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Low Back Pain? It could be Lower Cross Syndrome

Updated: Aug 30, 2023

Hey Dr. McNamara here at McLaughlin Care and I'm coming at you with the Wellness Wednesday. Today we're going to talk about lower cross syndrome. So a couple of weeks ago, I talked about upper cross with the rounded shoulders, lower cross is when you have what's called an anterior pelvic tilt. So your pelvis rolls anterior, kind of causes your belly to stick out and you're scrunching up your low back like that.

So what we find when we see these kind of patients is they'll have really tight muscles that have these really tight QL muscles and paraspinal muscles. Their hip flexors will be really tight because of that tilt. So shortening that muscle constantly we'll have weak glutes, really tight hips as well. What happens is when we're in that position is it's causing certain muscles in the back to shorten as well as the hip flexors to shorten in the legs.

It's also causing compression of these Fossette joints in the back, and that can cause a lot of pain. So if you're experiencing low back pain and you notice you have a posture like this, you're going to want to try these exercises. I'm going to show you because it's going to correct that lower cross syndrome. So the first one we're going to do is a little bit of stretching.

Now we want to stretch the hip flexors and the QLs, because those are the tightest muscles. For the hip flexors what we want to do is you can do a simple lunge stretch, I'm showing the right hip flexor right now, where you're just going to lean into the stretch. You'll start feeling it in the hip. If you want a little bit more out of it, you can lift up the arm and then kind of rotate the opposite direction, and you'll feel that really good in that hip.

Another stretch I like to show all my patients, because it's really easy, is the couch stretch. Now pretend this weight-lifting bench is a couch, I'm going to put my knee on it just as I did it on the ground, and I'm going to lunge into that stretch. Now this stretch is really easy because you can just do it while watching TV. This is my fake remote I'm using to change the channel or fast forward rewind, whatever. So that's the first stretch, the hip flexor stretch.

The next stretch I'm going to show you and I'm going to use this door right here is a QL stretch. For this one you want to grab the side of the door and make your body kind of a C shape or banana shape, whatever you can imagine and then push those hips out. So you're feeling that stretch all in that side body, right there, those QL muscles from the ribs to the pelvis and that feels great. Give that stretch a try, and then we got some other exercises we're going to do.

The first one is a cat cow exercise. This is popular in yoga. What you're going to do is you're going to let the belly kind of drop and compress and then you're going to be opposite motion or you're going to flection. That's really going to mobilize those joints in the low back and increase that range of motion. Do about three to five sets of 10 to 15 reps on those.

For the next exercise, it's a bird dog. So what you're going to do here is hands underneath the shoulders, knees underneath the hips and your going to extend the opposite arm, opposite leg, focused on keeping that core tight and those glutes engaged. So then you'll just switch to the opposite side, and again, three to five sets, 10 to 15 reps.

The next exercise I have are called dead bugs. So for this, I like to use an exercise ball, but you can do it without one that's totally fine. But this exercise ball is a little bit more resistance. So with this it's the opposite of the bird dog, your going to be laying face up. I like to pin the ball of my elbow and my knee and push so I could really engage my core.

Then you go up, i'm already starting to breath heavy because this one's pretty tough. Just like that, it's a really good core exercise.

The next exercise that we're going to do is called the glute bridge. For the glute bridge, make your feet planted underneath the knees, and then all your going to do is you're gonna make a little bridge with your body by contracting the glutes and putting the pelvis forward, using gravity as a resistance. That's a simple but effective exercise, again, three to five sets, 10 to 15 reps.

Last but not least, i'm going to show you the monster walk. Now, if you've been to our office and you've done exercise with me, I've probably made you do these. So for these, we're going to focus on strengthening those hips and glutes. So we want to have the band above the knee, you want to spread your legs out wide, and all you're going to do is just walk. You're going to walk forward, then backward, and you're going to also go side to side, just do about 10 steps each direction and do about a couple sets of those.

But if you do these exercise, you'll get that pelvis from this position, to straighten those glutes, straighten that core. So we can get it into that nice stable position and reduce that low back pain, increase our function, and be healthier. So that's all I have for you today, Dr. McNamara out.

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