Yoga and Anterior Pelvic Tilt
By Dr Carla Cupido • May 5th, 2009 • 17913 Views
The anterior pelvic tilt is a hot topic in yoga and in manual medicine. Some people are overly concerned about the fact that their pelvis is tilting anteriorly without even understanding what it means. Let’s simplify the issues behind this increasingly common postural variation and learn how it can affect other parts of our body.
A normal pelvic angle is 30°; this means that our posterior superior iliac spines (the dimples above our bottoms) are slightly higher than our anterior superior iliac spines (the bones that stick out at the front of our pelvis). This angle can vary a few degrees either anteriorly or posteriorly due to our genetic makeup and even temporarily due to tight and/or weak muscles. An anterior pelvic angle of 40° is considered excessive and will produce a lower back (lumbar spine) curve that is also extreme. Our lumbar spine should have an anterior curve which is known as a lordosis; however, when this curve is excessive it is known as a hyperlordosis, which is not ideal. Cases of increased pelvic angles and lumbar hyperlordoses are very prevalent in today’s society.
Causes of increased lumbar lordosis include:
1. Postural deformity
2. Lax muscles, especially the abdominal muscles in combination with tight muscles, especially hip flexors or lumbar extensors
3. A heavy abdomen, resulting from excess weight or pregnancy
4. Compensatory mechanisms that result from another deformity, such as an increased curve in the thoracic spine (mid-back)
5. Hip flexion contracture
6. Spondylolisthesis (displacement of the vertebra above with relation to the vertebra below)
7. Congenital problems, such as bilateral congenital dislocation of the hip
8. Fashion (e.g., wearing high-heeled shoes)
Magee, J. David. Orthopedic Physical Assessment: Fourth Edition. Saunders. Toronto. 2002.
Cause number two from the list above is the reason that affects most. The majority of the population sits for at least eight hours a day while hunched over a desk at work; this can lead to a generic condition known as lower cross syndrome. This disorder consists of the following muscular issues:
Weak or inhibited gluteal muscles and abdominals & Tight and shortened hip flexors and lumbar extensors