Anterior Pelvic Tilt - Is It Causing You Injury?
An anterior pelvic tilt has long been attributed to numerous injuries, namely lower back pain but also various hip and groin injuries, knee injuries etc. Now whilst it's true that some injuries can be maintained by an excessive anterior pelvic tilt, I think it's gotten a lot of bad press and I often have people come to see me in the clinic fretting about their pelvic tilt. So I'm going to clarify a few things - what is it, to what extent it does or doesn't impact injuries, and how you can 'reduce' it.
What is it?
Anterior pelvic tilt is a slight forward tilting of the pelvis that as you can see from the below picture, creates an increase in the curve of the lower back. It is associated with shortened hip flexors and shortened tight lower back muscles and conversely weaker/lengthened hamstrings and core. The scaremongering good posture vs. bad posture picture below is exactly why I have chosen to write this blog post!
Anterior pelvic tilt is normal anatomical variation, some of us rest in a more neutral pelvis, some with more of a posterior pelvic tilt and some with anterior pelvic tilt. Right now most of you can stand up and tilt your pelvis back and forth, many of you will know this already from instructions in yoga or pilates to tuck under with your pelvis or being asked to squeeze your pubic bone up towards your belly button to create more of a posterior pelvic tilt. If you have more of an anterior pelvic tilt at rest, it does not mean you are going to be bombarded with injuries for the rest of your life, not at all. Some of us are just built this way. What IS important is that you have the strength and flexibility to maintain a posterior pelvic tilt when you need it. What does that mean? it means that when you do a back bend in yoga that you have good enough strength and flexibility to hold a posterior pelvic tilt to effectively use your core and avoid compressing your lower back. Exactly the same goes for abdominal exercises when you're lying on your back - some people experience pinching in the lower back as they do this, this is often because they are struggling to perform the exercise whilst maintaining good form i.e. holding a more neutral pelvis or posterior pelvic tilt.
So to summarise - neutral pelvis is fine, posterior pelvic tilt is fine, anterior pelvic tilt is fine, ALL FINE - so long as things are not so tight that you are unable to change the pelvic tilt for certain activities when required.