Lower-cross syndrome is the term for a pattern of muscular imbalance around the lower back and hips. There are two types A & B with the more common type, Type A depicted above.

LCS is tightness of the thoraco-lumbar extensors (Erector Spinea) in the lower back, rectus femoris (Quad) and the iliopsoas (Hip Flexor). The hip flexor attaches from the lower lumbar vertebrae and passes to the front of the hip.

This pattern of tightness is contrasted by weakness of the abdominal muscles in particular the transversus abdominus and the gluteal muscles of the bum.

This muscle imbalance can create joint dysfunction at points within the spine and it also create postural changes. Areas affected in the spine are the lower lumbar joints such as L4-L5, L5-S1 segments and SI joints of the pelvis and the hip joint.

Some of the symptoms can be poor postural pattern, low back pain, hip joint dysfunction and restricted hamstrings, to name a few. It is important to look at a clients history, people who sit for long periods of time can suffer from shorten hip flexors and weak abdominal muscles, similarly those that cycle a lot may also suffer from tight hip flexors due to overuse and lack of stretching.

The most common result of LCS are postural changes such as anterior pelvic tilt, where the pelvis tilts forward, increased lumbar lordosis (the spinal curve of your low back), lateral lumbar shift, lateral leg rotation (outwards rotation), and knee hyperextension.

Once a group of muscles become tight and short, the opposite muscle groups become weakened. This starts a negative feedback cycle that with no intervention can compound the muscle imbalance. Treatment will focus on releasing out the tight muscle groups and strengthening the weaker muscles, this is done through hands on treatment techniques and corrective strengthening exercises to restore the muscle imbalance and postural issues.

If you think you are suffering from Lower Cross Syndrome contact Range of Motion Physical Therapy for an assessment.

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