All in The Hips: The Importance of Pelvic Alignment
By Emily Lindholm
When we are thinking in terms of our bodies, how many of us often think about hip alignment? You hear a lot about posture and shoulder placement, core strength, muscle flexibility, and general joint health. I've never heard anyone say in any setting, "I really need a hip adjustment."
I never paid much attention to my own hip alignment until I started training in Pilates, but I did have at least three chiropractors over time tell me that my hips were severely out of line. The first time I ever heard this was when I went to see a chiropractor for some bothersome back pain I had been experiencing for quite some time. The first thing he said to me was, "watch your strides, you've got uneven hips."
When the Hips Are Out of Alignment
For me, it made sense that my hips were out of line, considering that I was a dancer for many years and favored one side greatly. I never thought about the fact that lifting my right leg over and over again without balancing out both sides would lead to problems with my back. We don't know what we don't know, right?
The truth is, our hips are the link between the upper body and lower body. Poor pelvic alignment leads to stress on the spine and can lead to lower back pain in particular. When the hips are out of alignment, it can actually create one leg to seem shorter than the other.
There are several ways the hips can be misaligned. The pelvis can be tilted one of two ways.
- Anterior tilt - Pelvis tilted forward, the hips bones pointing diagonally towards the ground, leading to tight hip flexors, weak hamstrings, and elongated lumbar spine
- Posterior tilt - Pelvis tilted backward with the hips bones in the front pointing upwards, leading to tight gluteus muscles, elongated hip flexors, and flattened lumbar spine
Another way the pelvis can be out of alignment is by rotation. Sometimes the pelvis can be rotated more to the right or left. More often than not, there is a mixture, the pelvis having an anterior or posterior tilt, accompanied by a rotation toward one side. Think of the hips as the foundation of the spine. You wouldn't want a crooked foundation on a house, and you certainly don't want your spine to have a crooked foundation either.
Working With a Chiropractor for Pelvic Alignment
A chiropractor can help you begin working back towards achieving a neutral pelvis. What is a neutral pelvis? Neutral is the position we want the pelvis to be in. The characteristics of a neutral pelvis include the ASIS (front hip bones) and PSIS (back hip bones) lined up in the same plane as if they are parallel with the floor.
When your pelvis is in neutral alignment, there is no more strain on the spine caused by pelvic misalignment, and your posture may improve. Your chiropractor can give you adjustments to work toward pelvic alignment and also suggest exercises to do at home.
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Gainesville, Ga.