing and/or walking time as a start. From here you can build and incorporate some simple exercises. The exercises that can help the most with reversing this syndrome typically involve strengthening the abdominal muscles and gluteal muscles with other exercises focused on improving the lengthening of low back and hip flexor muscles. Everyone is different. Some exercises may not be appropriate for everyone so if you notice yourself sitting most of the day, or if you find your resting position looks like the picture above, schedule a free consultation with us to see what we can do to help.

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