Lower Cross Syndrome: More than Bad Posture

Sitting for long periods of time in our daily lives has lead to a shortening of our hip flexor muscles over time.  Even athletes who do not spend much of their day sitting can have trouble with their lower back if they perform an exercise incorrectly over time or overwork certain areas of their body. If pain in your lower back and hips is slowing you down, perhaps you are suffering from Lower Crossed Syndrome (LCS).  LCS occurs when weak abdominal and gluteal muscles are combined with tight iliopsoas and erector spinae muscles, forming a cross when a person is standing sideways.  This can sometimes lead to having a forward head posture and flat gluteals or even protruding gluteals and a protruding abdomen.  How do you know if you have LCS?  There are two simple, at-home tests you can perform.

Testing for LCS

First, stand with your back against the wall with your heels touching the wall.  Try to flatten your lower back to the wall without letting your pelvis or shoulders leave the wall.  Then, without moving your back, raise your arms above your head to touch the wall.  If you cannot touch the wall with your arms while maintaining your posture, you may have LCS.

Second, sit on a table or other flat surface with your feet touching the floor.  Raise your knee to your chest and hold it there with your hands and slowly roll onto your back on the table, leaving your other foot on the floor.  If you are unable to lay in this position without having your hanging leg hang in a horizontal position, you may have LCS.

How to Treat LCS

Treating LCS is a two-stage process.  First, you must loosen the tight iliopsoas and erector spinae muscles, then you can strengthen the abdominals and gluteals.  Treating LCS is best done under the direction of a physical therapist who can test for underlying conditions and recommend a customized stretching and strengthening program.  

Loosen the Tight Cross

The first priority in treating LCS is to loosen the tight part of the cross.  This serves two purposes.  First, it alleviates pain and discomfort associated with LCS.  Second, it allows the body to be receptive to strengthening the weak part of the cross.  If you were to jump into strengthening exercises, you are more likely to exacerbate your injury, rather than treat it.  A physical therapist will recommend foam rolling exercises for the iliopsoas muscles, floor exercises designed to stretch the lumbar spine, pelvis, and hip joint, and standing stretches for the upper spine if there is a forward head position.

Strengthen the Weak Cross

Strengthening the weak abdominals and gluteals is often not as simple as planking and performing squats, although these exercises may play a role in your recovery.  Instead, the deep stabilization muscles need attention if LCS is going to be treated effectively.  One exercise that can strengthen both the glutes and the deep abdominals is the hip raise.  Lay on your back with your feet flat on the ground.  Raise your toes slightly, making sure the majority of the pressure is in the heels.  Raise your hips until your knees, hips, and mid-back form a straight line, taking care to not hyper-extend the hips.  Hold for 2-3 seconds and lower the hips, repeating for 12-15 reps.

Once you have addressed both parts of the cross, you will find your posture becomes more neutral, your exercise technique will become better, and your overall athletic performance will improve.  For more information on how to treat LCS, or if you suspect you have LCS, contact your physical therapist today.

Source

https://darwinian-medicine.com/lower-crossed-syndrome-6-steps-to-fix-anterior-pelvic-tilt-and-swayback-posture/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-tV2xTBeH10

The Connection Between Core Strength and Better Balance

Physical therapy as an industry has been talking about the link between core strength and better balance for years. When the “core” muscles around your trunk are strong, they prevent chronic lower back pain and many other injuries, but they also keep you from losing your balance and falling down. A stronger core will help to keep you upright — especially as you age and start to become more at risk of falling. If you’d like to get started on a core routine to improve your balance, contact RX Rehab Physical Therapy today to speak with a physical therapist!

How Core Strength and Balance Are Linked

There are three systems in your body that help to control your balance. One is the vestibular system; the liquid in your inner ear functions sort of like a “carpenter’s balance” to keep you level. If you’ve ever felt dizzy, it means the liquid in the vestibular system can be “off” a little bit. Another balancing system is your visual system. Your eyes send signals to your brain about your position in relation to the world around you. The final system is the proprioceptive system, which has to do with your core.

Proprioception nerves are sensory nerves situated throughout the body that make you aware of your posture and awareness of spatial things around you. To stay balanced, you have to have equilibrium in all three systems. A weak core is one element that can make you feel off balance and cause you to fall down.

Core Muscles, Core Stability & Core Strength

Your core muscles are more than just your abs! In fact, there are two groups of core muscles: Inner core and outer core. The inner core muscles are attached to your spine; they’re the muscles that stabilize your core. The outer core muscles work in conjunction with the inner core muscles when you need to move your body from point A to point B (or to do most physical activities).

