My Tilted Pelvis Caused Me Lower-Back Pain
The last thing I thought I’d have to worry about in my life was to know if my pelvis was tilted or not. The only reason I started paying attention to it was because my lower back started hurting me real bad. Actually, I think it had always hurt. I just didn’t really give it a second thought until recently.
Unfortunately, we often only pay proper attention to something when it starts affecting our daily lives; and by that point, it’s most of the time too late to do anything. Luckily, in this case, it’s not. I assure you it’s not. First of all, I wouldn’t lie to you. And second of all, I wouldn’t be writing this article if that were true. Especially with the things I have going on in my life at the moment, I sure don’t need to waste my time pointlessly by goofing around. There’s just no need for it.
Be happy because you’re about to embark on a fantastic journey, although it won’t be easy, and travel to places you’ve never even dreamed of, opening new realms full of possibilities.
When you suffer from constant pain, as all people with chronic issues know, you get to a point where you have to make that problem your friend—I assure you with the amount of pain and discomfort you might be experiencing it’s in your best interest, or else you pretty quickly risk losing your mind. Of course, all of this happens unconsciously. But your body knows…your body understands what’s best for you, how to protect you. That’s why it will deaden itself in order for you to be able to keep functioning regardless.
The bottom line is that you could have some lower-back issues at this very moment, and not be aware of it. In fact, the way most of us live our lives (sedentary lives) makes it highly likely that you—without even realizing it—suffer from some form of anterior tilted pelvis. I don’t want to come across as overly negative; but, these are the times we’re living in at the moment. As a matter of fact I’d probably have to look real hard to find someone who can claim to not have, or have had, at any point in their existence, an anterior or posterior pelvic tilt.
Yes, I know, it’s sad and it shouldn’t be this way but unfortunately it is.
How Did We All End Up With An Anterior Tilted Pelvis?
We live in a society where we sit a lot, too much some would say. When you stay in a seated position for too long, for hours and hours, you teach your hip-flexors and hamstrings to stay in a shortened state. If this goes on for years and years, it might even evolve to become a chronic condition.
Next thing you know it you’re reading an article on the internet in the hope it can give you some answers as to why and how to correct your anterior tilted pelvis—the tight hip-flexors pull the pelvis forward and the butt, which has been inhibited by too much sitting, can’t activate properly thus making the forward tilt of the pelvis even more pronounced than before (when the hamstrings are overactive, the butt stays inhibited/deactivated. Obviously, there’s an inversely proportional relationship between the two). However when the butt is properly activated, the pelvis turns backwards again.
Note: tight hamstrings do not equal strong hamstrings. In fact, it means the exact opposite: it means they’re weak because they can’t elongate. They’re chronically/permanently tight. A muscle that can’t elongate or tighten when it needs to is a weak muscle.
If you have any or a combination of the following symptoms, you could be suffering from an anterior pelvic tilt:
Trouble sitting on the floor
Knees turn inward when flexing
Understand that It’s not just regular people that need to fix their anterior tilted pelvis, athletes do as well. In fact, It might be even more important to them since their job is on the line.
This condition can affect an athlete and their performance in many different ways:
Increased likelihood of injury
Reduced ability to run, sprint, and jump effectively
Mobility in the whole body reduced, especially in the lower-half
Reduced ability to absorb nutrients
What I Did About It
I decided to go look on the internet for some answers. And as I was searching I ended up on this guy’s YouTube channel—the Kit Laughlin Channel. He was an Australian man I had discovered by accident a while back. And the story with him was that he apparently started his career as a TV producer I believe, but eventually turned to stretching because of his life-long struggle with lower-back pain.
He obviously first tried Yoga and some other similar practices, but nothing worked he says. And so finally he decided: I had enough of this, I’m going to create my own system. And he traveled all over: to India, and who knows where else, to learn about the different techniques, methods and teachings.
Recognizing the need in our society for a simple and effective way to stretch any body part, he came up with “the Kit Laughlin method”. This system has to be the most impressive and unique list of exercises (stretch exercises)I have ever seen. They’re so good. It’s unbelievable, I swear. And he’s a very well-known stretch expert now across the world. And what impressed me the most is that he knew all these fancy exercises and routines to fix all kinds of problems. It’s brilliant, I thought.
So through trial and error I finally discovered which exercises worked and which ones didn’t, and in what order I had to do them, for me to really be able fix this anterior-tilted-pelvis of mine—and I’ve now decided to give some of that knowledge back to the community.
6 Exercises To Fix Anterior Tilted Pelvis
Note: Start all massages with a foam-roller. And as you progress increase the intensity by using a hardball (e.g lacrosse ball)
Note 2: Use this trigger-point guide (article in “further reading” section) to help you find tight spots on the body. Trigger-points are chronic, extremely sensitive and tense points in the muscle. Massage these spots thoroughly until the pain subsides.
Step 1: Lower Back Stretch
You can’t have a normal pelvis position and have a tight lower-back. It‘s just not possible. The tightness in the lower-back tends to shift the pelvis forward; which then affects the hip-flexors, the quads, the hamstrings, etc. It’s important to start stretching there first, otherwise doing the rest of the exercises is going to be a lot more difficult afterwards.
