In Part 1 of this three-part series: “Is Your Pelvis Causing Your Neck and Shoulder Pain?” you learned how the position of the pelvis can lead to neck and shoulder pain. In this blog (Part 2) learn an easy assessment you can perform to gauge whether the position of the pelvis might be contributing to neck and shoulder pain.

Dowel Rod on Hips Assessment: Stand behind your client as both of you face forward looking into a mirror so you can consider the results of the assessment together. Curl your third, fourth and fifth fingers toward your palm as you point your index finger out straight and extend your thumb toward the ceiling (like you are creating a fake gun with your hand). Balance a dowel rod across the top of your two index fingers and then position your index fingers on the back of your client’s pelvis (i.e., where their pants would sit on their hips). Now look in the mirror and see if the dowel rod is level. If the rod is higher on one side, this indicates that your client’s pelvis and hips have shifted to that side (see image on left). It is also suggestive that the base of their spine (i.e., sacrum and coccyx) has shifted toward that same higher side.

If you discover that your client’s pelvis and hips are not level, you can assume their shoulders, neck and head are also out of alignment as they shift trying to keep their body balanced.  This imbalance of their neck, head and shoulders can over time lead to muscle imbalances in this area causing pain and dysfunction. Tune into Part 3 of this series to learn corrective exercise strategies that you can use with your clients to effectively align their pelvis and alleviate their neck and shoulder pain.