Anterior pelvic tilt is one of the most unrecognized factors contributing to back and neck pain. This problem occurs when the front of your pelvis rotates forward. Ultimately, this causes the back of your pelvis to rise. Some research suggests that up to 75 percent of women and 85 percent of men experience this issue.
While back and neck pain may result, this kind of pelvic tilt may also be responsible for poor posture and may ultimately affect the shape of your spine. But fixing anterior pelvic tilt is possible with certain exercises and stretches. These techniques, designed to return your pelvis to a neutral position, can be the difference between living with or without pain.
Understanding Anterior Pelvic Tilt
In most cases, pelvic tilt results from tight, weak muscles pulling the pelvis forward and out of a neutral alignment. A sedentary lifestyle, combined with lack of physical exercise, is most often responsible for this condition. Other factors which may increase your likelihood of developing pelvic tilt include:
- Flat feet
- Frequent cycling
- Wearing high heels
For some people, pelvic tilt causes no symptoms. For others, this condition can be characterized by:
- Poor posture with a protruding stomach and the lower spine curved inward
- Tight pelvic and thigh muscles
- Weak stomach and gluteus maximus muscles
While many people simply live with discomfort, pelvic tilt may cause more serious complications for others. Because a misaligned pelvis places extra pressure on the bones in your lower back, you may experience issues like muscle fatigue and lower back pain. It's also common to experience issues like neck muscle tension, hip and knee pain and sciatica.
Fixing Anterior Pelvic Tilt
Fortunately, you can safely return your pelvis to a neutral position with several exercises that stretch and strengthen your muscles.
- Squats: Squats help strengthen your leg muscles and buttocks, which improves your posture over time.
- Planks: This exercise can be difficult at first, but it helps to strengthen the muscles in your stomach and back.
- Pelvic tilt: Pelvic tilt exercises help put your pelvis back into proper alignment by firming up abdominal muscles and stretching lower back muscles.
- Kneeling rear leg raises and kneeling hip flexor stretches: Both of these exercises help you stretch muscles in your hips, back, and buttocks. Kneeling rear leg raises also help strengthen abdominal muscles.
Preventing Pelvic Tilt
While it may not be possible to guarantee that you never develop pelvic tilt, you can take several steps to reduce your likelihood of having this condition. First, try to avoid prolonged periods of sitting. If you have an office job and spend much of your day in a chair, be sure to take regular breaks to get up, walk around and stretch.
Using ergonomic chairs and workstation accessories, like height adjustable standing desks, can help you maintain proper posture even while you're in the office. Your computer screen and desk should both be positioned to promote proper spinal alignment and decrease any strain on your joints.
Fixing anterior pelvic tilt takes time. However, if you've tried to correct this condition on your own and are still experiencing issues like pain, seeing your doctor could be your next best step. Together with your doctor, you can determine if any other factors contribute to your pain while making a plan for helping you feel better.