Anterior pelvic tilt is a common postural issue that can lead to discomfort, pain, and decreased mobility. It occurs when the front of your pelvis tilts forward, causing an exaggerated curve in your lower back.
This condition can affect people of all ages and activity levels but is particularly common in those who spend long hours sitting at a desk or have poor posture. Fortunately, anterior pelvic tilt can be corrected with a combination of exercises that target the muscles responsible for this imbalance.
In this guide, we will explore what anterior pelvic tilt is, its causes, and eight effective exercises to help you fix it.
What Is Anterior Pelvic Tilt?
Anterior pelvic tilt, also known as "lumbar lordosis" or "swayback," is a common postural misalignment characterized by the forward tilting of the pelvis.
This condition can be observed in individuals whose front pelvis tilts forward, leading to an excessive arch in the lower back while the buttocks protrude.
You might have noticed a few people who walk, keeping the front of the pelvis tilted forward and the lower back arch excessively while their buttocks stick out.
Though you might mock them for the new way of walking, this is not their fault. This is the condition that we call an Anterior Pelvic Tilt (APT).
When the front of the pelvis tilts downward and the rear of the pelvis rises, a person has an anterior pelvic tilt, a postural imbalance.
Everyone, regardless of age or gender, can be susceptible to developing an anterior pelvic tilt, but it may be more prevalent in particular groups.
What Causes Anterior Pelvic Tilt?
The main reason behind your anterior pelvic tilt is often due to your prolonged poor posture. Though physicians have pointed out many other causes behind it, we've listed a few primary ones for your convenience.
1. Previous Underlying Postural Issues
Postural issues, such as chronic slouching or a forward head position, can worsen anterior pelvic tilt. Muscle fatigue and misaligned pelvis are two long-term effects of these.
2. Leading A Sedentary Lifestyle
Prolonged sitting, typical of today's office work, can weaken core strength and promote anterior pelvic tilt. Muscle imbalances and disuse of the glutes and abdominals result from a lack of physical exercise.
3. Imbalanced Muscles
Weak abdominal muscles and overactive hip flexors can cause a pelvic tilt due to muscle imbalance. Lack of exercise or incorrect training methods might also contribute to this discrepancy.
4. Improper Spinal Alignment
A misaligned spine, such as one with an exaggerated lumbar lordosis, can cause the pelvis to shift forward (anterior pelvic tilt). There are two main causes of this misalignment: improper posture and congenital issues.
5. Unfitting Sleeping Routine
Adopting an unsuitable sleeping practice, such as sleeping on one's stomach with one's head rotated to the side, might worsen the predisposing factors that lead to anterior pelvic tilt. If this goes on for too long, it might throw off the pelvis' natural posture.
Symptoms Of Anterior Pelvic Tilt
While this condition can be promptly observed by noticing one’s posture, here are a few major symptoms to keep in mind while self-diagnosing anterior pelvic tilt:
1. Femoroacetabular impingement
The ball of the femoral socket of the femoral joint gets damaged due to increased friction, resulting in pain during movement. In simple words, jogging or running can be extremely painful in this condition.
2. Lower back pain
Patients with anterior pelvic tilt experience pain and aches in their back between the rib cage and pelvis. "Chronic pain related to anterior pelvic tilt can be disabling," says Dipan Patel, a specialist in pain management.
3. Sacroiliac joint pain
Inflammation in the two sacroiliac joints present in the lower back of our body causes pain, which can spread to the buttocks, thighs, and upper back.
4. Weak Gluteus muscles
Weak gluteus maximus muscles can lead to pain in the buttocks and lower back area.
5. Curvature of the lower spine
Curvature of the lower spine occurs due to poor posture and is one of the significant symptoms of anterior pelvic tilt, often accompanied by a protruding stomach.
6. Reduced mobility
Tight hip flexors and weak gluteal muscles can hinder flexibility.
How To Fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt?
Correcting anterior pelvic tilt involves a combination of exercises, stretches, and postural adjustments. Here, we will share a set of exercises that you can do.
Exercise 1: Hip Flexor Stretch
The hip flexor stretch can alleviate anterior pelvic tilt, encourage better posture, and reduce strain in the hip flexor muscles.
- Position yourself in a kneeling position, with one foot in front of the other and your knees at a right angle to each other.
- Keep your back straight and push your hips forward slightly.
- You should feel a stretch in the front of your hips.
- Hold for 20-30 seconds on one side, then switch.
Exercise 2: Glute Bridge
The glute bridge helps correct anterior pelvic tilt by strengthening the gluteal muscles and correcting the lower back.
- Lie on your back on the floor with your feet hip-width apart.
- Keep your knees bent.
- Squeeze your abdominal muscles and engage them throughout the exercise.
- Slowly lift your hips off the floor to form a straight line with your upper body and thighs.
