Lower crossed syndrome (LCS) also known as distal or pelvic crossed syndrome refers to the tightness of the thoracolumbar extensors and hip flexors muscles crossing with tightness of the iliopsoas and rectus femoris. Weakness of the deep abdominal muscles ventrally crosses with weakness of the gluteus maximus and medius. This posture creates a joint dysfunction particularly at the lower portion of the body.
In LCS there is over activity and hence tightness of hip flexors and lumbar extensors. Along with this there is underactivity and weakness of the deep abdominal muscles on the ventral side and of the gluteus maximus and medius on the dorsal side. The hamstrings are frequently found to be tight in this syndrome as well. This imbalance results in an anterior tilt of the pelvis, increased flexion of the hips, and a compensatory hyperlordosis in the lumbar spine.
Symptoms of lower cross syndrome
The most experienced symptom of LCS is pain and tightness of the lower back. Untreated LCS can lead to injuries to the joints, followed by degeneration in the spine and hips which ultimately impede muscle strength, flexibility and range of motion with pain in the lower back and hips.
Causes of Lower Crossed Syndrome
- Bad posture
- Prolonged Sitting
- Wrong and bad postures during sports and training
- Wearing of high heel for long periods of time
Recommended Exercise for lower cross syndrome
Stage 1: Warm Up and Relaxation
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and the feet flat on the mat and hip-width apart. Place the arms by your sides with the palms facing down. Focus inward, and consciously relax the neck, shoulders, and lower back muscles while maintaining a neutral pelvic position.
- Exhale. Draw the abdominal wall inward, and slowly curl the pelvis and lower, middle, and upper back sequentially off the mat.
- Inhale. Lift the upper trunk slightly higher to form a straight line on the side of the body running through the shoulder, pelvis, and knee as shown in the main muscle illustration.
- Exhale. Slowly lower the trunk, articulating each vertebra, to return to the start position. Repeat the sequence 10 times.
Stage 2: Hip Work
- Lie face down with hands behind head, knees bent and slightly turned out, feet flexed, and heels pressed together.
- Extend spine, lifting chest and thighs off the floor, reaching arms back to legs, pulling heels closer in towards body (keep heels pressed together).
- Return to start. Repeat x 20
Stage 3: Stretches
Hip flexor stretch:
- Starting from a lunge position, place your hand on wall for balance.
- Keep body in upright position and reach to the back foot, gently lifting it off the ground to feel a stretch at the front of the thigh. If knee is sore on the floor, rest it on a rolled up towel or yoga mat.
- Repeat x 3 both sides
- Start in a kneeling lunge position
- Place one hand next to your front foot, and lift the opposite hand straight up
- Repeat x 3
Lying Knee-to-chest stretch:
- Lie on your back and keep one leg flat on the ground.
- Use your hands to bring your other knee into your chest.
Kelvin enjoys taking part in health and fitness activities, and while not exercising, enjoys writing about health and fitness