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Do you suffer from Lower Cross Syndrome?

November 5, 2010

In a previous post I discussed Upper Cross Syndrome (UCS), its detrimental effects on productivity, and strategies to relieve and prevent this postural disorder affecting business professionals around the world. Today the discussion will focus around UCS’s partner in crime, Lower Cross Syndrome (LCS). While UCS predominantly deals the upper half of the body, LCS affects the lower half. Both, however, lead to productivity hindrances that can be easily avoided through the implementation of proactive lifestyles.

LCS affects the lower kinetic chain of the body, primarily the hips, knees, and ankles. Since the posture of the upper body is ultimately affected by the positioning of the hips, LCS could plausibly be considered more important than UCS in terms of postural deviations that lead to symptomatic pain.

LCS is characterized by calve, quadriceps, and hip flexors that are shortened and tight, coupled with glutes and core musculature that are elongated and weak. One deviation that arises as a result of this muscular imbalance is an anterior tilt of the pelvis. This postural distortion makes it look like your butt is sticking out as the front part of your hips actually tilts downward towards the floor.

LCS also typically makes an individual walk with their feet turned out. As a result of this forward slant of the pelvis, the glutes become elongated to the point where they are unable to contract properly. The inhibition of glute activation causes a loss of function in the musculature around the hips.

Like UCS, one of the first symptoms to LCS is lower back pain. This is why it is common practice for fitness professionals to address both UCS and LCS simultaneously, as they both affect similar parts of the body.

Lower back pain due to LCS is typically caused by dysfunctional glutes and tightness in the hips, which differs from the immobile thoracic spine characteristic of UCS. Additionally, LCS can also create knee pain as a result of overly tight quadriceps muscles acting upon the knee coupled with immobility of the hips.

The sole aim of strategies for solving UCS is returning the body back into an upright posture. This is accomplished through a combination of massaging, stretching, and strengthening. Follow this quick template for some much needed relaxation and relief from postural pain:

1.    Massage: Choosing between a massage or performing self-massage techniques does not matter in this case as long as the focus is placed on improving the muscle tissue quality of the muscles involved in LCS. Extensive focus should be placed on calves, quadriceps, and IT-band.

2.    Stretch: Once some of the tightness is removed from the muscles involved in LCS, it is important to stretch them through their optimal range of motion. Focus extensively on stretching the calves, hamstrings and especially the hips as their function is drastically altered during prolonged hours of seated work.

3.    Strengthening: The last and most important part of the equation is to strengthen the muscles that help support the body and keep it protected from LCS. This is done by focusing on strengthening possibly the most important musculature of the human body: The core and glutes.

Luke Sniewski currently works as a CPA as well as a Fitness Consultant. He works by weaving the health and wellness world with the business professional world. Working with companies and business professionals, his organization, LEAF, teaches the PAIN CPE course series that aims to improve the overall quality of life through the implementation of proactive lifestyles. Visit for more details.

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