Pelvic Tilt & Lumbar Spine Strength

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I recently took part as a subject in a study conducted by the Department of Sports Medicine at Hamburg’s University. In the first part, my back was scanned to detect any kind of anatomical asymmetries. The second part tested the strength of my extension and flexion. There I two messages I learned by taking part in this study:


The Bad Message

After having my back scanned using a scanning technology called NOMS (Near-field scanning optical microscope) I learned that I suffer from pelvic tilt (=pelvic obliquity) rotated to the left:

My left leg is 9mm shorter than my right one


A difference in leg length of 9 mm is definitely not dramatic but I am wondering whether this difference may lead to chronic lower back pain when I get to a good old ripe age. Despite this anatomical asymmetry, so far haven’t detected any functional restriction as it pertains to the integrity of my spine. I accredit this largely to a good amount of lower back strength in my spine erectors which I have built up in the past year training at the state-of-the-art MedX Lumbar Extension Machine.


The person performing the test  pointed that my pelvic tilt could be either anatomically inherent or that an incorrect posture while walking could be responsible. He assured me not to worry about it and pointed out that this small difference in leg length could be relatively easily corrected by a shoe insole or by performing corrective stretches (not too sure about the stretching though).  I will probably give the insole a shot in an effort to prevent any long-term negative effects of this pelvic tilt. I would bet there is hardly a person alive who is perfectly symmetrical in their anatomy.


The Good Message

Now comes the more positive outcome of the study. I also got the chance to test the strength of my lumbar extension and of my abdominal flexion. For that purpose, my legs, arms and my pelvis were strapped tightly while sitting in a machine that recorded the force I exerted during a 1-second isometric hold. Same was done for the abdominal flexion. Here is the result:

The third row shows the average force of all subjects


The person conducting the study (himself a competing amateur powerlifter) was rather impressed with the strength of my extension. So far, he has not seen any of his subject (mostly sports students) hitting almost 1900 N of force in the extension. As I said above, I accredit this strength largely to the MedX Lumbar Extension Machine as well as in some part to deadlifting.

What I am trying to convey with this article is that despite my pelvic tilt I will try to increase and maintain the strength of the muscles surrounding my spine to prevent chronic pain of the lower back in later years. Seeing these numbers and being pain-free is solid proof to me that the time I work out is well invested as it will hopefully prevent any kind of chronic pains in years to come.

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