Our pelvis has its contribution when we walk, run, and lift weights off the ground. In addition to that, it plays a part in the proper posture.
Anterior pelvic tilt occurs when the pelvis, including the pubic bones and hip, tilts or rotates forward forcing the spine to curve. This is due to a muscle imbalance in the lower half part of the body. A combination of weak and tight muscles as it pulls pelvis forward. So, you may notice that there is a muscles tightness in the front of a patient’s pelvis and thighs while the back muscles are weak.
This condition can result in lower back pain, forces hip and knee rotation, hip and knee pain, and incorrect posture. It is often caused by excessive sitting without enough exercises and stretches to counter the long period of muscular dysfunction resulting in muscle tightness. But aside from the long period of sedentary position, there are other factors that can increase the risk of developing an anterior pelvic tilt which includes cycling, flat feet, and wearing high heels.
To diagnose if you have an existing interior pelvic tilt, the Thomas test can be performed. Just follow the procedure below.
- Find a sturdy table and lie your back onto it. Make sure that your legs hang off the table at the knee.
- Pull one leg up until you can hug it on your chest.
- Do the same on the other leg.
Note that if a person’s pelvis is correctly aligned, the resting thigh should not lift off the table.
Exercises to Correct an Anterior Pelvic Tilt
Anterior pelvic tilt is often visible as the lower back of a person gives an exaggerated arch and his or her buttocks stick out. But this condition can be corrected by stretches, massages, and exercise. Here are some exercises that an individual can do.
Squats are a full-body exercise that can help strengthen the gluteus muscles, quadriceps, and hamstrings, among others.
- Position your feet shoulder-width apart with your toes pointing forward.
- Lower yourself to a sitting position but to a point where you touch the floor; just your thighs parallel to it. Make sure that you are keeping your abs tight and your back in neutral position as you lower yourself.
- Push yourself up to until you are back to a standing position. Then slightly forward your pelvis slightly and tighten your gluteus muscles.
- Repeat the process 15 to 20 times.
Just a few reminders when you do the squats. Make sure that your back is in a neutral position. Furthermore, do not let your knees rotate inward or go over your toes. Do not overly arch your back or flatten the curve of your lower back. Try to look straight ahead and visualize that you are about to sit on a chair. Lastly, squeeze your abdominals and gluteus muscles.
The bridge is an exercise that can strengthen and improve your gluteus muscles, hamstrings, and abdominal muscles while disengaging the hip flexors.
- Lie on your back with your knees bend and your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Arms should be by your sides.
- Push your heels into the floor as you lift your pelvis up toward the ceiling.
- Roll upward until your back is off the floor, transferring the support of weight to the shoulder. Your upper body and thighs should make a straight line
- Hold the position for 5 seconds while you focus on squeezing the buttocks.
- Roll back down slowly, concentrating on letting each vertebra touch the floor in turn until the back is flat on the floor again.
- Repeat the process 12 to 15 times and build up to 3 sets.
Remember to tighten your abdominal and gluteus muscles while you hold this position to maintain a correct bridge alignment.
Half-Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
The muscles in the quadriceps groups in a patient with an anterior pelvic tilt are overactive and tight. If he or she tries to lengthen these muscles, it will prevent from pulling on the pelvis. This stretch can help relax the hip flexors and increase the hip flexibility.
- Kneel on the floor (place a towel under your knee if it is uncomfortable).
- Step one of your leg (the left) out in front of you. So your left knee should be bent forward, planting the left on the floor. The front thigh should be parallel to the floor at 90-degrees to the shin. While the right leg is remained kneeled on the floor.
- Squeeze the buttocks muscles and bring your pelvis forward. Feel the tension in the inner thigh of your right leg and hip flexor as you lean on your right leg.
- Wait 30 seconds before you release the position.
- Repeat up to 5 times before switching legs.
If you want to target the hip flexors more, lean further into the stretch. It is necessary to try to tuck in the pelvis. The stretch should not hurt but you should feel a slight tension in the hip flexors. You will mainly feel this stretch in the quadriceps muscles and the hip flexors. Throughout the stretch, your pelvis should be slightly tilted.
Kneeling Leg Lift with Back Stretch
This exercise will help tighten your abdominals as well as stretch your back and gluteus muscles. This will also condition your back muscles.
- Get down on all four.
- Position your hands shoulder-width apart on the floor while your knees align with your hips.
- Make sure that your back is parallel to the ground so your pelvis is in a neutral position.
- Pull your belly button up toward your spine so your back will arch as you exhale.
- Hold the position for 2 seconds before bringing your back to its neutral position.
- Extend one leg and lift it until it reaches the same height as your body, making a straight line with it. Keep your spine in a neutral position.
- Hold it for up to 5 seconds before lowering it down. Repeat up to 10 times.
- Switch legs.
Arching the back too much can cause back pain. So, make sure to keep your extended leg in line with your body.