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Yoga for Back Pain - Pelvic Tilts

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Updated May 09, 2011

The Pelvic Tilt:

The pelvic tilt is a classic therapeutic exercise used to strengthen abdominals, and stabilize posture by developing the core muscles of the body. The pelvic tilt is a move that can be found in yoga, pilates, physical therapy and other exercise systems. While there are variations on the pelvic tilt, the move is the same. About's Yoga editor, Ann Pizer, has a simple description on how to do a pelvic tilt, complete with an animated illustration. And here is my - non-yoga - version.

The Pelvic Tilt in Rehabilitation:

The pelvic tilt is often used in early stages of rehab, when it is appropriate that the patient begin exercising. This is because it is a gentle way to:
  • wake up the nerves in the coreposture muscles that live in the pelvis
  • begin to strengthen those muscles, which in turn stabilizes the low back
  • stretch tight muscles around the hip, for example, the hamstrings, psoas and/or quadriceps.

How the Pelvic Tilt Works to Stabilize Back Posture:

The movement of the pelvic tilt travels back and forth from lordosis to a flat back. By performing pelvic tilts, the pelvis and low back vertebrae can experience the full range of movement in the forward and back direction. The muscle strength developed from doing pelvic tilts allows you to reach the end range of these low back postures. This, in turn, develops the ability to maintain ideal low back posture, a position somewhere inbetween.

Types of Back Problems Benefited by Pelvic Tilts:

The pelvic tilt is a good exercise for nearly every kind of low back problem. It is a staple therapeutic exercise. In particular, pelvic tilts can be used for postural problems, low back pain due to pregnancy, and to strengthen the diastasis rectus post partum.

Muscle Usage for Best Results:

Some versions of the pelvic tilt emphasize using buttock muscles to "get you there". By performing the pelvic tilt this way, the movement is less subtle than if you were to let go of gripping and use the abdominals instead. Focusing on abdominal work to provide the movement of the pelvis will go a long way toward low back stabilization by:
  • strenghtening the deep muscles of posture
  • encouraging a balance of strength throughout the muscles of the pelvis.

Bibliography:


1 Kisner, Carolyn and Colby, Lynn Allen. Therapeutic Exercise Foundations and Techniques. 4th ed. 2002. F.A. Davis Company. Philadelphia, Pa.

2. Kendall, Florence Peterson, McCreary, Elizabeth Kendall and Provance, Patricia Geise. Muscles Testing and Function 4th ed. 1993. Williams & Wilkins, A Waverly Company. Baltimore, Maryland.
Related Video
Stretches to Reduce and Prevent Neck Pain
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