- Hold this position for 10 seconds.
- Slowly lower the body and relax.
Exercise 3: Dead Bug
Strengthening and stabilizing the core via exercises like the Dead Bug is essential for reversing anterior pelvic tilt and can yield visible results within a short period.
- Begin in an upright standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Keep your core muscles tight, then hinge at your hips.
- Bend your knees to about a 90-degree angle.
- Return to the original position.
- Repeat a few times.
Exercise 4: Plank
The plank is an ideal exercise for building strength in the abdominals and lower back, helping to maintain the pelvis in its natural position.
- Lie face down on an exercise mat.
- Place your hands on the mat directly under your shoulders.
- Slowly lift your upper body and thighs off the ground, moving into a push-up position.
- Engage your core muscles and hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds, keeping your body straight.
- Gently lower your body and relax.
- Repeat 15-20 times.
Exercise 5: Bird Dog
The bird dog exercise strengthens the abdominal and back muscles, improving stability.
- Begin on all fours on the ground with your knees under your hips.
- Tighten your core muscles and raise your left arm, reaching it forward until it aligns with your torso.
- Extend your right leg backward until it aligns with your torso.
- Hold this position for 10 seconds and return to the starting pose.
- Repeat the steps with alternate arms and legs.
Exercise 6: Standing Hip Abduction
Hip abduction in a standing position strengthens the hip abductors, aiding in pelvic strength and promoting better posture.
- Stand tall with feet hip-width apart.
- Lift one leg out to the side.
- Keep your leg straight, then lower it back down.
- Perform 10-12 repetitions on each side.
Exercise 7: Wall Sit
The wall sit targets the quadriceps and glutes, improving stability in the lower body and helping to correct pelvic tilt.
- Squat down into a wall-hugging stance, with feet hip-width apart.
- Bend your knees to a 90-degree angle and slide down the wall.
- Try to maintain this posture for at least 30 seconds.
Exercise 8: Pelvic Tilt Correction
By increasing self-awareness and empowering you to take charge of your pelvic alignment, this exercise focuses on correcting anterior pelvic tilt.
- Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent.
- Place your hands where your hip bones would be.
- Flatten your lower back on the floor by tilting your pelvis forward.
- Hold for a few seconds, then release.
- Complete two to three sets of ten to twelve reps each.
Anterior Pelvic Tilt Exercises To Avoid
When dealing with anterior pelvic tilt, it's crucial to avoid specific workouts that might exacerbate the condition. To prevent such mistakes, here are a few exercises to bypass:
1. Sit-Ups And Crunches
Focusing only on abdominal workouts like sit-ups and crunches without strengthening your lower back and deep core muscles can worsen an anteriorly tilted pelvis.
2. Leg Raises
Lifting your legs while lying on your back, as in a leg raise, can strain the hip flexors and worsen a pelvic tilt.
3. Toe Touches
Standing or sitting in a toe-touching position can increase the risk of lower back rounding and hamstring overstretch, both of which can worsen anterior pelvic tilt.
4. Back Extensions
Hyperextending the lower back during back extensions can accentuate the lumbar curvature associated with an anterior pelvic tilt.
How To Fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt While Sleeping?
Correcting anterior pelvic tilt while sleeping often involves adopting a more aligned sleeping position. Start by placing a pillow or cushion beneath your knees and lying on your back.
Additionally, using a body cushion or a rolled-up towel under the lower back can provide support to the lumbar area.
Ensure that your mattress and pillows offer sufficient support to maintain your natural spine curve while sleeping. Avoid sleeping on your stomach, as it can strain your neck and lower back unnecessarily.
How To Fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt While Walking?
You can correct anterior pelvic tilt while walking by using the right body mechanics. To begin, focus on improving your posture. Walk with your head held high, shoulders back, and chest out.
To avoid straining your hip flexors, take shorter steps while walking or running. Smooth out your stride by rolling your feet from heel to toe to reduce the strain on your lower back and hips.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do you get rid of anterior pelvic tilt quickly?
Address it with regular core, glute, and hip flexor workouts and stretches. Maintain an upright position throughout the day and remain mindful of your sitting/working position.
How long does it take to fix anterior pelvic tilt?
Fixing an anterior pelvic tilt might take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. The duration depends on the frequency of corrective exercises and individual characteristics.
Is it possible to reverse anterior pelvic tilt?
Yes, anterior pelvic tilt can be reversed through corrective exercises, posture awareness, and lifestyle modifications.
What is the fastest way to fix anterior pelvic tilt?
Fixing anterior pelvic tilt as quickly as possible requires a customized workout program, good posture, and the guidance of a physical therapist.
As anterior pelvic tilt can worsen over time without appropriate measures, it's crucial to know how to fix it and practice corrective measures consistently.
If you experience any serious concerns, don’t hesitate to seek professional assistance immediately.