I recently attended a 2-day workshop all about the pelvis and hip joint. It was taught by the Postural Restoration Institute (PRI.) While the workshop was geared towards physical therapists, there were a few personal trainers in the room. I think I held my own pretty well! We went deep talking about this one body part, so I learned a lot and will share some of that with you.
- Humans are predisposed to move in a pattern of compensation due to several factors. One, the anatomy of our bodies is asymmetrical. For example, our heart sits on the left side of our body. And our diaphragm is bigger on the right side of our body. Two, our bodies are heavier on the right side and gravity pulls it down. Third, our left brain has more neuromuscular control than the right brain.
- If you’ve been reading my newsletter or blog for a while, you’ve no doubt heard me talk about anterior pelvic tilt. Prior to taking this course, I thought anterior pelvic tilt meant both sides of your pelvis tip forward. It turns out that only one side of your pelvis can tilt forward and you can still have an anterior pelvic tilt.
- I learned a new way to assess my clients for anterior pelvic tilt and I learned to interpret the results of another common assessment I do differently. I now understand the difference between hip flexor muscles being overstretched versus hip ligaments being overstretched. Overstretched muscles can be strengthened fairly easily, but overstretched ligaments are likely permanent because ligaments don’t have the same elasticity as muscles. In the case of lax ligaments, training the surrounding muscles to provide stability becomes very important since the ligaments aren’t able to.
- There were 40 of us in attendance and we all did assessments on each other to see who has a neutral pelvis. 1 person had proper pelvis alignment. One. And he had been through the assessment prior to the workshop and had a head start on improving his posture. So, even personal trainers and physical therapists have some work to do to correct our muscular imbalances.
- These muscular imbalances start in adolescence (which explains why I see so many tweens and teens with anterior pelvic tilt.)
- Standing with your weight shifted over one leg and your hip jutting out to one side is a compensation. You are putting yourself into a pattern of muscular imbalance.
- Only 3% of people actually have a longer leg than the other. In many cases, the right leg appears to be longer because the pelvis is rotated to the right. Restore the pelvis position and the legs become equal in length again.
- Snapping Hip Syndrome is real. My left hip makes a hollow, popping sound when I extend my hip. I have a couple clients whose hip makes the same sound. I never knew the condition had a name in the clinical setting. If your hip clicks like mine, we probably have that ligamentous laxity I was talking about above. Yikes!
- Other conditions that can occur due to a misaligned pelvis and hip joint are hip bursitis, shin splints, hamstring pulls, knee pain, hip impingement, and pelvic floor pain.
This seems like all doom and gloom, right? Well, I did learn a whole bunch of exercises to address these imbalances, syndromes, conditions, etc. It takes low-intensity resistance work to correct, but can be improved! If you have someone in your area who has been through the PRI training, I urge you to schedule an appointment with them.