The pelvis; some would suggest it is the fulcrum of the body, certainly it is pretty important. Think of all the muscles that attach to it, the nerves that exit around it, its interaction with the lumber spine...
If the pelvis doesn't sit in an optimal position problems occur up and down the line, so pelvis position is pretty essential to the correct workings of our body.
Take a look at the nerves in the picture above, look at how they exit the lumbar spine, wrap around and through the pelvis as they make their way down the body. Now imagine that pelvis is twisted, perhaps rotated or maybe sitting in a posterior or anterior position compared to "normal" . What would that do to the function of these nerves?
So how does the pelvis become wrongly positioned? Well, yes ligaments etc help to support the pelvis, but it is really the muscles that affect where the pelvis ends up. Imagine a tight Rectus Femoris muscle. This Quadriceps muscle originates onto the ilium of the pelvis and if tight can "pull" the pelvis into an anterior position. The Gluteus Maximus muscle can cause a posterior tilt, or even a rotation if only one side is tight. The hamstrings attach onto the ischial tuberosity so can have the effect of creating a posteriory positioned pelvis. Quadratus Lumborum, if overly tight on one side can also create a rotation. Hopefully you get the idea here. So let's assume your client's pelvis is anteriorly positioned (many are 😉) that will have the effect of closing up the lumbar spine, reducing the spacing that should be between the vertebrae. That will affect the space available for the nerves to exit the spine and before you know it, you have pain, either local, or elsewhere down the body along the nerve line.
So the key is balance, the Hamstrings and Quadriceps muscles need to be balanced, if either one is overly tight or overly weak it is highly likely to affect the pelvis position. If the Glutes are weak (or tight) it will affect the pelvis position. Of course the core musculature also affect this, but that is a subject for another day.
So in the gym, pause occasionally from functional strength work and put your client on a static weight machine and check their Quadricep and Hamstring strength in isolation. If there are weaknesses there, isolate and strengthen before restarting more functional work. They will remain injury free, good for them, good for you. 😀
If using this for CPD try to answer this question. You client says they have pain when performing a squat. They mention their hamstrings are very tight, they have had a massage on it, but it only makes a difference for a day or so. They have an anteriorly positioned pelvis. Why might their hamstrings be so tight and not respond to loosening? How can you reposition the pelvis back in the gym to solve this problem for your client? Which muscles do you need to strengthen and which do you need to stretch? If you get stuck feel free to email us.
Then write it all up in your CPD log. For your FREE CPD log click here and sign up to our newsletter.
If this interested you we have a one day workshop all about the spine and pelvis. Click here for more information.