The first thing Pilates instructors look at for in clients with low back pain is the preferred position of the pelvis. Sometimes relearning a new pattern is all someone needs to relieve chronic discomfort. Find your pelvic position below!
Posterior Pelvic Position
If you are sitting or standing in a posterior tuck the back of the bucket will be lower and water with be spilling down the back of the thighs. Overtime living in this position will put strain on the lower back muscles locking them into a long position that eventually weakens the deep stabilizing muscles of the lumbar spine, most notably the multifidi. Also if there has been any previous injury to the intervertebral discs they will “bulge” into the nerves as they exit the spine potentially creating numbness or tinging down through the legs and even into the toes. Although mostly a dysfunctional position to live in, people with stenosis or spondylolisthesis will actually benefit from flexion which opens the facet joints. What’s right for one back is not right for another!
Lateral Pelvic Tilt
A lateral pelvic tilt occurs when one hip is higher than the other. This can cause discs to bulge to the convex side (left side in picture) and create nerve symptoms on that side. If the right hip is high the muscles that run along the right side of the spine will be become tight and weak and the muscles along the left side of the spine will become locked long, stiff and ineffectual. Not to mention the havoc this can wreak on your SI joint. But that’s another can of worms! Lateral tilts are usually accompanied with pelvic rotation that in turn effect the hips joints and even the knees and feet.
When you can balance the bucket in the center you balance the low back muscles and decrease unnecessary strain that may be causing pain.Creating symmetry in the low back and pelvis can go a long way in alleviating discomfort. Learning to live and move with a more neutral alignment helps to reduce wear and tear on the joints, relieves nerve compression and reduces muscular strain.However, old patterns may take a long time to change. Muscle adapt over time. Be patient and kind to your body.See you at the studio!
Warmly,Halle and the Mongoose Bodyworks Team
Halle Clarke is a 2nd generation master teacher having studied closely with two of the great NYC protégés of Joseph Pilates: Kathy Grant and Romana Krysanowska. Halle opened Mongoose Bodyworks, a boutique Pilates Studio in New York City in 1999 .
As well as training in Pilates Halle has pursued studies in ideokensiology, anatomy , biomechanics, muscle energy technique, trigger point therapy ,neuromuscular re-patterning, Alexander technique, The Feldenkrais Method, Polartity therapy and Cranio-Sacral Therapy. She has additional certifications from the PMA-CPT and ACE. Halle integrates all of her extensive studies of the body into her work as a New York based Pilates Instructor and Teacher Trainer.
She has been conducting Pilates Teacher Trainings for Balanced Body since 2006 both in New York and around the country. Halle has taught Master Pilates classes nationally and internationally, including at The PMA Conference and Mind Body Expo.