The pelvis offers the spine a firm base of support.  Headings within this post:

  1. What are the causes of pelvic instability and how does it effect our body?

  2. Could that be causing my back, knee, head, neck pain?

  3. What can I do to make my pelvis happy?

1. What are the causes of pelvic instability and how does it effect our body?

science-40813_1280Pelvis instability can come from poor alignment, muscle dominance, overuse of one muscle instead of another, and limited range of activity and motion.  It is a common phenomena.

Poor alignment is about body positioning in an activity or any sedentary positions.  For example, sitting poorly in a poorly designed chair, wearing not so wonderful shoes for our feet or even unresolved emotions can cause instability in the pelvis especially if is chronic.  Muscle imbalances can occur from overdeveloped muscles that dominate skeletal alignment, stressing joints and limiting their function.  Overusing for example the front thighs, quadriceps, causes it to overdevelop, which in turn can pull on the pelvic basin, causing pelvic instability, when muscles are in a constant push pull relationship around the pelvis, even standing and sitting becomes a muscular effort and the sense of support and connection is lost.

Even activities such as stretching in misalignment will also cause imbalances, for example kneeling in a lunge position, if weight is not passing through each joint with the ankle right aligned under the knee and femur parallel to the floor, muscular compensations will be inevitable.

Another cause for pelvic instability can be to habitually ignore natural righting reflexes, these reflexes orient our head, neck and body to maintain a sense of equilibrium, but since we can keep overriding these consciously, especially under stress, some are located in the pelvis, within the sacroiliac ligaments.  For example the head-neck reflexes orients our head and neck to stay on the horizon as our body moves, this is essential for survival, ignoring this reflex leads to misalignment all throughout the body, possibly eye-strain, neck pain and shoulder tension.  Does your head move with your body? Or can you keep your eye on the horizon when you lean to one side?  When your body moves, your head should respond to keep equilibrium and vise versa.

Another way to get poor pelvic alignment is to “try” and get into a good posture. Puffing out the chest and squeezing the shoulders back, tucking the belly in and keeping the head and chip up means that the hip is not able to maintain stability underneath the instability of the upper body.

Of course, injury can cause pelvic instability, such as ligament damage, for example, ilipsoas (hip flexors) can compensate for the lack of sacroilliac joint function. 

Unresolved fear, trauma, and shock also directly affect the pelvic.  As part of the fear response, the psoas (a hip flexor) prepares for survival, when there is no resolution, trauma stays within the pelvis, via the psoas muscle. Furthermore, when we dissociate from sensation, there is limited body awareness, which is like being frozen in fear, these are ways of limiting pain, but destabilizing the pelvic basin.  In Holistic Kinesiology, the psoas muscle relates to the emotion of fear, the kidney meridian, the water element within Traditional Chinese Medicine.  However, if the path is traced directly by following the meridian pathways, it is the stomach meridian that flows through the psoas area, suggesting a need for nourishment and connection.

2. Could that be causing my back, knee, head, neck pain?

An unstable pelvis influences the torso and head, legs, feet, energetically, emotionally and sexually.  Some symptoms are mid and low back pain, hip socket tension, knee and ankle problems, TMJ and jaw pain, pelvic and groin pain, difficulty breathing, shoulder pain, sexual dysfunctions, difficulty walking, inability to stand and bear weight on both feet, headaches and dizziness.

3. What can I do to make my pelvis happy?

man-111321_1280The first step is to sense and connect.

  • Developing the inner core muscles requires attention and an interest in your body and its sensations. It does not require effort.
  • Core awareness is having a relationship with the self.
  • Sensations are how core awareness grows, we perceive life through our physical body.
  • Rather than trying to stretch vigorously, regaining function is best done by hydrating tissues through awareness of little movements.
  • Good positioning and resistance for healthy bones and joints.
  • Taking the time to heal by slowing down and limiting range of motion to eliminate muscle compensations.
  • Centering the pelvis in all movements and positions.
  • Possibly see a health practitioner such as an osteopath or a holistic kinesiologist to help in realigning and balancing the pelvis.
  • Developing core awareness is a process of unlearning, not just learning, relearning how to move and feel, and unlearning how we may have responded before.
  • As we honor our pelvis and the core through sensations, awareness, alignment, and strengthening, the old holding patterns fall away and we are left with a supple, strong, resilient, stable, movable, free pelvis.
  • Pilates is a wonderful tool for conditioning the pelvis area.
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