You may have heard the term 'pelvic tilt', but do you understand the what it means to have a tilted pelvis and how it can affect your lower back? Learning about the structure of the pelvis and how it functions are key to making changes that will improve your spine health. You will also learn what you can do if you have a pelvic tilt to help improve your alignment and increase your mobility through exercises and stretching.
What is a Tilted Pelvis?
A tilted pelvis happens when the pelvis is positioned abnormally in relation to the upper body and thighs. The spine can become misaligned, which causes imbalance and can lead to low back pain as well as pain in the knees, legs, buttocks, hips, shoulders, and neck. The pelvis can also become misaligned due to altered anatomy of the hips or pelvis that is caused by joint degeneration, conditions present form birth, or poor posture.The pelvis is connected to the lower spine (lumbar) and is made up of a series of bones. It is designed to be able to tilt and rotate forward and back. When the pelvis is in its optimal position, it is called "neutral" (neither tilted too far forward or back). When the pelvis becomes misaligned due to standing or sitting for too long or due to injury, many problems can occur. The kinetic chain is a term used to refer to the normal orientation of joints, muscles, and segments of the body. When alignment is optimal, movement occurs smoothly and without pain. If the pelvis is tilted, the chain becomes disrupted, leading to low back pain, decreased mobility, and joint instability . There are three different types of pelvic tilts - anterior tilt, posterity tilt, and pelvic obliquity.
Anterior Pelvic Tilt: Commonly referred to as a forward pelvic tilt, it is caused by a shortening of the hip flexor muscles and the lengthening of the hip extensor muscles. This leads to an increased curvature of the lower spine. Excess body weight is one of the most common causes of anterior pelvic tilt and it can force the back to flex abnormally in a "C" curve. Physical inactivity and prolonged sitting can lead t anterior pelvic tilt. The front of the pelvis will drop forward in relation to the back of the pelvis and may cause symptoms such as a protruding belly, tight thigh and pelvic muscles, low back pain, and possible hip, knee, and foot pain. Changing certain habits can help relieve pain brought on by anterior pelvic tilt - losing weight, avoiding prolonged periods of sitting, and sleeping with a pillow between your knees to keep pelvis in neutral are a few suggestions.
For more information on exercises to help anterior pelvic tilt, click on the following link:
Posterior Pelvic Tilt: The pelvis tilts backwards die to an imbalance between the core and leg muscles including the pelvic floor, diaphragm, transverse abdominis, and erector spinae muscles. Instead of flexing the back muscles as in the anterior tilt, the posterior tilt position causes forward slouching and overly stretches the muscles. The front of the pelvis rises while the back of the pelvis drops which can lead to sciatica, low back pain, slumped posture, upper back tension, tight hamstrings, forward rolled shoulders, and possible knee and hip pain. To improve posterior pelvic tilt, sit in a chair with lumbar support, keep desk, computer and chair height level to avoid slumping, and placing a rolled up towel beneath the arch of your lower back as you sleep.
For more information on exercises ti help posterior pelvic tilt, click on the following link:
Pelvic Obliquity: This condition occurs when one hip is higher than the other and/or one hip is rotated in the opposite direction of the other. Pelvic obliquity is also referred to as side-to-side pelvic imbalance. This can be caused by scoliosis, a condition when the spine curves abnormally to the side. It is more often due to differences in leg lengths or hip misalignment caused by hip dysplasia. Degenerative diseases like osteoarthritis of the hip can lead to hip joint weakness on one side of the body. Symptoms can include an uneven stance, difficulty walking, leg or hip pain, shoulder of neck pain, back pain, and/or an uneven or "rolling" gait. Physical therapy exercises can be used to strengthen the weaker hip, corrective shoe orthotics, and core strengthening exercises that target the hips selectively can be helpful in improving pelvic obliquity.
For more information on exercises to help pelvic obliquity, click on the following link:
There are many things that can be done to help correct pelvic tilts. Making adjustments to promote good posture, strengthening the core, changing sleeping habits, and improving sitting positions are a few ways that can bring about positive changes. Check out this video from the Kore Video Library: