If I had to describe modern lifestyle and work in one word, it would be ‘Sitting.’
Just think about it… you get up in the morning, get ready and take a car, or taxi, or bus to work, while sitting. You reach your office and get to work, while sitting. Fraught with deadlines, you sometimes forget to take a break, and even lunch might be eaten at your desk, while sitting. If perchance, you do go out to eat, you still do it sitting. You get off work, take the car/taxi/bus back home, while sitting. Have your dinner and maybe some entertainment, while sitting and then you go to sleep.
The next day is just a repetition unless it’s the weekend, and you are sitting at home doing a number of things. This entire process might not seem as tiring as reading the above paragraph, but you get my point.
We are sitting most of the time, and even if we find some time to exercise, is it enough to counter being immobile for such long stretches of time at once? You might think so, but not your body.
What your body does know is that when you live such a sedentary lifestyle, you are focusing your entire weight on the same two muscles and bones and neglecting others. While the neglected bones and muscles grow weaker, the overused ones develop numerous issues as well. You might be well aware of these issues as they are more common in the workforce than fishes in the ocean.
Yes, I am talking about the back and neck pain, spine-related troubles, pain in hips and swelling in legs due to poor circulation, and many other problems that have their root cause in sitting for long stretches of time. One of these problems is the Anterior Pelvic Tilt, which is the forward tilting of the pelvis and causes a number of problems of its own.
Table of Contents
- What is Anterior Pelvic Tilt?
- How Does Anterior Pelvic Tilt Affect You?
- How to Know if You are Suffering from Anterior Pelvic Tilt?
- How to Fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt While Sitting?
- What Else Can You Do to Improve the Condition?
- How to Sleep with Anterior Pelvic Tilt?
- The Bottom Line
What is Anterior Pelvic Tilt?
Anterior Pelvic Tilt is the forward rotation of the pelvis, causing the bone to lower on the front end while rising in the back. It may not be very clear initially but eventually, even the way you stand changes if you happen to suffer from Anterior Pelvic Tilt. And trust me, having that kind of posture even while walking is not good at all – not for your body and not for your first impressions.
Though at times, people suffering from Anterior Pelvic Tilt might not initially know it for a while, because most of its symptoms can pass off as being a result of bad posture. These symptoms include lower back pain, hip pain, and unusual tightening of thigh and hip muscles. Some may not even show these symptoms at all. Then how to make sure? For this, first, we will have to understand what exactly happens in our body in the case of an Anterior Pelvic Tilt.
How Does Anterior Pelvic Tilt Affect You?
As we already know, the root cause of Anterior Pelvic Tilt is sitting for long periods without much movement. Bad posture, too, contributes its own fair share, but the problem starts to get worse when we actually become aware of our bad posture. When we slouch, our spine curves outward and puts pressure on the pelvis too. We become aware of our slouching, and in a bid to ‘correct’ our posture, we stick our pelvis to the back of the chair and curve the spine inwards.
We might think that we are sitting straight, but in reality, we are pushing our spine inwards, disrupting its natural curve while at the same time, tilting the pelvis forward and putting it under undue pressure at an unhealthy angle.
Instead of sitting on the pelvis, we make it lean drastically to one side, and as time passes, our bones adapt to it and stay tilted forward even when we are standing, leading our entire posture to derail. Just imagine a person standing with their spine curved inward while the pelvis kind of sticking out from behind, making it seem like they are always leaning forward and in an awkward pose too.
This is what Anterior Pelvic Tilt does if left unattended for a long time. But this awkward posture isn’t the only effect it has on our body. Like a dominoes effect, one bad posture leads to other myriad problems in our whole body, one after the other. Your abdominal and gluteal muscles grow weak, and so do your hamstring muscles, which leads to an imbalance in knee muscle strength, decreased mobility of hips, and disruption of the overall balance of our body.
How to Know if You Are Suffering from Anterior Pelvic Tilt?
Since most of the symptoms related to Anterior Pelvic Tilt are the same as those of other posture-related conditions, it might be a bit difficult to discern what the actual problem is. Not to forget that sometimes there are almost no symptoms that point towards this specific condition. Then how to know if you are actually suffering from Anterior Pelvic Tilt?
The answer lies within a simple exercise you can use to discern the state of your muscles and the apparent cause behind it. This exercise is known as the Thomas Test and can be completed in just a few simple steps.
- Lie down on a table or flat surface with an edge.
- Make sure you are lying down completely flat with your knees and legs hanging from the edge.
- Pull one of your legs by the knee and bring it to touch your chest.
- Do it with both legs one by one, a few times.
- When you bend one leg up to your chest, the other one should be completely flat, touching the surface.
- If you can’t bring your one leg up without also moving the other in some way, like changing the position a bit or raising it a little, it shows that your thigh muscles are tight.
Tight thigh muscles can be an indication that your pelvis isn’t in the natural position and might be tilted. But this is just a simple test, so don’t take it as a complete diagnosis. Visit a doctor for a proper check-up and further instructions. That doesn’t mean you can’t do anything by yourself though! Once the diagnosis is official, there are many small changes you can make and tips you can follow to improve your condition, even while sitting.
How to Fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt While Sitting?
Anterior Pelvic Tilt is a result of sitting for long hours in the wrong posture while working away and not moving much. So the first thing that naturally comes to mind, in order to improve the condition and not aggravate it further, is to stop sitting around so much and get moving. While the thought is right, in a lifestyle where desk-work has taken precedence, doing this is almost never possible.
We can’t avoid sitting in most of the conditions; however, some special measures can be taken. If you work with a lot of other people in the vicinity, you need to think of something that won’t affect the work of those around you. But don’t worry, we have just the thing for you! A way to sit so that you actually get some relief without making any big movements. Just follow these simple steps:
- Sit on your pointy bones – the two protruding points in your pelvis is where you should come in contact with the chair. They are made to bear the weight and support the body.
- Make sure that your pelvis isn’t sticking out while sitting, tuck it in, and sit straight. But saying is a lot easier than doing, and if it’s your first time trying this, you might find it a bit hard to get an idea. In that case, squeeze your butt as much and as hard as you can.
- Also, squeeze your core and abdominal muscles at the same time you squeeze your butt. You can check if you have done it correctly by poking a finger in your abdominal muscles to ascertain whether they are tight or not. If the finger doesn’t really sink in and is actually bounced back, you are on the right track and continue to proceed.
- Once your butt and core muscles are squeezed tightly, hold this position. You might not realize, but at this time, your pelvis is already in a neutral position, which is the best.
- Because of using hip and core muscles to support the weight instead of the lower spine, your body is properly supported now and is in the right posture, with your pelvis resting straight on the chair without tilting and holding on to the neutral position.
- Now that you got the hang of the correct position, you can relax your muscles a bit.
- But pay attention to not let go completely, since your body has already adapted to the wrong position, if you relax completely, it will eventually slip back into that. So relax but not totally and consciously hold on to the position, at least till your body adapts to it.
What this position does, apart from bringing the pelvis into a neutral position, is strengthen your core/abdominal muscles along with hamstrings and gluteal muscles, which are responsible for a lot of your lower body movements. Your hip movements, knee muscles, and the ability to bear external weight are all connected to these sets of muscles, and strengthening them would naturally have a positive effect on your lower body, making it unlikely to suffer because of bad posture.
Of course, strengthening core muscles takes a lot more than just getting into a neutral position. You need to exercise and stretch and make a few lifestyle changes as well, but that is for the next section. So let’s get back to seeing how sitting can help fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt. The neutral position is just the start, and there are a few more things you can do:
Having an Ergonomic Office Chair
- Buy a good ergonomic chair to sit because it can provide you the needed support in order to train your hip muscles and still continue with your work without much distraction or discomfort.
Making Sure Your Chair is Well-Padded
- Since you are sitting in a neutral position, most of your weight is upon the two pointy muscles in your hips, and it might get a tad bit uncomfortable if your chair is too hard or you are on the thinner side. So getting a chair which is well-padded would be a good choice.
Exploring Other Chair Options
- If you aren’t sure whether another office chair would help, you can always go for a saddle stool. It is specially designed to promote good posture and mobility. And though it doesn’t support the neutral position, its Waterfall Effect is pretty good in itself and might help in avoiding your pelvis from being tilted due to bad posture.
Exploring Other Sitting Options
- But when it comes to sitting, it doesn’t always have to be a chair. The ground is our friend and a non-constraining one as well, unlike the chair. So if you work from home or a place that isn’t too particular on etiquettes and such, you can try sitting on the ground. It is more open than a chair, so you can sit in whichever way you feel most comfortable, and the ground might even be more comfortable. If not, you can always use a cushion!
So all these points are to improve your condition while ‘sitting’ but there are many more things you can try when you are not constrained by work, to improve and even correct an Anterior Pelvic Tilt. Which brings us to….
What Else Can You Do to Improve the Condition?
Just sitting around won’t do! If you want to overcome something, you must take the initiative to act. Be active, and while following the doctor’s advice, you can try these things to fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt:
Move Around As Much As You Can
The main reason why your pelvis would suffer from a tilt is not only sitting for hours upon hours, but also being in a posture that is ignorant in its awareness. So move and move around as much as you can! Go for short walks between work, run to the nearby cafe on break, go around on your day off instead of sitting at home no matter how tired you are.
Work your body to the maximum with an active lifestyle, walk to places instead of driving there, and don’t settle down. In short, be as active as you can. Mobility is our friend, and our body is made to move instead of staying put. The more active you are, the more your body relaxes. A relaxed body is in the most natural state, and any built-up tension is released easily.
