How to fix a Lateral Pelvic Tilt(LPT)

If you’ve come to this post, you’ve probably noticed that one of your hips is higher than the other. Do you have one longer leg than the other? So, which one is it? Is your longer leg responsible for your uneven hips, or were you simply born with them? There may be a variety of causes for your one hip being higher than the other, but one common reason is a postural issue known as a “lateral pelvic tilt.” This is owing to muscular imbalances in your body, which cause one side of the hip to be higher than the other.

The body will never be perfectly symmetrical over time and may move out of the norm depending on how you hold and utilize your body throughout your life. The unevenness is anticipated and entirely acceptable. However, there may be instances when too much asymmetry develops, such as in the scenario of a severe lateral pelvic tilt. Too much asymmetry may put you at risk of injury, limit your mobility, and negatively influence your overall physical performance.

If you believe you have a lateral pelvic tilt, you should act immediately to correct it so that future problems don’t develop. The good news is that most lateral pelvic tilt problems may be addressed by simple stretching, self-massage, and corrective lateral pelvic tilt exercises that anybody can perform at home.

In this post, I’ll share some of the studies I’ve conducted while attempting to understand this issue, especially on how to fix it. Take everything you read with a pinch of salt because I’m not a doctor or a qualified health expert. I’m just laying out the finest information I’ve found about it in my research. I’ve observed that one of my hips is higher than the other, and I’d want to address it as soon as practical by utilizing basic lateral pelvic tilt exercises and stretches, all of which you will discover in this post.

What is a Lateral Pelvic Tilt?

A lateral pelvic tilt (LPT) is an easily recognized postural fault in which the pelvis is tilted to one side. Individuals with this condition have one side of the hip region sitting lower than the other. Scoliosis and leg length discrepancy are two common reasons for a lateral pelvic tilt, but poor posture is one of the most common causes of this postural variance. To understand how bad posture affects a lateral pelvic tilt, it’s crucial to consider how the pelvis is constructed. The pelvic bone resides above the thigh bones (femurs) and is supported by a network of muscles that aid in hip stability and range of movement of the legs.

These muscles and ligaments are:

  • Adductors
  • Gluteus medius
  • Obliques
  • Quadratus lumborum (QL)
  • Tensor fascia lata (TFL)

A lateral pelvic tilt develops when one or more of these muscles are misaligned, whether owing to injury, tightness, weakness, or overuse. A lateral pelvic tilt(LPT) is caused by the spasm and shortening of the gluteus medius, adductors, and quadratus lumborum on one side of the body while at the same time weakening and elongating those muscles on the other side of the body (don’t worry about it; it’ll be explained in greater detail later!). The term “lateral pelvic tilt” refers to a lateral imbalance in the body that causes the pelvis to deviate laterally or raise up on one side.

Symptoms of a Lateral Pelvic Tilt

Structural Symptoms

One hip is raised more than the other, and a lateral pelvic tilt can cause a major chain reaction that reverberates up and down the body. The following are a few of the structural signs:

– Uneven Hips & Gait

The most apparent indication of a lateral pelvic tilt is a lopsided gait or walk as a result of one hip dropping lower than the other.

– Uneven Shoulder Heights

From the diagram above, you can see how a higher hip will typically result in a lower shoulder on the same side as the other. When the pelvis is laterally tilted, it can make someone believe that they have uneven shoulders when the problem is with their relatively tilted pelvis.

– Apparent Leg Length Discrepancies

A lateral pelvic tilt is frequently mistaken for leg length discrepancy, which is another term for the same problem. A lateral pelvic tilt can make one believe that one leg is longer than the other or shorter. This is a myth since the tilt in the pelvis gives the sensation that the higher-leg hip is longer because the other leg doesn’t reach the ground when you stand. In many situations, one leg may be longer than the other. Most cases of leg length difference are due to a muscular imbalance.

In actuality, it is estimated that less than 30% of leg length discrepancy instances are caused by natural anatomical leg length differences (“actual” leg length). Most leg length discrepancy cases are deemed functional, implying that the difference in leg length is due to lifestyle elements such as poor walking, standing, running, or sitting. The easiest way to rule out a genuine leg length difference is to take both legs’ measurements.

If you do have a genuine leg length difference, the lateral pelvic tilt exercises in this article will probably be ineffective, and you should seek medical help.

