What Is It & How Do We Fix It?
If you have worked with us in-person or on a live fitness zoom, you likely have heard us use the term 'pelvic tilt' a time or two. In the past, you may have even been told that you have a pelvic tilt. So what does that mean?
What is Pelvic Tilt
Your pelvis is the bone structure that makes up your hips. The tilt describes when the pelvis tilts either forward or backward. The tilt itself is not a bad thing as our pelvis is made to tilt forward and backward for everyday movements. The tilt becomes problematic if your body stays in that position (either forward or backward) for an extended period of time.
When our muscles are held in a certain position for too long, they have a tendency to change position by either shortening or lengthening. This can impact your ability to move your bones in their normal range of motion at the joint.
What Causes the Most Alteration?
When it comes to the pelvis, staying seated is the tip-top culprit for altered muscle length and faulty joint movement.
This isn't surprising when you look at the majority of jobs in the US. Even when we are not working, many of us spend our time in seated positions as we commute, dine, or relax in front of the television.
Take a moment to think about how your body feels after you get up from staying seated for a long period of time. You may feel tight, stiff, and possibly a little achy. This is because your muscles adapted to being in a seated position and are having to work to return to their normal lengths.
If this is a regular occurrence for you, your muscles will likely adapt to the change in position and pull on your pelvis, femur, and spine causing pain and discomfort, especially in the lower back.
Posterior Pelvic Tilt
A posterior tilt is when your pelvis is tilted towards your backside as if you had your tail tucked.
An easy way to see if you have a posterior tilt is to put on a pair of pants with a belt and your shirt tucked in. Stand as you normally do and look at yourself in the mirror from the side. With a posterior tilt, your belt buckle will be higher than the back of the belt.
Anterior Pelvic Tilt
Stand with your hands on your hips. Imagine that your hands are on a bucket of water (with your pelvis being an imaginary bucket). Now, try to pour the water in your imaginary bucket out in front of you without leaning forward. To do this, you will have to tilt the pelvis forward causing an arch in the low back, as if you trying to stick your backside out.
You can complete the same mirror test using a belt to see if you have an anterior tilt. This time, if the belt buckle is lower in the front than in the back when viewed from the side, you have an anterior pelvic tilt.
How We Fix Pelvic Tilt
If you have either posterior or anterior pelvic tilt, you likely experience a degree of low back pain. Have no fear! With the main cause of this pain being from changes in the muscles connected to the pelvis, we are able to make adjustments with targeted stretching and strengthening exercises.
Fixing a Posterior Tilt
Stretch your hamstrings with standing hamstring stretches or lying 90-90 hamstring stretches for 60-90 seconds on each side
Strengthen your erector spinae with 1-3 sets of 12-15 reps of floor cobras
Fixing an Anterior Tilt
Stretch your hip flexors with half-kneeling hip flexor stretches
Stretch your lats with child's pose using a foam roller (wrists on the roller and thumbs pointed up towards the sky)
Strengthen your abs, glutes, and hamstrings with 1-3 sets of 12-15 reps of each exercise below:
Floor Bridge with a Mini-Band
Swiss Ball Hamstring Curl