A large majority of patients in my office who complain of low back pain are usually suffering from the symptoms of Lower Cross Syndrome. You may not have heard of this syndrome before but it is very prevalent and should be given much consideration when dealing with low back pain.
I typically see this syndrome in low back pain patients who sit for long periods of time or are sedentary. This typically results from working at a desk, studying, driving, watching too much TV, etc. Sitting for long periods of time is one of the worst things we can do for our backs and our health. Long term sitting can result in muscle degeneration, back and neck pain, organ dysfunction, leg disorders and heart disease, just to name a few. When sitting some of our muscles deactivate (weaken) while others become tight. This creates an imbalance in our muscles which will alter our posture causing low back pain. We refer to this specific imbalance of the lower back, hips and legs as lower cross syndrome
Signs of Lower Cross Syndrome - patients may present with 1 or more of the following:
What is Lower Cross Syndrome
Lower Cross Syndrome is an imbalance in the core stabilizing muscles. The imbalance is created by some muscles being weak and some muscles being tight. Patients with this imbalance will have weak abdominal and glute muscles with tight low back and hip muscles.
Imbalances in our core stabilizing muscles can cause us a lot of trouble and pain. When some muscles are weak and others are tight, our low back and hips (pelvis) are pulled into an unhealthy posture. The hips rotate forward which compresses the low back joints, creating chronic low back pain (typically at L4/L5, L5/Sacrum, SI Joints) and increased lumbar curvature.
As you can see, the tight low back muscles cause the back to hyperextend which compresses the joints of the spine. This can result in pain, nerve irritation and, if left untreated, can cause long term conditions such as arthritis, disc degeneration, disc herniations and spondylosis (abnormal positioning of a vertebra/spinal bone).
This altered posture can also result in hip and knee pain. The legs attach to the hips and in the altered posture both are pulled out of their normal positions. This creates abnormal stress in the hips and knees, which, can result in pain and uneven wear and tear on the joints.
How To Correct This Imbalance:
In order to correct this muscle imbalance we must strengthen the weak muscles and stretch the tight muscles.
By Dr. Keri Linane
Montclair Oakland, Ca Chiropractor