What Your Pelvis is Telling You About Your Lower Back Pain


How often do you think about your pelvis?  Yes, that bone structure that supports all the good stuff in your body like your no-no zone.

How many have considered this to be the source of your back pain?

Take into consideration your daily routine.

  • Wake up, then sit down for breakfast.
  • Sit down in the car to drive to work.
  • Sit down at work for 7-8 hours with intermittent trips to the bathroom or the cafeteria.
  • Sit down in the car to drive to home.
  • Sit to eat dinner and watch TV until we go to bed.

A blind person could see a trend here.  Too much sitting.

Now I’m not going to get into sitting is the new cancer or sitting is worse than smoking, that dead horse has been beaten way too much.

What I will get into, is what sitting does to your muscles in and around the pelvis.

Quick anatomy refresher.

THE MONEY MAKER MUSCLES

Legs-muscles

I call these the money makers because without good strength (and with strength comes shape) in the glutes and legs, everyone from pro athletes to strippers would be on the unemployment line.

The main muscles to pay attention to is the butt (glutes), hamstrings and quads (rectus femoris).  Everything else, for our purpose, is negligible.

Pay attention to how the muscles attach to the pelvis/groin area (that white area around his Ken inspired package).  This will help you later.

THE UNSUNG HEROS

Hip Flexors

The hip flexors shown above are the unsung heroes of the money maker muscles.  Try going up stairs or walking for that matter without flexing your hip.  I’ll give you a second to pick yourself up off the floor.

The psoas and iliacus, when contracted move your hip towards your chest.  Or if you were a Street Fighter fan back in the day, the psoas and iliacus could help you do this sweet move.  Bonus points if you can name the character in the comment section.

Sagat's_Tiger_Knee

Imbalances or tightness between any of these muscles I just listed off, results in throwing your pelvis all out of whack.

Take into consideration the following picture.  We are going to focus on the first 2 positions.

Posterior-Anterior-Pelvic-Tilt-and-Swayback2 

 

Anterior tilt (butt out, stomach out, big arch in back)

Weakened Muscles:

In this position, the glutes, hamstrings, abs are all, or at least one, is weak.  Weak glutes and hamstrings are usually cause by inactivity, aka not working your legs.  This position puts added stress to your lower back which will cause back pain.  Ta-Da!

The glutes and hamstrings work to rotate your pelvis backwards to counteract the hip flexors.  Your abs work against the quads to pull the front of your pelvis up towards your chest.

To Strengthen: 

Rather than dragging this on for 30 pages describing each exercise, let’s use the power of video.

Perform these exercises as or in addition to your regular workout 3 times per week.  All can be done at home.

Abs: Planks

Perform 2 sets and hold for as long as you can or until form breaks.

Glutes: Glute Bridges

Perform 3 sets of 10-12.  Start with 2 legs then progress to 1 leg.

Hamstrings: Stability ball hamstring curls

Perform 3 sets of 10-12.  Start with 2 legs then progress to 1 leg.

Tight Muscles:

When you sit, the hip flexors stay contracted until you get up.  Over time, they become accustom to this contracted position and tighten up.  When you get up and have to lean back, yea that’s stretching out your flexors.

The quads are an incredibly strong muscle.  When they are tight, guess where all that force gets directed?   Yes, it’s the pelvis.  This pull on the pelvis coupled with weak glutes and hamstrings drags the front of your pelvis to your knees.

To Loosen:

Perform these stretches daily or at least 5 times a week.  All can be done at home.

Hip Flexors: Lunge

Perform 2 sets and hold for 30 secs each leg.

Quads: Quad stretch

Perform 2 sets and hold for 30 secs each leg.

Overall Loosening up of everything: Walking

Do this as much as you can.

Posterior tilt (butt in, stomach in, flat back)

Weakened Muscles:

In this position, the hip flexors and quads are weak.

To Strengthen:

Perform these exercises as or in addition to your regular workout 3 times per week.  All can be done at home.

Hip Flexors: Hip abduction

Perform 3 sets of 10-12.

Quads: Wall squats

Perform 3 sets of 10-12.  Start with 2 legs then progress to 1 leg.

Tight Muscles:

As you might guess, the tight muscles are the abs, glutes and hamstrings.

To Loosen:

Perform these stretches daily or at least 5 times a week.  All can be done at home.

Abs: Lying ab stretch

Perform 2 sets and hold for 30 secs each.

Glutes: Glute Stretch

Perform 2 sets and hold for 30 secs each.

Hamstrings: Laying Hamstring Stretch

Perform 2 sets and hold for 30 secs each.

Take a minute and look at your profile in the mirror.  Adjust your pants like the picture and assess your situation.

Anterior-Pelvic-Tilt
Anterior pelvic tilt in action.

Does it tilt forward?  This is the most common.  If you have a slight discrepancy (like an inch difference) you are more than likely fine.  The exercises in the anterior tilt section will still do you good.  Being flexible and strong is not a bad thing.

Or do you look like this?

Posterior-Pelvic-Tilt
Posterior pelvic tilt.  I bet she is happy on the inside.

Notice how she is almost leaning back?  That is a symptom of posterior tilting.  Loosening up the glutes and hamstrings will help elevated this.


 

Want these exercises in a pdf so you don’t have to keep coming back here?

Click Here

 


If you liked this article, sign up for the newsletter and share it through Facebook or Twitter below.  The more you share, the more other people will see it.  It would be greatly appreciated. 

Dave