Very often in our clinics, we see people come in with pelvic asymmetry or imbalance. This can cause or aggravate any number of injuries and problems throughout the body.
Why does this happen?
Well, the most obvious answer is that the pelvis is a supportive structure, and when it’s restricted, the ability to provide that support can be significantly reduced. The pelvis helps with the movement of your legs and torso, whilst stabilising all your lower abdominal and pelvic organs; therefore playing a major role in fluid circulation. When the pelvis isn’t moving well, those areas are typically some of the first to be affected.
What Areas Are Commonly Affected by Pelvic Imbalance?
The lower back is a prime example. If the pelvis is rotating to the right, often your lower back will rotate in the opposite direction to help compensate for the imbalance. This can put a lot of pressure on your spinal joints, ligaments, lumbar discs; and can also put a strain through nearby organs (ie. bowel, bladder and reproductive organs), impinge nerves, reduce the circulation of blood vessels and lymphatics and cause associated muscles to fatigue or lock up.
How Could I get a pelvic imbalance?
Well, the first step is to identify is the reason for the asymmetry, as this is often a roadblock to maintaining a healthy position. It might be:
- An injury
- An unbalanced gait
- Altered tone of muscles in the area (ie. either overly strong or weak muscles)
- Habitually sitting cross-legged or with uneven legs
- Always sleeping on the same side or on a bad mattress
- Poor posture
- Unsupportive shoes
- Incorrect lifting techniques
Or a combination of any of these contributing factors and potentially others not listed here.
There are many different reasons and quite often there’s more than one involved. However, if you suspect that your pelvis is imbalanced and need help with either finding the cause or correcting the imbalance then osteopathic assessment and treatment can be very beneficial.
How do I keep my pelvis balanced?
Here are some tips that you can implement to help keep your pelvis balanced once it’s been treated:
- Gentle stretches and exercise: Light exercise like yoga, pilates, walking and swimming are brilliant options. You may also benefit from an individualised exercise program from health professionals such as osteo’s, physio’s, personal trainers, or pelvic specialists to run you through more specific stretches to suit your needs – such as designing a pelvic floor training program.
- Being aware of your posture: It can be difficult to break old habits, but doing simple things like driving the car with your legs at even lengths, sitting without crossing your knees, lifting and carrying evenly through both arms or sleeping with a pillow between your knees can make a big difference. If you’re sitting for prolonged periods at work then it’s advised to get an ergonomic assessment. Also, if you do one activity a lot during the day then try and break it up and do something different in the evening or over the weekend. The pelvis has joints too, and like any joint, they like to be mobile!
- Seek treatment: It’s always beneficial to know exactly what is going on with your body. It’s also typically quicker and easier to correct a pelvic imbalance if you get on top of it early.
- Symptoms to watch out for which may suggest pelvic imbalance include:
- Pain or restriction around the back, tail bone, abdomen, pelvis, hips, knees, ankles and feet
- Constipation, diarrhoea, incontinence
- Painful or infrequent periods
- Uneven leg lengths
- Pain or discomfort during pregnancy
- Swelling of the ankles
The pelvis is extremely important for your biomechanics and overall health, so try to look after it and it will look after you.