10.07.18
Health & wellbeing

Anterior Pelvic Tilt - How to Spot It & Why You Should Fix It

Man in Wide Legged Yoga Pose with Hands Outstretched

We live in a world of antibiotics, ointments and painkillers. We chase away aches, sprains and migraines with fast acting remedies. When it comes to back pain, however, it’s not uncommon for us to grin and bear it. According to anthropologists, lumbar gripes are the price we pay for walking on two feet – a physical cost of our evolution.

In 95% of cases, lower back pain is ‘nonspecific,’ with no clear cause. So, it’s hard to know how to deal with it. Or, whether to expect effective therapies. The anterior pelvic tilt, for example, is one of the most common postural imbalances. It can cause pain, inflammation and tenderness.

Anterior tilts are the enemy of gym goers worldwide. Often, it’s during exercise that the problem reveals itself. Certainly, if you lead a mostly sedentary life, with long hours spent sitting at work, postural problems can go unnoticed. That is until you hit the gym and force your body into functional positions it barely remembers.

Anterior pelvic tilts are very common. Studies suggest as many as 75% of women and 85% of men exhibit some degree of pelvic misalignment. Such a high incidence has led to fierce debate over clinical definitions of ‘normal’ posture. If three quarters of people have a tilt, is it evolutionary hangover or modern handicap?

Let’s dig a little deeper and find out.

What Is Anterior Pelvic Tilt?

Pelvic tilt occurs when the pelvis doesn’t sit straight. Think of your pelvis as a bowl of water. In a standing position, it should rest flat and stable, with no chance of spillages. If it’s over rotated - forwards (anterior tilt) or backwards (posterior tilt) - water spills out. From a physical perspective, anterior tilts curve the lower spine and cause the stomach to bulge.

Often, the core area is rounded and looks out of shape. It’s a big obstacle for gym goers because, if a tilt is pronounced, it affects appearance regardless of fitness. In many cases, discomfort is also a problem. Some people have no symptoms. Others suffer from localised pain and inflammation. In almost all cases, range of movement is affected. 

Is it Possible to Fix a Pelvic Tilt?

This is where things get murky. Many believe anterior pelvic tilts can be corrected. Others say they’re a skeletal issue – sufferers can lengthen muscles around the pelvis, but they can’t do much to change the tilt itself. Then, there’s the question of what to do if you have a pelvic tilt without any unpleasant symptoms. Is it still important to find a fix?

One of the best ways to alleviate the strain of an anterior tilt is with exercises that lengthen and strengthen the hip flexors. As the pelvis tips forward, the hip flexors get pulled longer and tighter than normal. This decreases flexibility, increases risk of injury and may cause pain when bending, twisting, lunging and jumping.

The solution is using exercise to increase the elasticity of hip flexors. It’s also a great way to reduce the impact of prolonged sitting, particularly at work. Deep squats, lunges and straddle stretches (though uncomfortable at first) gently pull on the muscles and, over time, allow the hips to be widened and pelvis rotated more freely.  

Where Do I Start If I Have a Pelvic Tilt?

If possible, give more thought to posture. This is easiest to do when you’re idling, such as in a supermarket queue, at home in the kitchen, waiting for a coffee order, or at the bus stop. Look at your belly. If it’s rounded and protruding, straighten your back and push your bum outwards. It might feel unnatural, but this is a healthier posture. Your stomach and lower back should be neutrally positioned (a relatively straight line).

It’s important to point out that, if you have an anterior tilt and no discomfort, corrections may be unnecessary. If you currently live without pain and don’t mind a rounded belly, there’s probably no medical need to work on your pelvis. It’s worth remembering, however, that an anterior pelvic tilt is likely to limit your range of movement at the gym.    

Fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt with These 5 Exercises

RKC Plank

Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch

Foot Elevated Glute Bridge

Handcuffed Kneeling Kettlebell Hinge 

Kneeling Leg Lift 

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