• Body Align Physio

Finding Your Neutral Spine


A common key in Pilates is to work in neutral pelvic position. So what is a neutral pelvis and why is it so important?

All joints are safest at or around their “mid-point”/neutral. Neutral allows for the most amount of space between each vertebra as they are aligned in their natural curves. This allows the nerves that exist the sides of each vertebral column, to do so with the greatest space without impingement or resistance. As we have all started living more sedentary lifestyles at work and at home, static posture have become the new normal and the incidence of back, neck and spinal pain has increased.


When  your  spine  is  in  a  neutral  position,  your  core  muscles  are  optimally  positioned  to  support  healthy breathing,  posture,  and  movement.  This  is  why  people  are  advised  to  “lift  with  the  knees”  while  keeping  the spine  neutral  rather  than  flexing from  the  spine  to  lift  loads. It may  take  some  time  for  you  to  be  able  to  naturally achieve  a  neutral  spinal  alignment,  or  for  you  to  maintain this  position  for  extended periods  of  time. 


Before we can find “Neutral”, we need to explore the full range of pelvic tilt. Imagine you’re lying on a large clock, 12 is under your belly button and the 6 is under your tailbone. Tilt your pelvis to the 12 (toward your head- see diagram). Now tilt to the toward 6 (tilt towards your feet - diagram). Important - do not push beyond the level of mild discomfort. Now come back to the centre of your pelvic range of movement. You should still have a small natural arch in your back (not quite enough to get your fingers under). An even distance between 6 and 12. This is Neutral spine.


To find out more and how to incorporate it in your day to day with exercise and function, book into one of our physiotherapists!

Neutral Spine

Neutral Spine: Physiotherapist Amanda shows how to keep neutral spine during a Pilates exercise (using feedback).




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