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Sitting and back pain? Is it Lower Crossed Syndrome?

 Why does my back hurt when I sit/or sit for too long?

Typical question that I get here in my office. Why? And the answer is not always the same for every patient, BUT, I can talk about several things that happen when you sit, and you may get a better idea of why prolonged sitting causes so much of the back pain we see today.

 The short answer is that sitting for too long tightens some muscles and weakens other muscles causing lumbar extension, resulting in abnormal joint mechanics and pain.  This is also known as lower crossed syndrome or LCS.

The long answer is below:

First, being in a seated position puts your hip flexors (iliacus, psoas, and rectus femoris) in a shortened position.  When you do this for too long, it may cause an adaptive shortening of these muscles. If this happens, when you stand up, (because you have to stand up straight) the shortened muscles pull on the origins of the muscles (transverse process of T12-L5, and the lateral aspects of the discs between them, anterior inferior iliac spine, and iliac fossa) and cause your lumbar spine to go into extension, and your hips to shift anteriorly causing undue stress on your low back, potentially jamming the facet joints, pinching nerves, or causing lumbar disc herniations, and causing pain.

This is called anterior pelvic tilt, which is further facilitated by the fact that when you sit, your abdominals and your butt muscles (gluts) are not engaged and become weak or inhibited.

Identifying the cause of the pain and the postural, work, or lifestyle patterns that provoke it is the first step determining what type of training and changes need to be done to help the patient get rid of the low back pain, and prevent it from coming back.

Chiropractic adjustments are great at relieving pain, sometimes even for long term, but I always recommend exercises and lifestyle changes.

If you suffer from low back pain, make sure that you consult with a qualified healthcare provider so you can determine the cause of the pain, and properly address it.

If you have any questions, feel free to give us a call or schedule an appointment for a consultation and an examination.

Dr. Eric - Chiropractor, Santa Monica

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