Have you ever heard of lower cross syndrome? It is a common disorder in the people who sit for a longer period of time. Sitting more often than not can lead to the shortening of hip flexor muscle which is one of the reasons of this syndrome.
Most of the athletes who don’t sit regularly can suffer from this syndrome because of severe exercise and training. Even if you are a gym lover and you do the wrong kind of exercise, chances are there that you may suffer from lower cross syndrome.
How can we define LCS (lower cross syndrome)?
It can be characterized by an anterior tilt to the pelvis. It is one of the most painful and common compensatory patterns the patient has to go through. Due to poor lifestyle, this syndrome is increasing day by day.
What are the symptoms of LCS?
Weak abdominal and gluteal muscles along with tight iliopsoas and erector spinae muscles are the symptoms of LCS. Due to these symptoms, the patient may have a forward head posture or flat gluteal.
What is the testing of LCS?
In order to test patients with LCS, make them stand against the wall with the heels touching the wall. Make sure to flatten the lower back to the wall without allowing the pelvis or shoulders to leave the wall. Make sure to raise your arms without touching the wall. If you fail to touch the wall with your arms, you may be a patient of LCS.
There is another way of testing your LCS. Make sure to sit on the floor without letting your feet touch the ground. Allow your knee to raise above your chest and make sure to hold it there. Allow yourself to lay in this position. If you don’t lay in the position without hanging your legs in a horizontal fashion, you may be suffering from the lower cross syndrome.
How to treat Lower cross syndrome?
We can term the treatment of LCS as a two-stage process. First, you can allow to loosen your tight iliopsoas and erector spinae muscle. Second, you can strengthen the abdominal and gluteal muscles.
Having a physical therapist can make your get rid of LCS at will – the therapist who can test your underlaying conditions by giving you a recommendation about customized stretching and strengthening. Shall we discuss two steps in detail?
Slacken the tight cross: First and much-required priority is to loosen the tight area of the cross. With the help of loosening your tight cross, you can get rid of your pain and discomfort. Moreover, this practice allows the body to be responsive to strengthen the weak area of your cross.
Doing strengthening exercises can make the situation even worse for the patient rather than treating it. A foam rolling exercise is the best technique you can use in order to loosen your tight cross. You can do floor exercise in order to stretch your lumbar spinae, hips joints, and pelvis.
Strengthen the weak cross: Strengthening the weak cross like abdominal and gluteal is not as easy as doing squats and other usual exercises. In order to treat LCS, stabilization muscles need a great amount of attention. Hip raise can increase the strengthening of your abdominal and gluteal muscles.
Another thing you can do is lay on the back with flat feet. Give pressure on your heels by raising your toes slightly. Keep on raising your hip until the knee, hips, and mid-back makes a straight line. Hold there for no more than 2 seconds and repeat this exercise 12-15 times to treat the lower cross syndrome.
Effective techniques to treat the lower cross syndrome
There are some therapies available to get rid of LCS and some of them are myofascial release, friction massage, and active release technique. With the help of these therapies, you can avoid any sort of muscle pain and discomfort. These therapies can help you recover your gluteal muscles, abdominals, hamstrings, hip flexors, calf, lower back, quadriceps, and more.
Myofascial release: Myofascial release is a therapy used most often than not for patients having LCS. This therapy reduces pain by releasing the tension from the trigger points. In most cases, trigger points are the reasons of the pain as far as LCS is concerned. Myofascial release therapy involves covering a muscle or a tissue rather than covering a single point.
Hip cushion for posture correction: Lower cross syndrome is an issue increasing day by day. Those of you who are suffering from lower cross syndrome can use hip cushion for posture Correction in order to treat it.
By using this cushion, you will be able to maintain good posture and the natural curve of your spine. It has an ergonomic, dual-cushion design that helps increasing the blood flow and prevent lower back pain.
Active release technique: It is a therapy that involves the treatment of soft body tissues by appropriate movement and handling. This therapy has been practicing for more than 30 years to treat the lower back syndrome. All the problems and issues related to muscles, ligaments, tendons and nerves can be treated effectively by ART.
Acupuncture treatment: Providing acupuncture to patients can also heal the pain of the body as well as of muscles. In this treatment, there is a great energy flow that helps to repair the tissues and muscles. This flow of energy makes this approach customized and best for the patients having LCS. Patients are suggested to have complete acupuncture sessions in order to avoid lower cross syndrome.
All these approaches can be the best therapies and treatments for LCS patients because these are focused on the weakened muscles of the body like glutes and abs. This syndrome can be devastating for the patients because of the amount of pain one has to bear. Using these therapies and techniques can clear out lower cross syndrome.
What is physical therapy management for the treatment of lower cross syndrome?
In order to ward off LCS, proper stretching will be required. Strengthening may increase the existing tightness, which is why it is not suggested to get rid of tightness. Stretching of the muscles in the right manner can result in improved strength of inhibited antagonistic muscles.
Involving the soft tissue approaches can get the job done at will as far as LCS is concerned. Stretching the muscle for no more than 15 seconds can give positive results. Do the 15 seconds stretching for a week, and you will be astonished to see the results.
Iliopsoas stretch: In order to practice this, the patient has to be in the Thomas position. In this sort of a stretch, the side which is non-stretched is allowed to flexed maximally in order to stabilize the pelvis. Because of the tightness of the iliopsoas, the other leg is allowed to be in a flexed position. Make sure to remain in this position for 15 seconds.
In order to get instant results, you can bend the knee more than 90° during the iliopsoas stretch. Doing this will integrate the rectus femoris into the stretch.
Erector spinae stretch: Patient has to lie in the fetal position. Knees should be touching the chest while arms must be wrapped around the knees. In order to get rid of LCS, exhale in this position and stretch too. Maintain this stretching technique for 15 seconds.
The basic purpose of these stretches is to identifying the weakened and shortened structures. Once these are identified, it will be all about normalizing the dysfunctional status.
What are the sedentary consequences?
This is a modern world and people don’t have to do lots of movement in order to perform certain tasks. These days, people are more likely to sit for a longer period of time and this sedentary lifestyle has resulted in two things; the weak muscles have weakened a lot and the short muscles have shortened a lot. Due to this imbalance, the joint malalignment is increasing day by day. Back pain can be devastating at times, if not treated properly.
As far as the lower cross syndrome is concerned, pain and discomfort from this posture go on and on. Due to this pain, there are chances of pain in the knees as well as in the hamstrings. Pressure exerts largely on the flexor complex, gluteal, and adductor complex.
Lower cross syndrome: Assessments and observations
Here are some of the observations and assessments in terms of the lower cross syndrome:
The increased lower-back arch as arms rises during the assessment.
During squats, patients descend. This results in an increase of lower-back arch.
During the descent, excessive forward lean happens.
Trunk rotation as a result of forwarding lean during single-leg squat
Increase in the lower-back arch due to pushups
Hip dropping to the floor
The therapies like soft tissue manipulation, stretching, myofascial release, and Erector spinae stretch can be useful for the lower cross syndrome. These are the conditions that are applied to loosen the tight muscle to avoid any sort of tension and stress from the back.
In order to get rid of the lower cross syndrome, the muscles need to be strengthened. The patients who are suffering from this situation are advised to have a personal trainer (experienced one), or a yoga therapist to suggest them the exercise that can strengthen the muscles. So, are you ready to start treating your lower cross syndrome right now?