Postural challenges of the pelvis, including pelvic obliquity, have a significant impact on a person’s ability to sit upright. As a result, the risk of long-term health concerns increases and quality of life can be impacted through discomfort, poor physiological function and fatigue.
What is Pelvic Obliquity?
A pelvic obliquity is when an individual presents with an asymmetrical pelvis with tilting to one side; one anterior superior iliac spine (ASIS) is higher than the other. This can happen to both the left and right, depending on which way the pelvis is tilting.
An individual with a pelvic obliquity can appear to be leaning or falling to one side as the pelvis affects the position of the spine. The individual may try and correct their posture back to midline, causing a curvature in the thoracic region. Asymmetries can also result in unequal weight distribution throughout the supporting surface.
Consequently, a pelvic obliquity can be associated with scoliosis, asymmetrical trunk posture, pelvic rotation, and an increased risk of pressure injury over the ischial tuberosity (IT) on the lower side of the pelvis.
What Can Cause a Pelvic Obliquity?
- Unsuitable support and/or incorrect seat dimensions
- Asymmetrical trunk weakness
- Abnormal muscle tone
- Scoliosis or other structural deformity of the spine
- Spinal surgery
- Leg length discrepancy
- Limitations of hip range of movement (contractures)
- Hip trauma, dislocation or subluxation
- Asymmetrical pain or discomfort in the trunk or lower limbs
- Fatigue and the effects of gravity
Are There Any Seating Solutions That Can Help?
The aim is to support the pelvis in all planes of movement; the pelvis is the foundation to a stable sitting posture as it dictates what happens to the body segments above and below.
Seating prescription will depend on whether the pelvic obliquity is correctable or if it is fixed, which will be identified during a comprehensive assessment. Ultimately, the goal is to correct if the individual’s posture is flexible but accommodate it if it is fixed.
Seating solutions can include:
- Ensuring correct seat width and arm rest height; suitable seating fit for the user is critical.
- Building up the base under the lower side of pelvis to encourage symmetry, if it is correctable.
- Building up the base under the higher side of the pelvis to encourage equal weight distribution, if it is fixed.
- Adequate trunk support, either through a contoured back or lateral support.
- Ensuring back angle accommodates hip range of movement.
- Stability at the lower limbs with appropriate foot support, addressing any leg length discrepancy.
- Addressing any originating or resulting scoliosis.
- Considering the length of time sitting and adjusting care plan accordingly.
How Can CareFlex Help?
The much loved HydroTilt could be a great solution for pelvic obliquity with seat width adjustment, a contoured back, integrated WaterCell Technology, and the option of adding adjustable lateral support.
If greater flexibility is required for more complex postures, then the SmartSeatPro with back angle recline and multi-adjustable back components, which can be altered in height, depth, angle, offset and rotation, could be the suitable solution. Building up the base can also be achieved through CareFlex’s tailored seating solutions service.
Please do not hesitate to get in touch to discuss any seating needs or to book a free no-obligation seating assessment. We are able to offer remote consultations if face-to-face visits are currently unsuitable.