Firstly, the word 'syndrome' makes it sound a bit gnarly. A syndrome is just a group of symptoms that consistently occur together, or a condition characterised by a set of associated symptoms. Why I love Lower-Crossed Syndrome (LCS) is it serves as an easy platform to not only explain to patients what is contributing to their lower back or hip pain, but also explains exactly what they need to do rehab the issues and return to pain free and fully functional.
Why Bother Discussing LCS?
Well, firstly it’s the cause for the majority of the non-specific lower back pain that we see coming through the clinic. Secondly, it is VERY manageable and preventable. So many people put themselves in the category of have a “bad back” when in reality if the properly address this issue you can fully resolve lower back issues.
So, What is LCS?
Quite simply LCS occurs when tightness in the hip flexors (at the front) crosses with tightness in the thoracolumbar extensors (at the back) while weakness in the deep abdominal muscles (at the front) crosses with weakness in the gluteus maximus and medius muscles (at the back). The result is excessive anterior pelvic tilt in the standing position (increased arch in lower back).
I put down the prevalence of this issue down to the fact that the majority of us spend far too much time sitting, and not doing enough to counteract this. On top of this, poor technique and further strength imbalances can exacerbate the issue.
Although this most commonly results in lower back pain, because it changes the way we load our legs during squats/lunges/steps etc it can also contribute to hip, knee and ankle pain so it’s important to screen and address this issue.
How to Prevent and Treat LCS?
Regular mobility work. Improve length of tight musculature, focusing on the hip flexors and thoracolumbar extensors.
Improving postural awareness by practicing pelvic tilts in various positions, progressing to doing it comfortably in the standing position.
Learn to move by hinging at your hips instead of your lower back.
Perform multi-joint movements (squats/deadlifts/lunges) with good technique. Most people hyperextend their lumber spine when doing these movements. Start with very low resistance and get guidance from a GOOD personal trainer or physio who has experience in this area.
Make sure you are paying attention to your posture during everyday activities (standing,sitting etc) to avoid undoing all your hard work with mobility and strength.
Still need some help? Book in today to see one of our physio's to chat all things LCS and more! Click here to book online, or call us on (08) 9448 2994