Lower Cross Syndrome is a term that not everyone is familiar with and goes hand in hand with pelvic floor dysfunction. If pelvic floor dysfunction was the name of a book, lower cross syndrome would be a chapter of that book! I strongly suggest you look through my blogs related to pelvic floor dysfunction to see what other pelvic floor dysfunction symptoms and signs you may be experiencing. In this blog, I will be talking about:
- What is Lower Cross Syndrome
- What causes Lower Cross Syndrome
- Can Lower Cross Syndrome be fixed
- How to fix Lower Cross Syndrome
What is Lower Cross Syndrome?
The term Lower Cross Syndrome (LCS) was first introduced by Dr. Vladimir Janda whom I had the privilege of attending lectures with back in my college years. He was an orthopedist from Prague, the Mecca of human movements.
Lower Cross Syndrome is the postural imbalance in the lower extremities and pelvis as a result of lifestyle, injuries, and habits. It is presented by weak abdominals crossing over to the weak Glutes, coupled by hyperactive lower mid-back and lower back muscles crossing over to the hyperactive hip flexors. So it is hyperactive on top of weak in the back part of the body, flipped to weak on top of hyperactive in the front of the body in the pelvis and lower extremities portion of the body! Untreated or poorly treated Lower Cross Syndrome will lead to Layered Syndrome also known as Upper and Lower Cross Syndrome that you can read about in another blog I wrote on the subject.
What Causes Lower Cross Syndrome?
With the exception of rare congenital presentations in the spine and hips that can start a downward spiral of imbalance in the posture, Lower Cross Syndrome is the outcome of poor posture, lifestyle, habits, and injuries in the lower back, hips, pelvis, lower mid-back and poor breathing! If you read my blog on Pelvic Floor Dysfunction, you will see that these are the same exact areas that are involved in Pelvic Floor Dysfunction and one of the many faces it shows up as.
We can no longer look at posture as a sign (or lack of ) beauty and esthetics. Posture is a reflection of your health and movement and Lower Cross Syndrome is a telltale sign that you are not moving right. You see, if movement was a concert, your body parts are the musicians and in a concert, not only do the musicians need to know their part but need to know when to chime in and phase out.
In Lower Cross Syndrome and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction for that matter, the muscles that hold and support the pelvis are not in sync with each other and the rest of the body, and therefore initially the imbalance is seen in the lower portion of the body that over time goes to the upper part of the body (compensation and attempt to make you still move and do your daily wishes) leading to Layered Syndrome.
Can Lower Cross Syndrome Be Fixed?
It depends and in most cases the answer is YES! Since Lower Cross Syndrome is the presentation of muscular and postural imbalance in the lower part of the body, these imbalances in most cases can be reversed with diligent and strategic approaches barring any damages that are not reversible!
Let me explain here: in most cases of Lower Cross Syndrome AND Pelvic Floor Dysfunction, the diagnosis is not made right away and the patient is chopped into pieces (different symptoms that show up) as if those are the main diagnosis. In other words, the big picture gets missed and THAT is always the leading cause of misdiagnosis.
How to Fix LCS and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?
To address the issue of Lower Cross Syndrome and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction, we need to do the following:
Postural Neurology Exam:
To understand the map of the posture, movement, and balance that you are born with which gets detailed especially in the first 2 years of your life. To learn more, I suggest you read what I wrote about Postural Neurology.
Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS):
We know how babies, regardless of where they are from go through the same developmental stages of movement. This is the ‘software’ we are born with that babies simply follow automatically without knowing what they are doing. This is how the muscles and soft tissues learn what their role is, when and in what order they need to perform. This is how the work of Dr. Vladimir Janda is addressed. Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization is sampled after studying babies and their movements, how they move around and what parts of the body are stabilized while the extremities perform, and more. After all, all babies go from full dependence in movement to full independence without any weights, bands, gyms, or coaching.
The first thing that happens when we are born is to take a breath but we don’t realize how many actions and functions in the body are reinforced by each breath. If they are to be reinforced that often, then it is reasonable to conclude that those functions are THAT important and critical.
Your breath, when done correctly and based on how we are wired to do absolutely play a critical role in reinforcing proper posture, alignment, and positioning of your body so the muscles (without anything else interfering with their proper function) get the proper clues to chime in and phase out in movement. This goes back to the concert analogy I discussed earlier in the blog. The question then is what is proper breathing which I discuss in the video below:
This is foundational to all treatments of the musculoskeletal system including Pelvic Floor Dysfunction and Lower Cross Syndrome.
Pelvic Floor Muscle Tension:
Assessing the pelvic floor tension does not have to be done internally and even in cases where it would be better to look into the area internally, you are never forced to do so. In fact, to an astute provider, the external presentations give plenty of clues to the internal state of the pelvic floor muscles. To understand where the pelvic floor is, I suggest you read my blog on the subject. Treatment for tense pelvic floor muscles varies as sometimes the tension leads to weakness and at times, it leads to spasm.
With spastic pelvic floor muscles, essentially the only way to resolve that component of the pelvic floor dysfunction, we have no choice but to go internally and then, perform ART of the skeletal muscles by asking the patient to perform the given muscle’s tasks. This does not get done as often and it seems that in most cases of internal pelvic floor treatment, it is only the massage of those muscles that is the focus.
With weakness in the pelvic floor, in addition to the focus on breathing and DNS as mentioned above, Kegel exercises by the Emsella Chair is my go-to suggestion.
Lower Cross Syndrome and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction go hand in hand and unless you address all aspects of the syndrome and dysfunction, the true resolution is never achieved.
If you find yourself in need of help and if the benefits of your previous pelvic floor dysfunction treatments have not been long-lasting, contact me.