Core stability relates to your inner core muscles. These muscles stabilize your spine. Core strength relates to the outer core muscles and is developed to help you move around better. Engaging in physical therapy will help you to train both inner and outer core muscles for better balance and movement.

Core Strength & Stability Through Physical Therapy

You don’t need a bunch of expensive gym equipment to start working on your core strength. In fact, here’s a quick exercise that many physical therapists will recommend if you’re just starting out. It’s called the “drawing in maneuver,” or if you prefer the less fancy term, “sucking your gut in.”

First, stand up straight and find the proper pelvic position. This is done by rotating your hips forward and back finding the comfortable “middle” position. Then, draw your belly button in toward your spine. Don’t hold your breath — it’s not a breathing exercise. You should be able to talk, breathe and slowly walk around with your belly button drawn in. It sounds easy, but if you’re older, out of shape or recovering from an injury, the drawing in maneuver will be a little difficult at first.

You want to build up your core muscles until you can hold your belly button in for 30 seconds before moving on to more difficult core exercises. Also, if you feel any pain from this exercise, stop immediately. It shouldn’t be painful. As you build up your core, your physical therapist will recommend moving on to more strenuous exercises that are appropriate for your age and ability. This can range from planks and bridges for the more athletic, to gentler workouts like a yoga routine for older folks. Your therapist will also work with you on specific core exercises to help your balance.

If you have a weak core or you’re struggling with balance, physical therapy can help! Contact our Highland, UT physical therapy clinic today and schedule an appointment to get started with a physical therapist today.

Back & Neck Pain? Physical Therapy Can Help!

Many people have back pain and neck pain. As a matter of fact, studies reveal that 90 percent of people will experience either back pain or neck pain at least once in their lives. It’s not always easy to isolate those regions of the body that are causing back pain or neck pain. Pain can radiate to the arms, legs and even the head. Each episode of pain can progress more, last longer and travel further from its origin. If you figure out the cause, you may wind up needing pain management or even surgery.

The Benefits of Physical Therapy for Back Pain and Neck Pain

Physical therapy for back pain and neck pain is focused on the structures that support the spine, including ligaments, tendons, muscles and joints. Some types of active physical therapy for neck and back pain include specific stretches, exercises, adjustments and even aquatic exercise. The buoyancy of water takes pressure off of the cervical and lumbar spine while you’re performing the exercises.

Passive physical therapy includes different modalities, such as ice and heat therapy, massage therapy, electrotherapy and ultrasound. Ice or heat therapy increases blood flow for healing, reduces swelling and pain and loosens up stiff muscles. Massage therapy relaxes muscles and helps reduce pain. With electrotherapy, electrical impulses are sent to the sensory nerves to alter pain signals. It’s a mildly warm sensation that reduces pain and relaxes muscles.

A Physical Therapist for Neck and Back Pain

Before treatment even begins, a physical therapist will perform an examination to determine the root cause of your back or neck pain. A goniometer may be used to measure your range of motion. A strength test will also be performed. Spinal mobility will be measured along with palpation to locate sore or tight muscles. A full medical history will be taken in addition to your symptoms. You can discuss the things that you are now not able to do. A physical therapist will also ask you to perform certain tasks in order to determine your functional mobility. In sum, a full assessment of your physical condition will be done, and a personalized treatment plan will be created to target the cause of your back or neck pain.

Why a Specific Treatment Plan Is Developed

A specific treatment plan is developed since the cause of your back or neck pain can vary. It may be due to disc herniation, degenerative disc disease, a sports injury, whiplash, osteoarthritis or poor posture. A herniated disc occurs when the gel-like material of the disc bulges or leaks out. Degenerative disc disease occurs when there is wear and tear on the discs. Osteoarthritis is wear and tear on the facet joints and can cause friction when bending, pinch a nerve root and result in sciatica. And it’s not uncommon for athletes to incur sprains and strains to the neck or back regions when engaging in sports.

The good news is that physical therapy has been proven to help with neck pain or back pain regardless of its root cause. If you’re suffering from neck pain or back pain, call our office today to see how physical therapy can help get you back in the game and live a pain-free life. Our physical therapists are certified and experienced. They’ve helped many others and can help you too. 

Contact our Highland, UT physical therapy clinic today and learn how we can get you on the path to recovery. There’s no reason to suffer in pain when we have the solution.

Suffering with Back Pain? Check Your Posture!

