Let’s talk about lower and upper cross syndromes. What are these? They are syndromes with various complications that can wreak havoc on the average person. Cross syndromes can decrease strength, flexibility, range of motion and lead to further degenerative processes (wearing down of the body – arthritis, etc.). Upper cross syndrome refers to the upper part of the body, namely the neck/upper back/chest/shoulder areas. Lower cross syndrome refers to the lower part of the body surrounding the pelvis/lower back/abdominal/upper thigh areas.
What happens in both syndromes is that several muscle groups have become shorter and tighter. Other muscle groups have become weakened as a result of the previously mentioned tight muscles. These problem areas then start a bad cycle. They each get worse, making the other worse also. Meaning more tight muscles and increased weak muscles. Unless this cycle is halted, they will start to change the composition. They will also change the integrity of the surrounding joints, muscles, cartilage, nervous structures and other tissues. This means osteoarthritis (aging or degenerative arthritis) can rear its ugly head.
What Are Problems Associated with Cross Syndrome?
- Trigger points and fibromyalgia
- Ache or burning in the shoulders
- Pins and needles, or other referred symptoms into the arms and hands
- Rotator cuff strains and other shoulder problems
- Breathing disturbances including Asthma
- Emotional and psychological conditions such as depression
- Migraines and tension headaches
- Digestive disturbances, bowel problems, kidney and menstrual dysfunction due to circulation failures
- Allergies and weak immune function, such as Candida infections etc.
What Can Be Done About It?
As you might imagine, one of the aims of treating such conditions would be to try and balance some of the opposing muscle groups and tight or restricted joints/bones. Imbalances almost always require stretching one thing while strengthening the other.
Upper Cross Syndrome
Upper Cross Syndrome is often caused by chronic bad posture. And is signified by rounded shoulders, head in front of the body and an apparent curve in the neck and upper back. As a result, the pectoral and neck muscles tighten. And the neck, shoulder, and upper back joints become restricted. The culprits are the trapezius and levator scapula (which help raise and lower the shoulder blades), the pectoralis major and minor (in your chest), and the sternocleidomastoid (the bulging muscles along the side of your neck).
Make sure to:
- Stretch the pectoral muscles
- Stretch the upper back muscles
- Strengthen the middle back
- Strengthen the rear shoulder muscles
For more Upper Cross Syndrome stretches, please visit this link.
Lower Cross Syndrome
Lower Cross Syndrome is an imbalance of tight and weak structures around the pelvis, hips, and lower back. This imbalance can cause pain and dysfunction and an over-arching of the lower back. Lower crossed syndrome (also referred to as distal or pelvic cross syndrome) is a combination of weak glutes, weak abdominals, tight hip flexors, and a tight lower back.
Make sure to:
- Strengthen: the gluteal muscles, the abdominal muscles, and the hamstrings
- Stretch: the hip flexor muscles, the quadriceps muscles, the calf muscles, and the low back muscles
Exercises and mobility drills are aimed at treating Upper Cross Syndrome and Lower Cross Syndrome may improve your physical appearance, as they will help you achieve a better posture!
Causes of Cross Syndrome Include:
- Prolonged sitting, particularly with bad posture
- Physical inactivity
- Regular performance of sports and activities that involve an uneven stimulation of muscles
- Poor exercise technique
- Imbalanced strength training
- Genetic predispositions
Common Signs and Symptoms:
- Anterior Pelvic Tilt (APT). While a certain degree of APT is perfectly normal, excessive APT leads to poor exercise technique and increased risk of knee pain, lower back pain/injuries, and other musculoskeletal disorders that run rampant in the modern world.
- Increased lower back curve (sway back)
- “Bulging” (not necessarily fat) abdomen
- Knee hyperextension
- Lower back pain
Relief Through Chiropractic Care
This information can help, but they will not be the cure to your cross syndrome woes. Proper postural alignment takes time and practice. For further consultation and an adjustment, contact us today to schedule an introductory chiropractic session. We can discuss your work routine and postural alignment needs as part of my initial chiropractic workup for you as a new patient to our practice.
And for more information on spinal inflammation, come and check out Zock Family Chiropractic’s first ever Fall Wellness Fair. The event will take place on the evening of Thursday, November 8th. From 6:30 – 8:00 PM. You’ll learn about all things fall wellness including essential oils to reduce inflammation, food and supplements to reduce inflammation and aid in digestion, and juicing for a body detox! Just for coming, enjoy 10% off featured supplements and essential oils and an entry into winning a door prize! But make sure to register for early sitting. Seating is limited! You won’t want to miss it!