Lower Cross Syndrome
Looking slimmer just by changing your posture?
Do you notice that you look slimmer in the mirror whenever you stand up straight with your stomach tucked in? Despite it being a “cheat move”, what actually happens is abdominal muscles contracting, pulling the pelvis back into a neutral position, giving the illusion of a flat belly.
The pelvic girdle connects the lower back (lumbar spine) and lower limbs and is commonly known as our hip bone. A forward tilt (also known as anterior tilt) of the pelvis would lead to a postural dysfunction called Anterior Pelvic Tilt lower crossed syndrome. It is presented as an excessive forward curve in the lower back known as hyperlordosis and an obvious protrusion for the buttocks as well as the dreaded lower belly. This results in an imbalance of muscles connected to the pelvis involving tight and weak muscles that work in a crossed pattern. People who present with an anterior pelvic tilt might also experience low back pain as a result of tightness in the lumbar extensor muscles. A lack of neutral alignment in the spine can often lead to a chain of issues moving downwards such as an overstretching of the hamstrings, tightness in the hip flexors and a lack of activation in the buttock muscles.
With the problematic components laid out, stretching out muscles that are hyperactive and activating the inhibited ones is the way to go.
Hip Flexor Stretch
Abdominal Muscles Strengthening
An important point to note in terms of activating the abdominals is that emphasis should be placed on the LOWER abdominals instead of clenching the upper portions. It is a subtle movement that most people have difficulty performing but since it comes with posterior pelvic tilt, focusing on flattening the lower back helps activate the correct muscles.
While stretching and strengthening are on-going, awareness of one’s daily posture at work or even during leisure is equally important. Imagine doing these exercises for 30-60 minutes per day and being back in the compensatory posture for the rest of the day, effects would be minimal. Hence, practices done during rehabilitation should be brought over into everyday life.
Pelvic is anteriorly tilted
Pelvic is posteriorly tilted (neutral pelvis)
For those eager to delve deeper into this topic, check out also our past post on how breathing helps with core stability!
Key J. The Pelvic Crossed Syndromes: A reflection of imbalanced function in the myofascial envelope; a further exploration of Janda's work. Journal of bodywork and movement therapies. 2010 July;14:299-301
Roberts, J., & Wilson, K. (1999). Effect of stretching duration on active and passive range of motion in the lower extremity. Br J Sports Med , 259-263.fckLR