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!