Times simply aren’t what they used to be – many moons ago, most people would be out working in the fields and running around. Now, most people are sedentary and sit for a living. This can cause a couple of problems related to posture in our daily lives. An anterior pelvic tilt is one such issue.
The Manual Therapy Journal states that there are around 75% of women and 85% of men that struggle with anterior pelvic tilts. In fact, for most of these people, it’s a non-issue since they don’t experience any symptoms or negative effects from it.
However, in time, an anterior pelvic tilt can pose some problems, such as tight thighs and tight anterior hip muscles. Thus, it pays to fix this before it develops into a bigger pain issue.
What is an Anterior Pelvic Tilt?
Essentially, an anterior pelvic tilt is when your pelvis rotates forward, which can create an arch in your low back. This change in posture will cause the front of the pelvis to tilt up, causing the back of the pelvis to rise.
In fact, this could be a large part of the reason why you might have lower back tightness or even pain.
Some of the most common causes of anterior pelvic tilt include sitting for long periods of time and minimal physical activity. Surprisingly, the average daily lifestyle consists of a lot of sitting, between time in the office and time at home in front of the TV. This can easily result in shortened hip flexors, which can make them weak and tight.
Of course, if you do end up getting discomfort or pain in the lower body, it really is best to check with your physician or doctor to get the right diagnosis in order to reduce the chances of the condition getting any worse.
There are, however, some signs you can look out for to see if you have an anterior pelvic tilt.
What Does an Anterior Pelvic Tilt Look Like?
The forward tilting of the pelvis can change a person’s posture.
Usually the hips will be pushed back, the glutes will stick back to a higher than normal extent and the abdomen will appear to stick out in the front. Ultimately this means that the arch in the lower back is more prominent.
Signs of an Anterior Pelvic Tilt
There are some pretty easy to spot signs of an Anterior Pelvic Tilt, including:
- Chronic lower back tightness
- Lower back pain
- Knee hyperextension while standing
- A low activation of the glute muscles
- Tight hamstring muscles
There is a fairly simple test to see whether you suffer with an anterior pelvic tilt too, which is called the Thomas Test. In fact, physiotherapists and other manual therapists use this test all the time in-clinic to determine if there are issues with an individual’s pelvic alignment and more. Here’s how you do it:
- Sit on the edge of a table
- Lie on the table with your legs hanging by the knee
- Pull one of your legs towards your chest, bending and holding the knee, then try again with the other leg.
The backside of your resting leg should stay in contact with the table when you try to bring the other leg closer to your chest. If the leg that is resting rotates or extends, then it could mean that you are suffering from an anterior pelvic tilt.
Sitting With an Anterior Pelvic Tilt
Of course, the obvious thought process is that, because an anterior pelvic tilt is caused by sitting for long periods of time, moving around and being more active is a good way to counteract it. However, this isn’t always a viable option when you work an office job.
An anterior pelvic tilt can be made a lot worse by sitting incorrectly. Things like exaggerating the arch on the back as you sit can actually increase the inward curve of the spine, causing your pelvis to tilt more than it already was. If you are sitting, it is thus vital to learn how to do it properly to minimize your symptoms.
Squeeze Those Glutes!
When you are sitting, make sure that you are sitting on top of the pointy bones in your bottom, also known as your ischial tuberosity.
The aim is to make sure that you re-angle these sitting bones into a position that is more neutral.
To start with, you will need to squeeze your glutes together. This will help to rotate the pelvis back and then bring it downwards.
If you are smaller, it can hurt your bottom to sit. Thus, you should think about investing in an orthopedic chair cushion or a more ergonomically designed chair.
Engage the Core
You shouldn’t just squeeze the glutes – you should also try to engage your core. It can be really helpful to have a bit of tone in your abdominal muscles as it can aid in neutralizing the pelvis and reducing any severe arches in the lower back.
These two things are both a great way to help fix an anterior pelvic tilt and get a little bit of relief in your lower back.
Unfortunately, however, a lot of people do not maintain this position, which can be an issue over long periods of time.
In these circumstances, it may further be useful to set timers throughout your day as quick reminders to do all of the above.
A normal chair doesn’t usually offer much as far as back support goes. Instead of getting one of those office chairs, opt for an ergonomic office chair. There are various options that are designed to give you a proper posture for those long hours spent working at your desk.
Of course, slouching is natural for human beings but it really is vital to sit in an office chair that will properly support your posture. There are a number of choices these days — some that are even equipped with recliners, so you can lie down and give your back a rest from sitting in front of a computer screen for many hours,
It should be said that while sitting in the right way can help with fixing your anterior pelvic tilt, you generally need to do a lot more than that to reverse it completely. Corrective exercises and stretching are very important here.
Abdominal planks are one of the best exercises to do to fix an anterior pelvic tilt. This plank can strengthen your core without you having to engage and shorten the flexors in your hip.
If you are worried about remaining consistent, set it up as part of your morning routine.
Get it done and out of the way before you start your day. You only really need to do about a minute of planking a day for it to be effective for your anterior pelvic tilt!
Is it Actually Possible to Fix an Anterior Pelvic Tilt?
The short answer is, absolutely! You can correct an anterior pelvic tilt by doing some corrective exercises and making sure that you stretch.
You may need to get massages and physical therapy too (depending on what structures have been impacted, biomechanical issues, and if you’re experiencing pain).
If you do end up having ongoing or severe pain, you should book a visit with your physician or doctor to get the right treatment and diagnosis.
What are the Weakest Muscles in an Anterior Pelvic Tilt?
The main muscles that are weak in an anterior pelvic tilt are the gluteus muscles in the bottom, the hamstrings which are on the backside of the thighs, and the abdominal muscles, which kind of speak for themselves.
This is why if you are sitting a lot in your job it’s important to build healthy movements into your day by scheduling some regular movements in.
Simple things like walking the stairs instead of taking the elevator or standing up every hour or two really can work wonders.
Does it Take a Long Time to Fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt?
Usually, you can fix an anterior pelvic tilt in a couple of weeks or within a couple of months, as long as you have the right treatment and corrective exercises. There really is no definitive answer though, as every person is different.
One thing that can affect how long it takes to recover is how severe the anterior pelvic tilt actually is.
If you’ve been experiencing symptoms for a short while, you’ll potentially need less time to recover than someone that’s been experiencing symptoms for longer.
You should also consider how much work you are putting into fixing the anterior pelvic tilt.
If you do corrective exercises on a daily basis, your recovery time will be faster than someone who’s only doing their corrective exercises once a week.
Fix That Pelvic Tilt!
Ideally, if you have an anterior pelvic tilt, you should reduce the amount of time you spend sitting. Yet, many people don’t have this option. Thus, you may want to explore other ways, such as a visit with a physiotherapist to determine the best way to prevent and eliminate your pain.
Whenever sitting, remember to maintain a good posture and move often, regardless of whether or not you have a pelvic tilt or injury of any kind.