Moving around means better circulation and more oxygen for your cells. Your cells are capable of self-healing and just need a conducive state to do so. Being active is just what they need, and a lot of minor health issues can be resolved just like that.
This one is somewhat different from the previous point due to the fact that while that was more of a general way to handle things, this one is specifically for dealing with Anterior Pelvic Tilt. There are specific exercises and stretches that you are advised to do if you want to correct a pelvic tilt.
These exercises help in relaxing hip muscles and making them more flexible and strengthening the hamstrings and gluteal muscles along with the abdominal and core muscles. All these muscles are closely associated with our pelvis and lower body. Thus working them out would have a great effect on our recovery.
Squats, too, are a recommended and beneficial exercise when it comes to pelvic tilt. As convenient as they are, squats engage most of the body and help in strengthening all the relevant muscles, including the hamstrings, gluteus muscles, and also other hip and leg muscles. In fact, just sitting in a squatting position is good for our pelvis.
Use Stand-Up Desks
We have seen all the ways to make ourselves feel better while sitting down when suffering from Anterior Pelvic Tilt, despite sitting being one of the main forces behind it as it can’t be helped in a regular working environment. But why sit, if you could work just as efficiently standing up?
Stand-Up desks have been really popular in the past few years and with good reason too. They adjust to whatever height you prefer, and you can continue working just as comfortably, without constraining yourself to a chair. There is freedom of movement, and your pelvis doesn’t have to bear the brunt of a sedentary lifestyle any longer.
The saddle stools mentioned previously in this article go really well with these Stand-Up desks, and you can switch to working while sitting to standing seamlessly and at your leisure. The body gets ample space to move, and your blood circulation improves too.
A Few Lifestyle Changes
At the very beginning of this article, we took a look at how our lifestyle has come to revolve more and more around ‘sitting.’ Sitting at home, in the car, in the office, in malls, in cafes, or any other places we might visit on a regular day. This is clearly detrimental to our health, and only by switching to a more active lifestyle can we counter all the problems we face due to sitting for long hours.
These changes can be anything, from swimming more to walking to work instead of driving, taking out time for a few simple exercises and stretches to eating food that promotes metabolism, and anything you can think of that will help your body feel a little lighter, and you, a little healthier. Even a small change in the right direction can lead to great benefits when it comes to living. So don’t be afraid of going out of your way once in a while and be more proactive. It will do you good.
How to Sleep with Anterior Pelvic Tilt?
Your sleeping positions can either greatly help with anterior pelvic tilt or can make it worse, depending on how you choose to sleep. Sleeping in the right position is part of training your muscles to maintain a neutral pelvis position.
Why the Sleep Position Matters?
The amount of time you sleep is the amount of time you retain a certain position, and the way you sleep trains your muscles to respond in a certain way.
- If you go to sleep in a position, you will spend most of the night sleeping in the same position, and if you sleep with your pelvis in an anterior tilt, for the whole night, the muscles will hold the tilt.
- If you sleep for seven hours, that is seven hours of anterior pelvic tilt training overnight.
How to Sleep?
Putting your pelvis in a neutral position is the key to improve your pelvic tilt while sleeping.
- When sleeping on your back, putting a pillow under your knees can correct your pelvic tilt, putting it in the neutral position. This also releases tense lower back muscles, comforting your lower back.
- Placing your hips on a pillow when sleeping on the stomach, too, can straighten the body curve, helping you with the tilted pelvis.
- Side sleepers can easily go into the baby sleeping position; if that’s the case, nothing else needs to be done as the position helps greatly with the Anterior Pelvic Tilt, bringing the pelvis in a more neutral position.
How Not to Sleep?
Avoid such sleeping positions that could worsen your Anterior Pelvic Tilt.
- Sleeping on your stomach poses a greater risk of encouraging the anterior tilt, as your stomach can sink in the bed, excessively curving the lower back inwards.
- It gets worse if you happen to have a soft bed, or even worse if your bed is an uneven one.
The Bottom Line
There are many different ways of approaching a problem, and no matter what it is, a problem always has a solution. As long as you take the initiative to figure it out, there is nothing that you can’t change, including yourself. So even if habits formed through years are presenting new issues every other day, being proactive in tackling them would always work in your favor.
Though Anterior Pelvic Tilt isn’t something you can take lightly because of its long term effects on your body, it is perfectly treatable, and there is nothing to be afraid of as long as you are aware of your own situation and are cautious in dealing with it.
Exercising, changing furniture or changing lifestyle, anything and everything will work for you, so long you don’t give up on yourself and take charge of your body in your hands. After all, you know the best what’s right for you, and in case you feel a little lost, don’t worry, I will be here to guide you through it with even more tips.