If you are like most people, you have had someone tell you to sit or stand up straight — probably during your teenage years. At the time, the demand was probably annoying and one you did your best to ignore. But it turns out that good posture is important for more than just looking confident and respectable. Sitting and standing with good spinal alignment can help prevent back pain.

One major focus of physical therapy is to teach patients how to practice good posture. Your physical therapist can help you understand the importance of posture and give you valuable training to help you achieve it, day in and day out.

 

Let us help you discover the benefits of physical therapy for back pain. Please contact RX Rehab Physical Therapy today to schedule an appointment with a physical therapist!

Good Posture — What It Does to Relieve Back Pain

Your spine is designed to operate in a certain way. When you move, sit and stand in ways that disrupt the correct operation of your spine, you can create problems over time. Practicing good posture — with the help of your physical therapist — is one way that can work with your spine to minimize back pain.

When you are in physical therapy, you will learn good posture and discover several ways in which the healthy movement patterns taught by your physical therapist will minimize your back pain. These include:

Avoid Undesirable Anatomical Changes

The ways that you use your spine can actually cause changes in your anatomy. The stress caused by sitting hunched can eventually lead to damage of your spinal discs, muscles, joints and the nerves and blood vessels traveling through your spine. Many times the damage can be reversed, though, if you engage in targeted physical therapy and learn to sit and stand correctly from your physical therapist.

Promote Good Circulation

When you maintain proper spinal alignment, your veins are not constricted by the press of your vertebrae. All of the numerous components of your spine require good circulation to operate correctly and to regenerate from damage and wear and tear.

When your physical therapist guides you through the different physical therapy exercises that help with posture, you will get better at keeping the alignment required for optimal circulation.

Encourage Strength and Flexibility

If it has been a while since you have regularly had good posture, chances are that trying to maintain such posture over a long period will be difficult. It may take some time in physical therapy to gain the strength and flexibility necessary to keep the ideal posture.

Fortunately, the work you do with your physical therapist to achieve your goal will lead to greater overall fitness. The stronger and more flexible you get, the less likely you are to suffer from back pain on a regular basis.

Improved Posture in all Activities

Most people think of posture in static positions, like sitting at a desk or standing for a period of time. But good posture is important in everything that we do.

 

In physical therapy, your physical therapist can instruct you on how to maintain good posture during all of your favorite activities, such as running, playing sports, and walking. The improved posture you adopt in each activity will lessen the wear and tear you put on your spine, which minimizes the risk of developing back pain from these activities.

Prevent Back Pain Caused by Improper Lifting

Good posture is a vital component of lifting objects without injury. When you lift and fail to use good posture, there is a much greater chance that you will wind up hurting your back.

Ask your physical therapist about proper lifting posture. He or she can show you how to lift correctly and guide you through some exercises to clarify the right posture.

Help With Your Back Pain

If you are suffering from back pain, please contact us here or call at 385-498-3757. Our physical therapy team can help you get the relief you deserve!

Herniated Discs Can Cause You Serious Back Pain!

One of the most common reasons people visit our physical therapist each day is to get relief from chronic back pain. While back pain can be caused by a variety of medical conditions, in many cases, it is the result of a herniated disc. Herniated discs can occur anywhere along the spine but typically affect the lower back area. Physical therapy patients may also be familiar with other terms used to describe a herniated disc including ruptured disc, bulging disc, or protruding disc, but the treatment for the condition is the same. It is estimated that about 60 to 80 percent of people will experience some level of lower back pain in their lives, and many may experience the issue due to a herniated disc. While they can be very painful, with the help of our experienced physical therapist, patients of all ages can find fast relief and learn to manage their pain with regular physical therapy appointments at RX Rehab Physical Therapy .

Ask Our Physical Therapist: What Causes a Herniated Disc to Develop?

Spinal discs are soft and rubbery pads, designed to work as shock absorbers, located between the bony vertebrae that help make up the spinal column. Made of a thick outer ring of cartilage and an inner gel-like substance, spinal discs work to allow the back to bend with ease. Additionally, your spinal column helps protect delicate nerves and your spinal cord. If the cartilage in your spinal disc somehow tears or develops a defect, the gel-like substance or nucleus can break through. This bulging or herniation can then put pressure on the nerves, resulting in intense pain. In fact, even small amounts of pressure on your spinal nerves can cause weakness, numbness, and pain.

