WILL SITTING DOWN KILL ME?
With much of us living an increasingly sedentary lifestyle what with desk jobs, commuting to work and spending our spare time sitting down watching TV or dining sitting all day long is now considered “the smoking of our generation”. Now sitting alone may not quite be enough to kill you, unless you happen to be sitting in a minefield, but the effects of sitting all day can cause some rather undesirable problems including significant muscle and joint damage, compromising and compressing your pelvis, spine and overall posture. If ignored, these imbalances can significantly impact your ability to perform functional movements with ease and leave you suspect to repetitive strain and chronic pain.
One easily identifiable and common problem associated with prolonged sitting — and one that can be a significant contributor toward low back pain — is an anterior pelvic tilt.
WHAT IS AN ANTERIOR PELVIC TILT?
Most simply, an anterior pelvic tilt is identified when the pelvis appears to tip down toward the feet in an anterior direction and creates an increased curve in your low back.
This curve is known as lordosis and creates a chicken versus egg scenario where the thoracic spine is then caused to curve (kyphosis) and the neck and head move forward beyond the shoulders. This postural presentation creates compression on the spine which can lead to mild to severe low back pain, increased disc pressure, disc degeneration, joint irritation and muscle and nerve disruption.
CAN ANTERIOR TILT BE CORRECTED?
Correcting an anterior pelvic tilt is possible. However, simply addressing pelvic tilt as a standalone issue is a somewhat limited and constrained view of how the body has arrived in this scenario.
One of the biggest misconceptions about correction is assuming the cause of a pelvic tilt comes from the SI joint; where the sacrum connects with the pelvis. Whereas in actual fact an anterior pelvic tilt is most often the result of muscle and joint imbalances above and below the hips which pull the pelvis out of position.
Postural evaluations look to explain the relationship between joints and soft tissues and how imbalances in their positions and function can lead to chronic pain, structural changes and movement problems or restrictions. By evaluating the body as a whole a far more in-depth picture of what causes the alignment of the pelvis and spine to shift out of an ideal position and what actually needs to be worked on to correct it can be gained.
HOW CAN I CORRECT A PELVIC TILT?
You need to first look at the bigger picture. The pelvis is designed to respond to the demands placed upon it by the four major load joints (ankles, knees, hips and shoulders). Imbalances in the joints, muscle and connective tissue in any of these areas are what result in compensations and dysfunctions in daily living and general movement.
Once you bring good alignment to the four major load joints by addressing connective tissue, joint position and muscle balance, the body begins to properly support itself. Well aligned vertebrae allow the spinal discs to perform their shock-absorbing function without compromise and pelvic tilt naturally corrects itself because it follows the proper alignment and demand of the body because it has no other alternative but to follow design.
Corrective exercise does not just involve strengthening muscles. It involves retraining the way the entire body coordinates movement throughout all the structures of the body, this includes sitting posture, walking pattern and even breathing!
To successfully correct an anterior pelvic tilt partner with a certified professional who is well trained in postural assessment, soft tissue manipulation and whole body rehabilitation programming. Implementing an at-home, easy-to-do corrective exercise program to address the body’s imbalances is a very cost effective way to correct an anterior pelvic tilt caused by musculoskeletal imbalances.
Alongside your training, nutrition and recovery, implementing regular corrective exercise programming is an integral key to helping you have good pelvic and spinal alignment, keeping you out of chronic pain and free of repetitive strain/overuse injury.