Lower Crossed Syndrome

Bryan Lang

Author: Bryan Lang, PT, DPT, MHA, CSCS, Cert.DN: Doctor of Physical Therapy, Business Owner, Associate Professor, and Blog Contributor. Explores common client questions, helps find solutions for every day functional health concerns, and interprets difficult theories in healthcare rehabilitation. Committed to life-long learning and education. Learn moe about Bryan on Google+ .

What is Lower Crossed Syndrome

Lower Crossed Syndrome

Lower Crossed Syndrome is a combination of tightness in the thoracolumbar extensors (low back muscles) and the iliopsoas and rectus femoris (the hip flexors).

This syndrome also includes weakness in the deep abdominal muscles, and weakness in the gluteus maximus and medius (your buttock muscles).

Common Signs and Symptoms

  • Excessive anterior pelvic tilt of the ilium.

  • Sway back. Excessive curve in the low back (usually coupled with excessive anterior pelvic tilt).

  • A distended stomach. Since the back is arched more, it looks as though the stomach is distended, when it it not necessarily because of increased abdominal fat tissue.

  • Knee hypextension. Knee hypextension is good to have, but it can increase susceptibility to Lower Crossed Syndrome in some cases due to postural alignment

  • Low back pain. This can be due to excessive tightness in the low back muscles coupled with decrease core strength in the abdominals and glutes.

  • Decreased ankle dorsiflexion. This can be a result or a contributing factor to Lower Crossed Syndrome because of the changes decreased ankle mobility has in postural alignment.

How do you fix it?

Stretch the tight muscles and strengthen the weak muscles. This processes can be difficult for someone with Lower Crossed Syndrome given the fact that the muscles to strengthen are weak because they are already in an overstretched position and thus can't perform exercises optimally (at first). Additionally, the muscles that are tight may be difficult to stretch because of the discomfort in doing so. One must be patient and consistent with doing their exercises over months.  Changing these muscle patterns will result in changing poor postural habits associated with them as well. 

Where to start?

Go to a movement specialist like a physical therapist. It's very difficult to self diagnose yourself with Lower Crossed Syndrome. However, a medical professional can perform tests and measures and perform video analysis to confirm the presence of Lower Crossed Syndrome. As mentioned before, exercises can be difficult at first to do properly, so a physical therapist can be crucial in assessing and adjusting exercises as needed based on the performance of the movement.