Herniated discs in the lower back can be particularly painful because they put pressure on the sciatic nerve, resulting in sciatica. The sciatic nerve is actually made up of several spinal nerve branches that travel from the spine and down into the leg. If the sciatic nerve becomes pinched, pain can radiate from the buttocks area, down throughout the back of the leg, and into the shin and foot. Luckily, physical therapy can work to reduce the pain caused by the condition.

When you are young, your spinal discs have a high water-content level, made up of almost 80 percent water. However, as you age, the water content in your spinal discs lowers. This causes the discs to become less pliable and increases the risk of tears or other defects. Some of the other common causes of herniated discs include:

  • Excessive body weight or obesity
  • Traumatic injury
  • High-impact sports
  • Repetitive twisting movements (workplace injuries)
  • Heavy or incorrect lifting

Common Symptoms of a Herniated Disc

Symptoms associated with a herniated disc may vary depending on where the injured disc is located. Some of the most common symptoms you may experience include:

  • Pain when bending or twisting
  • Burning, numbness, or tingling in the back, buttock, legs, and/or feet.
  • Weakness in the legs
  • Pain that intensifies when sitting, coughing, sneezing, or bending

If you think you may have a herniated disc or other back pain issues, physical therapy can help. We recommend scheduling a consultation with our physical therapist as soon as possible.

How Can Physical Therapy Help Lower Back Pain?

Physical therapy is a safe and non-invasive pain treatment option designed to help patients of all ages heal from the inside out. By using targeted physical therapy treatments, our skilled physical therapist can work to relieve back pain and reduce inflammation, stimulate blood flow, and restore your range of motion.

Contact our Highland, UT physical therapy clinic today to learn more and schedule an appointment with our knowledgeable and highly skilled physical therapist.

 

Why Low Back Pain May Not Go Away

Causes of Low Back Pain & How Physical Therapy Can Help

Lower back pain is one of the most common reasons people cite for making an appointment with a physical therapist. Most people suffer from lower back pain to varying degrees at some point in their lives. Sometimes, lower back pain is more of an annoyance than anything else, but when lower back pain becomes severe, it can be seriously debilitating and prevent you from living your life. Typically, the sooner you seek treatment for lower back pain, the sooner you can find lasting relief.

Common Causes of Lower Back Pain

There are numerous potential causes for lower back pain. These days, poor posture and alignment of the spine is becoming an increasingly common cause—likely due to the fact that more people work in sedentary desk jobs than ever before. Without the proper lumbar support from an ergonomic desk chair, lower back pain can quickly occur as a result of poor posture and limited movement of the spinal joints throughout the day. Even those who are on their feet most of the day can suffer from lower back pain due to poor spinal and abdominal muscle support and lack of proper coordination of the spinal muscles.

While lower back pain cannot always be prevented, it is possible to reduce your risk of lower back injuries and pain by making sure your back is well supported with proper posture throughout the day. For desk workers, this could mean investing in an ergonomic desk chair. For others, it may mean purchasing a quality pair of athletic shoes that will provide the proper level of foot and back support throughout the day.

Physical Therapy for Back Pain Relief

The good news is that if you’re suffering from lower back pain, physical therapy may be able to help. Seeking physical therapy as treatment for your lower back pain is always recommended before you decide to start taking any prescription medications. After all, anti-inflammatory and other medication may relieve your back pain in the short-term, but can also lead to long-term side effects. With physical therapy, you can enjoy a non-invasive and drug-free approach to long-term back pain relief. And physical therapy should always be attempted before taking any drastic measures, such as having back surgery done.

There are two common forms of physical therapy used for the treatment of lower back pain. These are passive and active physical therapy, and they differ greatly in their techniques and methods.

Passive physical therapy relies on techniques performed directly on the patient. This can include anything from applying heat or ice packs to the affected area or even stimulating the area with controlled electricity. Other modalities used here may include ultrasonography, TENS units, and iontophoresis.

Active physical therapy, on the other hand, refers to steps the patient will take (as instructed by a physical therapist) to treat and reduce lower back pain. Typically, this comes in the form of different exercises and stretches that are designed to reduce lower back pain and minimize future flare-ups as well. Some common examples of active physical therapy may include low-impact aerobic conditioning and back strengthening exercises. These can be done in your physical therapist’s office or at home, depending on your specific needs.

Overall, physiotherapy can be a great option for treating just about any level of lower back pain. Through a combination of active and passive physical therapy, you can work towards reducing your pain and increasing your lower back strength to avoid future problems. Contact our team of physical therapist today to find out more about how we can help you overcome lower back pain.