– Internal Rotation of the Leg

Looking at the illustration again, you may see that because of a lateral pelvic tilt, the bones of the leg rotate internally. It’s also conceivable that the internal rotation of the leg is responsible for the lateral pelvic tilt rather than a consequence. If it’s the reason, it all begins with the foot. The foot will usually be pronated, which means it is rolled inward at the ankle. This might be a flat foot or a collapsed arch. When one foot is pronated, the shin bones and femur rotate inward, causing the hip to drop.

Other Symptoms

Mild to severe instances of lateral pelvic tilt typically do not produce any apparent symptoms, but severe or persistent cases of LPT can generate muscular tightness and lower back discomfort.

A lateral pelvic tilt can develop into more serious medical conditions if left unchecked, including:

  • Disc degeneration – According to a recent study, lateral pelvic tilt is thought to cause disc degeneration by distorting the lumbar spine. According to one research, Individuals with a high degree of pelvic tilt were found to have a greater chance of disc degeneration in the L4 to L5 portion of the lumbar spine, regardless of age or gender.
  • Disc herniation – Disc herniation may occur as a secondary effect of disc deterioration, although this is not directly related to lateral pelvic tilt.
  • Sacroiliac joint pain – Lateral pelvic tilt might cause an asymmetrical placement of the sacrum in relation to the ilia(wings) of the pelvic girdle. The asymmetry may cause sacroiliac joint pain.

The good thing is that lateral pelvic tilt can be treated and cured if it is detected early enough. We’ll look at treatment alternatives for lateral pelvic tilt in later sections and a few easy home exercises that may help you correct this prevalent postural fault.

How to Determine a Lateral Pelvic Tilt

To determine whether you have a lateral pelvic tilt, stand in front of a mirror and press a finger against either side of your hip bone. You probably have a lateral pelvic tilt if one finger is placed higher. Of course, there’s the chance that you don’t have a lateral pelvic tilt and instead have one leg longer than the other leg (as discussed previously). This is an uncommon situation, but it’s something to consider while testing yourself.

Lateral Pelvic Tilt: What Causes It?

We’ll go through some of the reasons for a lateral pelvic tilt in this section. If you want more of a visual experience, watch the video below.

The following factors often cause a lateral pelvic tilt:

Bad Posture Habits

Your body’s tissues will adapt to this posture if you keep your body in the same postures for extended periods of time, every day, for years or months. It might become natural to maintain your body in one hip-hiked position for a long time. I’ll get to some of these strange postures later in this essay.

Sitting in an Incorrect Posture for Too Long

Individuals sitting for long periods often develop a lateral pelvic tilt. Prolonged sitting severely strains the lumbar spine, but it also modifies the muscles and ligaments of the lower body (particularly those that support the pelvis). If left untreated, these muscular imbalances can result in an injury feedback loop, overcompensation, and re-injury of the ligaments and muscles that stabilize and facilitate pelvic movement.

Injuries and Structural issues

If you’ve damaged one side of your body in the past, it’s conceivable that you’ll lift one hip higher than the other to prevent discomfort. Additionally, if you have had reconstructive surgery on one of your legs, it may have altered in length. In each of these circumstances, you’ll want to visit a doctor just to be sure.

Pronated Foot

One side of the foot will roll in if you have a flat foot or a collapsed arch. The tibia and fibula (shin muscles) will internally rotate due to this inward rolling, bringing the knee inwards. The knee bends inward, causing the femur to rotate internally and the hip to drop, producing lateral pelvic tilt. In the section that follows, we’ll look at some treatment alternatives for a lateral pelvic tilt.

Lateral Pelvic Tilt: What’s the Best Treatment?

A lateral pelvic tilt is a minor problem that may usually be treated with chiropractic therapy, massage, physical treatment, or an individualized treatment plan that includes all three of these therapies if discovered early. Depending on the seriousness of your issue, your physician will determine the best treatment plan for you.

Chiropractic care

Chiropractors treat pain and restore full range of motion to the muscles, ligaments, and joints surrounding the pelvis by taking a holistic viewpoint in correcting lateral pelvic tilt. Chiropractic treatment includes chiropractic adjustment, massage therapy, physical therapy, and stretching. The main objective of chiropractic therapy is restoring the body’s natural equilibrium without using medications or injections.

Physical therapy

A physical therapist can recommend home exercises that may be done to relieve the discomfort caused by a lateral pelvic tilt. They will also advise on managing your condition through lifestyle modifications. Physical therapy aims to reunite the pelvic girdle and its components by strengthening or elongating weak or shortened muscles while also stretching constricted muscles.

