Does Anterior Pelvic Tilt Cause Low Back Pain?

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Having an unnatural tilt in your pelvic area changes the way you stand and move. It can affect your posture and your body profile, but does an anterior tilt result in pain in the lower back as many people claim? Despite this prevailing opinion, science appears to tell a different story.

Anterior Pelvic Tilt Defined

When the pelvic bones tip forward in the front and upward in the back, it’s known as an anterior tilt. Many people blame the condition on the “epidemic” of sitting in today’s culture, claiming the high number of hours spent in chairs has an effect on posture. The angle is usually associated with shortened hip flexors and elongated hip extensors, suggesting an imbalance between the front and back of the body.

What Does It Look Like When Your Pelvis Tilts?

You can see if you have some kind of tilt in your lower body if you stand sideways in front of a mirror. Anterior tilting manifests with a deeper curve in the lower spine. Known as lumbar lordosis, some level of this type of curve is natural. However, when it becomes exaggerated, it can make your stomach appear to push forward slightly and your glutes stick out in the opposite direction. This is what causes most people to look for a solution to the imbalance even if they have no pain associated with the condition.

Pain in the Low Back: The Real Cause

If you do have lower back discomfort, the best thing to do is go to the doctor. A professional can examine every potential cause and provide advice specific to your condition. Assuming a tilted pelvis is the root of your problem could set you back, especially in light of the evidence:

  •  Differences in spinal curvature aren’t shown to correlate with intermittent or chronic low back pain
  •  In studies, lumbar positioning isn’t associated with pain
  •  Anterior tilting and pain show little or no correlation
  •  Differences in the degree of lumbar lordosis don’t appear to result in discomfort

A few studies have shown a connection between pain and spinal curvature or tilting in the pelvis, but these show the pain may cause the lack of proper alignment instead of the other way around.

Is it Worth the Effort to Correct a Tilting Pelvis?

You can find a large library of exercises claiming to correct the cosmetic issues associated with anterior tilting, but most of the advice boils down to learning to stand up straighter and paying better attention to the position of your pelvis. Since they all address the tilt itself and not the source of discomfort, few of these exercises are able to ease pain in the lower areas of your back. It doesn’t hurt to try the stretches if all you want is better posture, but true pain management requires a medical approach.

Don’t assume the pain in the lower part of your back is the result of a tilted pelvis. According to the science, anterior tilting has little to do with how your back feels. Instead of doing every exercise you find on the internet, talk with your doctor about a real plan for pain relief. You’ll be better off following professional guidance than dubious wellness advice lacking the support of scientific evidence.

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