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The Pelvic Tilt & Neutral Pelvis: why the fuss?

Updated: Mar 13

If you have experience in practicing Pilates, Yoga, or other fitness modalities, you may have been cued by an instructor to keep a neutrally aligned pelvis or spine. This may have helped you, but for others, confused and wondering why the fuss?

The physical definition of a neutral pelvis is when your pubic synthesis, (commonly referred to as pubic bone) is on the same plane as your anterior iliums (the bones you feel when placing your hands on your hips). In standing line with gravity, the “sit bones” or ischiums reach directly downward and the very top of the iliums are level to ceiling.

In this neutral position, when we learn how to apply it to various movement directions, we can safely load the spine i.e. lift something with significant weight, because our natural spinal curves can best absorb the shock of the weight. You will see this in medical advice for bending from the knees and hips instead of the spine.

Many of us don’t know what it feels like to keep the pelvis neutral. It is possible to both over tuck and under tuck the tail bone. We hear the words “natural lumbar curve” and end up not correcting our anterior tilt, compressing our lower back. There needs to be some amount of naturally occurring muscle engagement throughout the sacral/coccygeal curve, as well as our lower abdominal and pelvic floor to allow the lumbar spine a healthy oppositional lumbar curve. This micro movement around our tail, sacrum, lower abs, and pelvic floor is an essential fundament with many benefits to the entire body, but it needs to come from the front lower abdominal muscles as well.

The term tuck your tailbone is very easy to understand, but it considered controversial. Some PT professionals deal with patients suffering pelvic floor pain, and it helps when we don’t over grip our deep glutes. Hypertonicity of the piriformis (one of the several muscles that rotate the femur) can really upset a sciatic nerve, but so can L4 through S2 nerve roots.

We can do specific lower abdominal exercises and specific myo-fascial stretch’s for these muscles in my movement sessions. Much of what I teach comes from the European Osteopathic SomaVOYER paradigm, especially the gluteus medius and lower abdominal strengthening exercises that I give every client I work with. I also give Myofascial Release to the lower back, effecting the thorocolumbar fascia, to assist the ability to learn a proper pelvic tilt.

Knowing your postural tendencies can help you understand where your strong and weak points are so that you can reduce your chances of chronic lower back pain. How we position our pelvic bones really does matter. To learn about how this applies to your body, book a free discovery call with me.

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