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Beware of the "X" Posture
One of the most common postural distortions is an exaggerated sway back curve in the low back. a frozen mid back, (frozen into a hump!) followed by a forward head. Aha - - I see a pattern here! This is the same posture of the guy who designed the car seat. That's how common it is.
If we take a closer look at this common problem, we can see in the first photo -
The body is pulled slightly forward in the bend area by the front of the hip. This is a tight hip flexor problem. Too much sitting, and not enough proper stretching, can be a reason for this problem.
As we travel up to the low back, to compensate for the tight hip flexor and because our body is trying to find neutral and stand upright, we jam and ultimately tighten the low back.
This is the first line of our " X", the tightness line.
Our second line is the Glute or commonly known as our butt. It's the opposing muscle to the hip flexor. If the hip flexor is tight the glute can't fire correctly. This also feeds in to the low back being tight. When the butt isn't doing its job we end up using our back for a compensation for our weak Glutes.
This brings us to the last part of our "X": the weak abdominal muscles. The opposing muscles to the low back are the abdominals. If the low back is jammed up and tight we can't access the abs to balance out the overuse of the low back.
So there it is: tight hip flexors, and tight low back.
Weak Glutes and abdominals.
That's our "X"
What usually ends up happening above that at the mid-back and neck is usually just a compensation up the line from what's happening below it. Our bodies are just looking for balance however they can find it.
Besides the fact that it doesn't end up looking too pretty, it's very dysfunctional and hard on our bodies. The health of our discs is compromised, our hip joint can wear out, our organs are compressed, and then the pain sets in. UGH!
A common problem I encounter with my clients is when the pain came they went to the gym to work out to make the pain go away (I did that myself years ago, that's why I do what I do now!) Good for us for being so pro-active and doing what we felt was taking responsibility for ourselves!
Unfortunately, what I have found in myself and others is until we have an understanding of what the heck our bodies are really doing and we address the tightness first through some type of structural massage and learn self-release techniques to practice at home, we can't even begin to access the weak muscles. When the tight muscles are dominant and override a weak muscle, we end up tightening what's already tight.
The "X posture is only one of many individual postural distortions.
To begin to correct the "X" posture we need to learn (with the guidance of a trained professional) deep releases done through the abdomen to lengthen the spine using inflatable balls, followed by proper release techniques and alignment for lengthening the hip flexors from the hip joint. This relieves tightness in the low back and hip area . Along with releasing areas in the low back itself, through using the inflatable balls, I have found this works the quickest and the best for a home maintenance program.
The last step, after releasing dominant tightness, is re-educating the mind and body to new, more functional patterns. By strengthening the weak Glute and abdominal ( FYI-not with crunches!) starting with easy, but challenging exercises this allows the weaker muscle to regain much needed strength to help balance the body for a happier and healthier life.