Suggestions: Before stretching, consider massaging the lower-back with a lacrosse ball (video in “further reading” section). This will greatly enhance the effectiveness of the whole exercise. Massage for about 2 minutes on each side, and then proceed to the stretch.
Conclusion: Stretching the lower-back will shift the pelvis backwards a bit and put you in a better position to stretch the hip-flexors, which is the next exercise you will be doing.
Step 2: Hip-Flexor Stretching
Like it has been said before, overly tight and shortened hip-flexors are one of the main causes for an anterior tilted pelvis. As you’ve supposedly now released the lower-back, you should be able to go pretty deeply into the following stretch. This isn’t a regular hip-flexor stretch though; it’s an advanced version—very powerful indeed.
Suggestions: The hip-flexors are very often, in many people, just overly tight and stiff. To remedy this you’ll need to massage yourself with a lacrosse-ball (video in “further reading”) by lying down on it, and moving accordingly. In my experience this is, more often than not, absolutely vital to see significant changes.
Conclusions: By this point, your pelvis should already be fairly straight. And you might be tempted to just abruptly end your journey here. Of course, you could do that. But if you want ultimate flexibility and not have to worry about this issue ever again, then I’d advise you to keep on going with this tutorial.
Step 3: Hamstring stretch
Now that was, for me, one of the most painful yet rewarding stretches I’d ever done in my life. It literally changed my life. Once my hamstrings were loosened-up, my butt just came back to life. And I didn’t even know it had been dead for all this time. The only thing I was sure of was that I now felt my buttocks actually exerting itself, whether I was walking down the street, or engaging in sports, or even if I needed to grab a book on the top shelf—just about in every situation.
I really felt my butt contracting and relaxing, helping me with the activity at hand. It felt like someone had implanted a muscle that wasn’t there before and made me better person in the process, just a completely different sensation. It was truly fantastic.
Suggestions: Like with the previous stretches, a smart thing to do is to massage the hamstrings (video in “further reading”) to help them loosen-up a bit first.
And another important thing to keep in mind (something I wish I had known sooner myself) is that If you feel hip-impingement during the exercise, at any point, that means you need to get back to the previous stretch. If that still doesn’t do it for you, read the article on the “further reading” section on how to fix hip-impingement.
Conclusions: This stretch will re-activate your glutes, and put you in a better position for the next exercise.
Step 4: Adductor Stretching
When the adductors are tight they pull the knee inward, which shifts the pelvis forward. Lets do a quick exercise: stand-up straight, feet shoulder-width apart and stick your butt out to accentuate an anterior pelvic tilt, really exaggerate it. Now bend your knees and watch what happens—your knees will tend to go inward. That’s because of the anterior tilted pelvis which forces the whole leg to turn on the inside. So if we reverse the process and turn your leg to the outside by stretching the adductors, the pelvis should shift backwards where we want it to be.
Suggestions: Massaging the adductors is pretty hard because of where they’re located, on the inside of the leg. But I’ve found a fantastically effective way to do it—you’ll need a kettlebell. Physical therapist Kelly Starrett here explains how to do the kettlebell massage on the adductors (video in “further reading”). I leave you with him.
Conclusions: Your pelvis should be now in a great position. You should be now able to sit on the floor no problem.
Step 5: Quad Stretching
It’s important to stretch the quads because depending on which state they‘re in, it will affect the hip-flexors in either a very good way or a very bad way. Basically if the quads are tight, so will the hip-flexors; so we have to stretch them as well.
Suggestions: You might experience knee pain while doing this stretch because the knee might not be in a good position to begin with. So the first thing to do is to massage the quads (video in “further reading” section) with a foam-roller, and then with a lacrosse-ball. Massage the whole muscle, and of course the knee itself. If that isn’t enough to fix this issue, I kindly redirect you to the following article (in the “further reading” section) on how to stretch the quadriceps—there are a couple of ideas in there that you may find useful.
Conclusions: This stretch is incredible for the hip-flexors as well. As a matter of fact, I highly doubt it that you’ve ever come across something better in your life. Definitely your knee, and hip should feel a lot better than before without question.
Step 6: Piriformis Stretch
It’s interesting to point out the close relationship between the adductors and the piriformis muscle. You wouldn’t think they‘d be connected to each other, because of the distance that separates them. But, if the adductors are tight, you can bet your money on that the piriformis will surely be tight as well.
When I say tight, I mean tense; I don’t mean short. If these muscles are chronically tense, then you could experience what is called as piriformis syndrome (article in “further reading”). The pain that comes with this syndrome is so intense that it can travel from the piriformis muscle, obviously, all the way down the whole leg.
Suggestions: You’ve guessed it—massage the piriformis. You just can’t get away from that. Sit on the floor, and cross your leg on top of the other by placing the ankle on top of the knee. In this position, sit on the foam-roller or the lacrosse ball, lean to the side and roll from the hip to the tailbone (video in “further reading”).
Conclusions: Okay, you should be good to go now. The piriformis is the superior of the deep six external rotators (article in “further reading”). And once it regains its full strength, which it will thanks to this stretch, your sleeping butt will be nothing but a thing of the past.