Lumbar Curve and Pelvic Tilt Mythology
Of the 80% who have low back pain, an inordinate number seem to be getting, and worsening this condition from believing in some common low back pain-perpetuating myths. These myths surround misconceptions about the role played by the lumbar curve and the pelvic tilt. Their lumbar curve and pelvic tilt assumptions come from an uninformed aesthetic, structural and functional point of view.
Flattening Your Lumbar Curve
Forward bending exercises and stretches, without objective assessment of lumbar curvature, may cause you to develop an abnormally flat low back.
Sitting in a “C- shape”, the shape forced upon us when we sit in a bucket seat, will flatten your low back too.
Flattening your lumbar curve moves your spinal load forward, stretching open and spraining the posterior ligaments of your lumbar spine. Injured ligaments cause joints to become unstable — predisposing them to further misalignments and resulting nerve, inflammation, muscle and pain problems.
Flattening your lumbar curve overloads your front-side lumbar discs, increasing your risk for acute disc injury (bulging, herniation, rupture) and disc degeneration. Flattening your lumbar curve removes or decreases that curve’s spring-action, shock-absorbing function. Therefore, pounding forces traveling through your spine, previously absorbed by this spring, are focused upon your anterior lumbar discs.
Posterior Pelvis Rotation
Rotating your pelvis in the posterior direction additionally flattens your lumbar curve, adding to your already elevated risk for acute lumbar disc injuries and degenerative arthritis of the lumbar spine.
Also, by rotating your pelvis in the posterior direction, it is often believed that you activate your abdominal core muscles, stabilizing your pelvis, low back and rib cage. Unfortunately posterior pelvic rotation does not activate your abdominal core. By assuming that it does; and by using this maneuver during spinal loading activities like lifting, pushing and pulling; you exposes your unstable pelvis, low back and rib cage to joint misalignments and acute joint injuries.
Excessive Lumbar Curve
On the other hand, excessive lumbar curve and forward rotation of your pelvis shifts the loading down your posterior lumbar spine. Doing so stretches and sprains your lumbar spine’s anterior ligaments, resulting in associated ligament-injury problems.
Posterior loading of your lumbar spine takes the load off your intervertebral discs and shifts it upon your lumbar facet joints. Overloading of these joints causes compressive joint ligament injuries and joint surface wear and tear, bone deformation and arthritis.
Your lumbar discs cushion and absorb shocks passing along your spine. Shifting loading forces from your lumbar discs to your facet joints exposes these joints, and also joints throughout your entire body, to excessive pounding.
Bypassing Abdominal Core
Posterior lumbar load-shifting will bypasses the the critical weight-bearing/weight-transferring work performed by your abdominal core musculature.
Bypassing Lumbar “Leaf-Spring”
Furthermore, posterior loading of your lumbar spine diverts shock-producing forces from becoming dissipated through the leaf-spring action of the lumbar curve and into the posterior facet joints of your lumbar spine.