Tag Archives: back pain

Lower Crossed Syndrome

Lower crossed syndrome is something I see -or a version of it- in almost every lower back patient I treat.

If one muscle is weak another muscle has to do more and becomes over worked. In turn becoming tight and painful. I’ve heard this about 1,000 times- “I keep stretching muscle ‘x’ but it’s always tight.” Maybe it’s not a stretching problem. It could be a strengthening problem. By strengthening the weak muscles you will help “turn off the overactive muscles”. I have not had a patient with chronic pain that had strong abdominal muscles. It’s a very common problem.

When the abdominal muscles are inactive and not supporting the spine, while the spinal erectors are pulling the lumbar spine forward, it results in something called hyperlordosis. This means that the spine in the lower back has an exaggerated curve, which can result in accelerated degeneration of the joints of the spine.

At the same time, the hip flexors are facilitated and are chronically tight while the gluteus muscles are inhibited and have reduced activation. This leaves the back muscles to do most of the work to extend the spine instead of the gluteus muscles keeping the pelvis level. The muscle of the back are good a stabilization and less effective as a prime mover. The overuse causes painful and tight muscles.

Treating a patient who has a lower cross syndrome, is three parts:

1) Chiropractic adjustments help improve spinal biomechanics 2)Then education on the correct exercise to strengthen weak muscle and stretches to the tight muscle. 3) Poor movement patterns will be addressed. Improving how a patient moves will help prevent injuries in the future.

If you think you’re suffering from lower crossed syndrome call the office today! We will get you on the road to recovery.

Can a short leg cause back pain?

Take a look at this x-ray. Can you see how uneven the pelvis is? This is caused by an anatomical short leg. The spine is showing signs of degeneration (arthritis) as well as the left hip.

Frontal x-ray taken standing. The left side is the low side. Posted with permission.

So can a short leg cause back pain? The answer is yes. I have seen this multiple times in my practice. There are two major causes of a short leg. One can be functional. A function can be from twisting of the pelvis or tight or weak muscles. An example of this would be standing in a hole with one leg. There is no difference in the bone length in the leg but the pelvis can be uneven. The second can be an anatomical. This occurs when the one of the leg bone is a different size then the corresponding one. Think of a table with one leg a shorter then the others. Both can be treated with chiropractic care and home exercise but the way they are treated is different.

This patient had an accident when he was young that effected his Tibia (shin bone). This causes one of his legs to become a different length and cause an uneven pelvis. Years of walking and daily actives with a severely uneven pelvis lead to arthritis, disc degeneration and chronic pain.

Posted with permission.
The left tibia is the one with injury. Posted with permission.

Things that happen to our legs/feet can effect our spine. The body is great at compensating until it can’t. A broken bone that heals shorter than the opposite one will lead to changes in how the body moves causing increased biomechanical stress leading to break down. The break down can be of the muscle, bone, cartilage or disc.

I want to thank the patient for permission to post these picture.