Massage

The massage therapist will use various manual methods to relax the muscles that support the pelvis. Massage therapy also aids in the reduction of inflammation and pain through improved blood flow to the afflicted region. Myofascial release, deep tissue massage, and Gua Sha – a traditional Chinese therapy that involves scraping the skin with massage equipment to promote circulation are just a few of the techniques employed by professional masseuses.

How to Treat a Lateral Pelvic Tilt Caused by Poor Posture at Home

This part will look at a few basic home exercises to correct minor to moderate lateral pelvic tilt. It’s important to note that these lateral pelvic tilt exercises are not meant to be a substitute for professional medical care. If you have an asymmetrical pelvis and are in severe pain or have a limited range of motion, it’s critical to visit your doctor to find out what is causing the problem and how to treat it.

Steps to Take If a Muscular Imbalance Causes a Lateral Pelvic Tilt

There are several ways to address a lateral pelvic tilt. The first is to repair any flat feet (if you have them), and the second is to cure any muscular imbalances that may have developed, which cause your body to hang one hip higher.

The final step is to correct the undesirable posture that caused the issue in the first place.

1. Fixing Flat Feet or Foot

Flat feet might be the main reason behind your uneven hips if you have them. A flat-footed individual’s most important goal should be to repair this, not the lateral pelvic tilt, because the foot is the body’s foundation, and any foot ailment will have an effect on all that follows. Your shins, thighs, knees, and hips should begin to line up correctly as a result of correcting your flat feet first. The issue is probably caused by a problem with one flat foot rather than two flat feet in the case of someone with a lateral pelvic tilt. So, instead of “fixing your flat foot,” it should be called “correcting a condition of having flat feet.”

Step 1. Massage the arch

The arch of your foot could be restricted if you have a flat foot. The usage of a massage ball to roll up and down the arch while putting pressure on it by standing on it is a simple remedy.

Step 2. Strengthening the arch

The arch may be strengthened so that the arch muscles are used and powerful enough to pull the arch back up. Arch strengthening exercises that are popular include:

  • Towel crunches – Place the towel on the floor and then your afflicted foot at the bottom edge of it. You scrunch up your toes and pull the towel’s top towards you while keeping your foot on the ground. Repeat this process until the entire towel has been drawn down.
  • Pen Penny – The best exercise for arch strengthening is unquestionably this one. This entails putting a coin under the base of the afflicted foot’s big toe. You’d then attempt to balance on that foot while simultaneously keeping pressure on the penny.

The video below displays some modifications to the exercises shown below.

Although after a few months of arch strengthening exercises, not everyone responds well to them, and the arch may even remain flat. Consider using shoe inserts to support the arch if this is the case. A flat foot may be corrected by addressing the problem at its source. The ankle should no longer roll in on itself, and the joints above should return to normal alignment. However, while this approach is not a total cure, there are most likely to be additional leg muscle imbalances that remain in the legs, particularly the side with the lower hip.

2. Stretching Out the Tight QL

If your hips are uneven, the muscles on the side of your body where your hip is higher are likely to be short and tight. Take a look at the illustration below. If the highlighted red muscle is short and tense, it will pull the pelvis up and toward the rib cage to which it is connected. Chronic tightness in this region will pull one side of the pelvis up while simultaneously pushing the shoulder down. So, what exactly is this pesky muscle that we need to stretch?

Quadratus Lumborum
Quadratus Lumborum

It’s the quadratus lumborum.

You should start by unwinding any knots that are restricting motion, then proceed to stretch methods on the tight side (where the hip is lifted). If you can get the quadratus lumborum to lengthen, this will assist decrease the chronic tightness that causes the hip to lift and the shoulder to fall. The quadratus lumborum is a relatively simple muscle to stretch once you’ve discovered where it’s located.

Any stretch that creates length between the hip and shoulder of the same side will do the trick. The quadratus lumborum can be stretched in a simple yet successful manner that is based on the traditional child’s posture. In the video below, you’ll learn how to perform this stretch, and a few other quadratus lumborum stretches.

Another treatment for the quadratus lumborum is to strengthen the opposing quadratus lumborum (the side with the smaller hip), which may be too weak. The quadratus lumborum may become robust and pull up the bottom of the hip slightly as a result of strengthening the weak side.

