Eureka! My Lateral Pelvic Tilt Update

With much relief, I can report that the last remnants of my post-tilt hip discomfort seem to have disappeared. As far as I can remember, the sequence of events occurred like this:

July/August Lateral Pelvic Tilt

1. In July of last year I was experiencing lower back/SI Joint pain. Later in the month, some horrible lower back spasms prevented me from standing up for at least two days. I first wrote about it in this post. As I re-read the post, I thought I had fixed the problem, but I was mistaken.

2. The spasms subside but I am still experiencing pain.

3. I can see in the mirror that something is “off” with my appearance. I look lopsided, to a degree.

4. I take pictures of myself in just my shorts and the tilt is quite noticeable. My pelvis on the left side is higher than the pelvis on the right side. I consult my physical therapy oriented books and realize it is probably my QL and/or psoas. I do some stretches for the QL and the majority of the tilt goes away.

September of 2011. I still have a tilted pelvis

1. I STILL had a slightly tilted pelvis and I couldn’t figure out the reason. I was obsessing over my right hamstring because I had right side SI joint pain. My obsession was misguided because no matter what I did for the hamstring, the tilt was still there.

2. As I documented in this post, I finally just put an insert from my Nike Frees and put them into my Chuck Taylors. Luckily the insert was a perfect fit and leveled my pelvis perfectly. The back pain was gone immediately but it didn’t fix the underlying cause of the pelvic tilt. Mentally, though, I was done with it. I wanted nothing else to do with my damn tilt. As long as the insert was in my shoe, I felt fine–temporarily at least.

January-ish of 2012

1. A few months go by and at this point I start getting nervous about pains that I am getting in my “man region”. To say that it was disconcerting is an understatement. Worrying thoughts of a hernia and cancer fill my mind (the human brain always seems to imagine worse case scenarios). In fact, it was just my tilted pelvis rearing it’s ugly head again. It must have been compressing some nerves in my lower back that continued into the nether regions.

2. A trip to a decent massage therapist finally ends my ordeal. I gave her explicit instructions to work on my lower back muscles on the left side, primarily the QL (again) and psoas. When she tried to get at my QL through my side, I felt nothing noticeable. When she pressed on my psoas, however–Eureka! The psoas released and my lateral pelvic tilt disappeared.

The Aftermath

In the aftermath of my pelvic tilt, I was still experiencing hip/glute discomfort on the left side, primarily in the mornings. In addition, I often felt tightness in my psoas. I finally knocked out the morning hip/glute discomfort by bombarding it with Aleve for a week straight. It worked; I suppose it was just inflammation.

I haven’t a clue as to whether my psoas was actually still tight after the tilt was resolved. Muscles can’t talk, so perhaps we interpret various muscle “agitations” as tightness because we have no other way to express the feeling. It’s like tinnitus in the ears (which I have–lucky me). Scientists now believe tinnitus is caused by over-active brain neurons that never shut down, and our brain interprets this as sound. Maybe my psoas was over-active and I interpreted it as tightness.

Finally, I’ve read online that some people doubt the validity of massage since it hasn’t been studied experimentally. I couldn’t care less about whether it’s been studied in a controlled setting. The only thing that got my psoas to relax was the therapist pressing on it. In this case it worked. I went in with a tilted pelvis, I left a new man.

Comments

  1. Candice says

    I have been suffering from bouts of low back pain for the last 17 years…my weight had climbed after having two children so in 2006 I made a change and started running. In 2008 I added weight training and the pounds came flying off. Between 2006-2011 I had an annual bout with lower back pain…went to a chiropractor believing that was helping. It wasn’t. The last time I could barely walk for nearly a month. Here I was strong and fit and debilitated! The pain was excruciating. I became so fed up with doctors handing me the narcotics and telling me to “give it time.” They all blamed it on my running. MRI revealed a huge extruded disc at L4-5 with material leaking onto my spinal cord. Scary. Neurosurgeon said my reflexes were good, and I am very flexible, so no surgery required. I started to look elsewhere for answers…got a great physiotherapist specializing in pelvic dysfunction…she believes my disc exploded due to the torque of an SI joint that was way out of place. Like you, I had the “crooked” syndrome and horrible back spasms too. I followed the regime and recovered. I quit running and took up cycling and walking instead. Then a few days ago it happened again…this time I took time off work right away and began stretching those hip flexors. Today I was able to walk my dog for 20 minutes, whereas on Tuesday I could barely walk a few metres. I am convinced that those hip flexors have always been to blame…stumbled across your blog and felt the need to comment as your story sounded so much like mine. I am thinking massage might be something I should be doing. I am determined to stay physically active despite the situation…I miss running but being in pain for a week after a run is not worth it. I have a two hour commute daily to work and I do sit for about 4 hours a day at work, so I am positive this contributed to my condition. Thanks for the insight and advice!

    • Administrator says

      Thanks for the comment Candice. Good to hear you may be on the right track to dealing with it. And by the way, I still feel “tightness”, or some type of sensation, in the psoas after extended sitting. I just know how to deal with it now and nip it in the bud.

      I’ve been getting a lot of comments and e-mails about this subject; it seems like a pretty common issue. While there is a lot written about anterior pelvic tilt, there wasn’t much about lateral pelvic tilt. I had to research physical therapy and myofascial release text books to figure out what to do.

      Through a lot of correspondence with readers, I have found that some people have gotten relief from doing the same as me–targeted stretches and massage, while others haven’t had as much luck. Unfortunately I don’t have all the answers.
      Let me know how you are proceeding!

      Thanks
      Neal

  2. jesse says

    Look up egoscue method. If you want to easily stretch your illopsoas get the egoscue tower. Look it up on youtube its an absolute.miracle.worker!

    Bless.

  3. Kevin says

    Hi Neal,

    I just stumbled across this blog as I have been experiencing back pain since early june (approx 6 months). It is starting to wear on me mentally and I am getting very depressed about not being able to do the things I love doing I have a rotated pelvis so my left hip seems “open” and my right hip seems “closed” if that makes any sense. The result of this is that my right hip is higher and I have a small leg length descrapancy where my right leg is shorter than my left. The pain originates in my left QL underneath my ribs (painful muscle knots) and radiates into and around my left hip and sometimes into the front on the psoas. The radiating pain usually subsides after some heavy dosing of aleve-naproxen (as you mentioned) for a few days, but the awful pain in my left QL is constant.

    I don’t remember how I got this pelvic tilt but I suspect it was from improper deadlifting form. My pain is on the my left side (the lower/longer leg), however in reading your posts it seems like your back pain was on the high side? I have seen multiple chiropractors, sports medicine doctors, sports chiropractors, etc and nothing seems to work or correct my hip inbalance.

    My question is which side is tight or what is going on as my symptoms seem to be backwards of yours. My right hip is higher and “closed” , and I have weak glutes and hamstrings on the right side. This makes me think that it is my right side that is tight and shortened and the culprit of my pain. However I have no pain on the right side whatsoever. when i foam roll i feel it more on the left side (the “open” hip) in my hip flexors, glutes and piriformis – the side with all my pain

    I am so tired of being in pain and I don’t know what muscles need to be strengthened and which muscles need to be stretched. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated!

  4. J says

    Pelvic tilts are a very real thing! I have one now due to holding my toddler for extended periods of time. You need to analyze your every single action, every day. How do you sleep (side sleeping causes pelvic tilts) and how often do you bend over? Do you bend correctly? How do you sit when you drive? These are all important questions.

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