Lower Cross Syndrome can really encompass many of the lower body impairments that can arise from the sedentary workplace. Low back pain, hip pain, and even knee pain can present as a symptom of Lower Cross Syndrome.
How can your posture cause Lower Cross Syndrome and what can you do to avoid this? We will dive into these questions. But first, we need to have a review of our anatomy.
What muscles are involved in Lower Crossed Syndrome?
As the name implies, Lower Crossed Syndrome involves muscles of the lower body in a crisscross pattern.
Your Erector Spinae, aka lumbar spine extensor muscles, and your Hip Flexors become stiff and tight. On the other hand, your Gluteus Maximus and your Abdominal muscles become weak and over stretched.
These are all very important muscles that are required to work during nearly every single daily activity. From walking, running, and squatting to sitting, driving, and rolling over in bed, and everything in between. So, if these major muscle groups are not working optimally, you will start to develop even more aches and pains, not just at work while you are sitting, but in everything else you do during the day.
How does Lower Cross Syndrome develop?
Yes, the answer is your posture. Poor posture can lead to Lower Cross Syndrome.
While most of us sit in the workplace, our hips and knees are both bent to 90 degrees of flexion. This position places our Hip Flexors in a shortened position. And, as we sit in this position for hours and hours each day, our will adaptively shorten, causing tightness.
To make matters worse, our Hip Flexor muscles actually attach to the front of our lumbar spine. So, we do not only feel tightness and pain in the front of our hips, but also in our low back. As the muscles pull on the front of the spine, it can create more stress and tension in the joints of the lumbar spine and even cause an increase in our lumbar lordosis, aka the curve of our low back.
As our low back is pulled into this increased lordosis, our low back extensor muscles, the Erector Spinae, are also placed in a shortened position and become tight and overworked. The tightening of these muscles only works to continue to accentuate the tightness of the Hip Flexors, causing a vicious cycle of tightness throughout the hips and low back.
But it does not stop there.
As we continue to sit for hours and hours, our Abdominal muscles and our Glutes actually become weak. This can simply happen due to the fact that we sit for prolonged periods of time and are not using these muscles to facilitate movement or to hold our bodies up into better postural alignment.
But these muscle groups can also become weaker due to the tightness and pulling of our tight Hip Flexors and Erector Spinae muscles.
Because of the attachment of these 2 muscles onto our pelvis, they actually pull our pelvis into an anteriorly rotated position. This tilt places a constant stretch on our Gluteus Maximus and our Abdominal muscles. As these muscles continue to be stretched over time, they become weaker and weaker as they are in a position of disadvantage.
What this means is that the muscle fibers are so stretched out that they cannot contract appropriately.
So many negative changes can happen to our body just by sitting for prolonged periods of time in bad posture. If you develop this unfortunate syndrome, you will most likely notice it first by experiencing low back pain or hip pain.
How to avoid, or recovery from, Lower Crossed Syndrome
Your best bet at avoiding Lower Crossed Syndrome is to improve your posture and to decrease your static sitting time. To aid in avoiding, or recovering from this syndrome, you may also want to work on stretching your low back and hips while strengthening your Glutes and Abdominals.
Unfortunately, sedentary workplaces are becoming the norm. While we may not be able to avoid sitting completely, we can sure do a heck of a lot better on improving our sitting posture.
One of the easiest and more effective ways to improve your sitting posture is through use of an active sitting chair.
Active sitting chairs are unique and offer a much better experience to office employees and desk users when compared to other types of chairs.
Active sitting refers to engaging muscles, especially of your core, while in a sitting position. Having the ability to use your core muscles and your lower leg muscles to help stay balanced and upright in a chair will decrease your risk of being stuck in a static, slumped position.
By being given the opportunity to use your muscles, not only will you avoid the inevitable weakness that occurs with disuse, but you will also be able to avoid the tightening of your hips and low back.
With the constant moving associated with active sitting, your hips will not be stuck in the 90 degrees of hip bend, you won’t be pulling your low back into more of a lordotic curve, and you won’t be tilting your pelvis constantly.
One of the best chairs on the market is the Symbiotic Chair. Not only is it very ergonomically friendly, but it is also an environmentally friendly chair.
Use of the Symbiotic Chair can help you avoid, or recover, from Lower Cross Syndrome. This means improved posture and no more back or hip pain. Therefore, this means a better work experience. And in turn, an overall better quality of life.
US based Doctor of Physical Therapy and Board Certified Orthopedic Specialist