3. Glute Medius & Adductor Muscle Check

Aside from the methods stated above, there are a few more corrective lateral pelvic tilt exercises and stretches that you should investigate if the previous ones fail. The glute medius and adductor muscles are both targets for additional advice. The glute medius is a glute muscle positioned to the side of your principal glute, the glute maximus. When you think of your glute muscles, the first thing that comes to mind is the glute maximus, which is why many people forget or are even unaware that the glute medius exists.

The glute medius is a crucial muscle to maintain in good working order since it aids in hip alignment. When you have a lateral pelvic tilt as a result of poor posture, it’s likely that your glute medius muscles have become imbalanced: one may be excessively tight and robust while the other is overly long and fragile.

The adductors are another name for the inner thigh muscles, which run up and down your leg. Similar imbalances in these muscles can cause a lateral pelvic tilt. On the side of the hip being higher, the glute medius is likely to be faint, and the adductors may also be clamped. The glute medius will be taut, and the adductors will be weak on the lower hip side. As a general guideline, you may want to stretch and strengthen both of these muscles to keep them well-balanced and healthy hips.

The glute medius and adductors may be stretched and strengthened, as demonstrated in the exercises below. You’ll have to figure out which sides need to be loosened and which ones need to be tightened on your own.

Glute Medius Stretch

The video above demonstrates two glute medius exercises that you may do at home. The lying hip stretch and the pigeon stretch are among the stretches you’ll learn.

Glute Medius Strengthening

This video will demonstrate to you how to build up the glute medius. Side-lying leg raises are an excellent technique to activate your glute medius muscles.

Adductor Stretch

The video above demonstrates a simple adductor stretch to help you extend them.

Adductor Strengthening

If you’ve found your weak adductor, you can try the preceding exercises to strengthen it and hopefully balance out your hips.

4. Fixing Your Bad Posture Habits

All of these corrective exercises and stretches will be useless if you don’t eliminate the times when one hip is positioned higher than the other on purpose or by accident. You should avoid putting the quadratus lumborum in a shortened position since your body tissues will adapt to the positions you hold for lengthy periods.

To begin correcting your posture habits, first become aware of the times throughout the day when you may position one hip higher than the other and make an effort to better your entire posture. Most occurrences of lateral pelvic tilt can be prevented by making a few easy lifestyle adjustments, in addition to avoiding scoliosis circumstances.

The following are some basic recommendations and things to consider to avoid or enhance a lateral pelvic tilt.

  • Sleeping on your Side –  If you prefer to sleep on a specific side, the hip that is in the air will be ‘hiked up’ for the entire night. If this is the case, you should attempt to sleep on your back.
  • Uneven Sitting – There may be instances when you have one hip higher than the other. Perhaps you can rest your arm on the window while driving without realizing that one of your hips is tilting. Is it possible that you lean towards the computer mouse when using it? In any case, while sitting, keep the pelvis level.
  • Standing posture – When standing, many individuals have a preferred side on which they lean. Another example of this may be when individuals hold hefty items to their bodies and bend their hips to assist balance the weight. A typical example is when a parent is carrying a small child or grocery shopping with their body facing down.
  • Consider investing in a kneeling chair Using a kneeling chair forces the spine to remain straight. Kneeling chairs are also beneficial for stretching tight hip flexors.
  • Replace your sitting desk with a standing one – Sitting for lengthy periods puts a strain on the hip flexors and can reduce blood flow to the lower body muscles. Consider switching to a standing workstation if your job requires you to spend a lot of time at a computer.
  • Use a chair with lumbar support – A chair with lumbar support will help protect the lower back’s delicate components and improve overall posture. Consider adding a lumbar support cushion to your chair if it doesn’t have lumbar support. This kind of assistance can also assist with lower back discomfort.

If you find yourself leaning one hip higher than the other, you should immediately correct it. By doing this, you’ll have a greater chance of correcting your lateral pelvic tilt.

If necessary, seek expert assistance

Most mild to moderate lateral pelvic tilt problems may usually be managed without invasive treatments such as medications, injections, or surgery. To optimize your lateral pelvic tilt and regain full motion in your hips and legs, you may attempt to implement the ideas outlined above into your everyday life. You may also want to check for scoliosis, which might be responsible.

Once again, I need you to remember that the material contained in this post is not meant as medical advice. If you have any issues, always visit a medical expert before attempting any corrective workouts on your own.

Based out of Minnesota, home of the world-famous mayoclinic.org, and founded by a team of health professionals, including Chiropractors and Physical Therapists. Yourbodyposture.com was started with the goal of being your go-to resource for all things posture and physical health-related.


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