Fixing Lower Back Pain from Poor Posture – Causes and Exercises

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Written By Diene Oliveira Cruz

MD, PhD. Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Physician from São Paulo - Brazil. Pain Fellowship in University of São Paulo.

Approprite lower and upper back posture is crucial for our overall spinal health and can be a significant factor in experiencing back pain. One common postural issue is anterior pelvic tilt, which is characterized by the forward tipping of the pelvis.

In this article, we will discuss the causes of anterior pelvic tilt, its relationship with lower back pain, and provide a set of exercises to help correct this postural problem.

The Importance of Posture Assessment

poor posture and spine pain

The human body is designed to function optimally when it maintains a balanced alignment. However, poor posture can lead to muscle imbalances, joint stress, and a range of discomforts, including chronic back pain.

In order to address these issues, it is essential to assess your posture and identify areas for improvement.

Common Posture-Related Problems

In today’s technology-driven world, many people spend a significant amount of time hunched over devices like smartphones, tablets, and laptops.

This can lead to a forward head posture, rounded shoulders, and a host of other issues that contribute to back pain.

Additionally, prolonged sitting and sedentary lifestyles can exacerbate these problems and further compromise spinal health.

What is Anterior Pelvic Tilt?

Anterior pelvic tilt occurs when the pelvis tips forward, causing an exaggerated arch in the lower back. It can be likened to a bucket of water tipping forward and spilling out its contents.

This postural issue often results from tight hip flexors and weak lower abdominals and gluteal muscles. Prolonged sitting or a sedentary lifestyle can contribute to the development of anterior pelvic tilt, as it leads to the adaptive shortening of the hip flexors.

Effects on Lower Back Pain

posture back pain

When individuals with anterior pelvic tilt experience lower back pain, they often mistakenly attribute it to tight hamstrings. However, it is the anterior pelvic tilt and the resultant strain on the lower back that cause the sensation of tight hamstrings.

To address this issue, it is essential to stretch the hip flexors and strengthen the lower abdominals and gluteal muscles, rather than focusing on the hamstrings.

Exercises for Correcting Anterior Pelvic Tilt:

  1. Hip Flexor Stretch: To stretch the hip flexors, begin in a tall kneeling position, with one foot forward in a lunge position. Keeping the back leg straight, lunge forward onto the front foot, feeling the stretch in the hip flexor of the back leg. Hold this position for 20 seconds, repeating three times on each side.
  2. Glute Bridges: To strengthen the gluteal muscles, lay on your back with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent. Squeeze your glutes and lift your hips off the floor, then lower them back down. Perform three sets of 20 repetitions. For a more challenging exercise, try single-leg bridges by extending one leg out in front while lifting the hips.
  3. Lower Abdominal Exercises: To work the lower abdominals, first lay on your back and flatten your lower back against the floor. Perform a series of marches, leg extensions, or flutter kicks while maintaining a flat back and engaged abdominals. Aim for 20 repetitions, focusing on maintaining proper form and spinal alignment.
  4. Dynamic Hip Flexor Stretch and Glute Strengthening: In a lunge position with the back leg straight, lower into the lunge to stretch the hip flexor. Focus on using the glute to pull yourself up out of the lunge position. This exercise can be performed with or without dumbbells for added resistance.

Exercises for Posture

  1. Child’s Pose variations for back and shoulder blades:
  • Get on all fours on a firm surface.
  • Sit back on your heels, and stretch your arms out in front of you.
  • For the Upper Back Child’s Pose, take one arm off, bend the elbow, and focus on stretching the shoulder blade on the side with the bent elbow.
  • For a more targeted stretch, try tilting your body slightly to one side and feel the stretch around the shoulder blades.
  1. Head Retraction and Winging:
  • Stand with your back flush against a wall or door.
  • Place two fingers on your chin and push your head backward, retracting your chin.
  • Simultaneously, wing your elbows backward, focusing on engaging the muscles between the shoulder blades.
  • Repeat this movement 5-10 times.
  1. YUW Exercise:
  • Stand next to a door frame with your palms facing away from you.
  • Perform the Y (arms up and outward), U (elbows bent at 90 degrees, pressing down), and W (elbows bent, drawing them back) positions, focusing on pinching the shoulder blades together.
  • Repeat each position 5-10 times.
  1. Scapular Bridge:
  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart.
  • Place your hands on your hips, engage your core, and squeeze your glutes.
  • Press into the floor and lift your hips, creating a straight line from your knees to your shoulders.
  • Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 5 times.
  1. Figure Eight Exercise:
  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and place your hands on the small of your lower back.
  • Make fists and press your knuckles together.
  • Draw a figure-eight pattern with your elbows, focusing on engaging the muscles in your upper back, shoulders, and chest.
  • Experiment with different angles and directions to target various muscle groups.
  • Repeat this movement 5-10 times.

Remember to perform these exercises and stretches regularly to see improvements in your back posture.

Always consult with a healthcare professional before beginning any new exercise regimen, and listen to your body to avoid injury.

Working with a Healthcare Professional

posture for low back pain

In some cases, back pain may be indicative of a more serious underlying issue.

If your pain persists despite your best efforts to improve your posture, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional for a thorough evaluation and personalized treatment plan.

The Power of Consistency and Patience

Improving posture and reducing back pain is not an overnight process. It requires consistent effort, patience, and a commitment to making positive changes in your daily habits.

By addressing the root cause of your pain and implementing the strategies outlined in this post, you can make meaningful progress towards a pain-free and more functional life.


Anterior pelvic tilt is a common postural issue that can contribute to lower back pain.

By understanding its causes and implementing targeted stretching and strengthening exercises, it is possible to correct this postural imbalance and alleviate associated discomfort.

Regularly practicing these exercises and maintaining proper spinal alignment can significantly improve lower back posture and overall spinal health.

diene oliveira cruz
Diene Oliveira Cruz
Physical Therapist | + posts

Physiotherapist, with specialization in Orthopedics and Traumatology by Santa Casa de São Paulo. Pain and Rehabilitation Specialist.

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