"Forward Pelvis: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly"

March 22, 2019


Opinions on what constitutes a pelvic problem abound. The term "forward pelvis" with its negative connotation, has come to be used for an assortment of pelvic / lumbar architectures, some of which, according to the Gokhale Method- are good, and some bad. 

 

Have you been diagnosed with “forward pelvis” (aka “anterior pelvic tilt”)? If so, you may be concerned about the Gokhale Method recommendation to antevert your pelvis, thinking that this will exacerbate the problem.

 

Your confusion is not unique. Very few professionals, whether doctors, trainers, or wellness practitioners, differentiate between “forward pelvis / anterior pelvic tilt” and healthy pelvic anteversion. This can lead to poor recommendations like tucking your pelvis or doing crunches.

 

 A common approach to fixing pelvic problems in modern times is the pelvic tuck and crunches, both of which carry significant risks. The Gokhale Method has different (and we believe better) solutions to various pelvic or lumbar issues that students may have. 

 

Anterior rotation of the pelvis on its own is not the problem. It’s where else you rotate and how that marks the critical difference between a happy and an unhappy spine.

“Forward pelvis” is vague terminology that is used to describe a variety of spinal architectures that share the common (and not very revealing) element that the pelvis is inclined forward relative to the ground. The term does not distinguish between curves that occur high in the lumbar spine, which are liable to cause pain and dysfunction, and the curve that happens at L5-S1 which is normal and healthy.

 

Healthy pelvic anteversion occurs only between the lowest of the free vertebrae in a human spine (known as L5), and the top of the sacrum (known as S1). If the L5-S1 angle is intact, it’s possible to stack the entire vertebral column with little effort.

 

With a "Forward pelvis”, the rotation is not necessarily isolated at L5-S1—in fact, there may be no rotation at all at that point—and usually there is rotation at one or more adjacent vertebrae.

In the Gokhale Method Foundations course, students work with a teacher to find a suitably shaped wedge to support their particular L5-S1 architecture. Once students learn how to sit with an appropriately rotated pelvis, they are often surprised by how effortlessly they can now remain upright. With the pelvis properly anteverted, the rest of the spine stacks and the back muscles can actually relax.