Your pelvis is the center of your body, which means it’s connected to many other parts. A pelvis that is considered normal or “neutral” is level and parallel to the floor. If it becomes misaligned, it can cause side-to-side instability and pain in other areas of the body such as your back, knees, and even shoulders.
A pelvis that is out of alignment can cause sacroiliac (SI) joint pain that can extend into the buttocks and down the leg in some cases. A misaligned pelvis can also lead to piriformis syndrome, which occurs when the piriformis muscle, a small muscle in the buttocks, irritates the sciatic nerve. Another problem caused by a pelvic tilt is sciatica, a condition characterized by pain shooting down the leg from the lower back.
There are many reasons why you might have a misaligned pelvis, and your legs being two different lengths in most likely not one of them. Let’s look at a few small things that can cause pelvic misalignment.
Sitting. Your body’s muscles, tendons, and ligaments are all connected. They allow your body to move and keep your parts in place. The muscles around your pelvis and spine may become strained from sitting for too long on a daily basis.
Recently, more and more studies have found a connection between sitting and health problems, including back pain that could be caused by a misaligned pelvis. If you often sit for long periods of time throughout the day, be sure to get up and walk around for a minute or so every 30 minutes.
Poor Posture. Poor posture can contribute to pelvic misalignment whether you are sitting or standing, and a misaligned pelvis can contribute to poor posture, making for a vicious cycle. When your posture and alignment are off, your body starts to compensate in order to support itself. These small compensations can cause strain and tension in other areas of the body, causing a domino effect.
It’s almost impossible to have perfect posture all the time, but you can try to correct yourself whenever you notice that you are slumping or favoring one side or the other. To correct poor posture, lengthen your spine, pull your shoulders back, and pull your lower belly in slightly to engage your core. If you’re sitting at a computer, try to stack your head directly over your spine rather than sticking your chin out. This should alleviate back pain and engage the core, which protects your lower back.
Muscular Injuries. Injuries like pulled muscles can pull the pelvis out of alignment as well. The pelvis is attached to many other bones in the body by muscles and tendons; a muscle strain or tear can directly affect the position of your hips.
Just like with poor posture, the body may start to compensate for an injury (sometimes even after it seems to have healed) causing problems elsewhere. Be sure to consult your doctor whenever you think you might’ve injured a muscle or tendon so that you can help it properly heal.
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