If I asked you to find out where your pelvis is living right now, would you know how to tell? For many of us, the pelvis isn’t a body part we think of often. It simply sits there (often quite literally), and it doesn’t ‘live’ anywhere, rather it does its thing. Right?
Actually, your pelvis is a vital structure in your body. Since your legs and spine both run vertically, they need a horizontal platform to attach to. The pelvis’ three bones (2 innominates and the sacrum in the back) form a strong structure that allows your spine to stand upright and your legs to move you around.
The pelvis is, in fact, the central point of your musculoskeletal system. This means even a small adjustment made in your pelvis can make big differences to the rest of your body.
In this guide, I’ll explain pelvic positioning—in other words, how to find the right ‘home’ for your pelvis in order to keep everything else in alignment—and the anatomical reasons your body needs core rehabilitation. This includes the possible effects of a pelvic tilt, a breakdown of the core muscles and their role in the pelvis’ position, and exercises to practice pelvic posture. Let’s have a look!
Understanding Pelvis and Position
Firstly, what’s all this about a pelvic tilt? Simply put, this refers to your pelvis being near-constantly tilted out of its neutral, vertical alignment. There are two types of pelvic tilt:
- Posterior (Rear) Pelvic Tilt – This refers to a pelvis that’s slightly tilting backward. This leads to your lumbar, or lower spine, being pulled into a flat position rather than its natural curve. It also means your core is always ‘on’, or engaged, tightening the muscles and limiting your breath. People with a posterior pelvic tilt usually appear to have flat “Mom bum” or tucked-under buttocks.
- Anterior (Front) Pelvic Tilt – This refers to a forward-tilting pelvis. This forces the lower spine into a more exaggerated curve while also causing your core to be ‘turned off’, or disengaged. People with an anterior pelvic tilt might appear to be pushing their buttocks and stomach out.
Both kinds of long-term pelvic tilt can be caused by anatomy, posture, and day-to-day movement habits.
How to Reset Your Pelvis
You wouldn’t want to live in a house with a tilted foundation, so why do the same thing with your body? Pelvic positioning can make a big difference for your overall health and happiness. Depending on your situation, it could be the cause of back pain, hip pain, or joint irritation over time.
Thankfully, a pelvic tilt is completely fixable, even on your own! It just takes a little knowledge of the right exercises. Here are a few ways to adjust your pelvic tilt at home:
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart, arms by your side.
- Slowly peel your spine into the floor and eventually off the floor 1 vertebrae at a time, engaging your glutes and core.
- Hold the bridge position for a few seconds, ensuring your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees, and your glutes are on so squeeze them to get a good activation.
- Relax your glutes and use your abdominals to pull your pelvis into a full posterior pelvic tilt as you lower your hips back down to the floor gently and sequentially so your tailbone is the last piece to return.
- Repeat 5-8 times and see if your pelvis is now sitting more level.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart, keeping your back straight while hinging at the hips.
- Push your hips backwards and bending at the hips like a Lego man, with only a hip hinge joint.
- By keeping the pelvis and torso straight, you should feel a gentle stretch in your hamstrings, and then return to the starting position by engaging your glutes and hamstrings to stand up straight by pushing the pelvis back under your torso.
- Focus on maintaining a neutral spine and controlled movement throughout the exercise to effectively target and strengthen the hamstrings.
- Repeat 15 reps, 2 sets, and then see if your pelvis is now sitting more level.
Hip Flexor Stretch:
- Start in a kneeling position with your right knee bent at 90 degrees in front of you, and your left knee on the floor.
- Shift your weight forward slightly, feeling the stretch in the front of your left hip. If you need more stretch, tuck your pelvis under you. Don’t go into pain or discomfort.
- Hold the stretch for 30-60 seconds, then switch legs and repeat for the right hip flexor, then repeat pelvis positioning to see if the pelvis is sitting more vertically.
Generally speaking, an active lifestyle is one of the best things you can do to reset your pelvis. Movement in a variety of directions will naturally improve your posture over time, allowing you to feel and move your best.
Core Rehab for a Healthy Pelvis
In some cases, it makes the most sense to work with an expert on bringing your pelvis ‘back home’. In my work, I use a technique known as core rehab to help strengthen your core muscles, which in turn helps to pull the pelvis into a happy, neutral position and keep it there.
Weakened core muscles aren’t able to fully support the pelvis, which can lead to a pelvic tilt and all the physical challenges that come with it. Physiotherapy for your core activation is a safe, effective way to adjust your pelvis into alignment and eliminate any pain or discomfort you might be dealing with.
Anatomically speaking, your core and pelvis are deeply interconnected. Spending some time on your core muscles will lead to a cascade of positive effects as your pelvis returns to a healthy orientation. Say goodbye to back pain, hip discomfort, and limited hip flexibility!
If you have more questions about pelvic positioning, the effects of pelvic tilt on the body, and how core rehab lets you (gently) tackle these issues at the source, I’m here to help. With a customized treatment plan and a little time and effort, I’ll guide you through the core rehabilitation process and get you feeling your best again. Contact me today or book your initial consultation.