Sacroiliac Nutation And Counternutation

Even though the sacroiliac joints are synovial joints, their opposing surface usually fit together tightly enough for every movement of the pelvis to affect th sacrum (and therefore the spine as a whole), and for every movement of tl sacrum to affect the pelvis. This view—that the sacroiliac .joints are essential immobile—has practical value, and it was in fact the only view until the 193c but it is an oversimplification: the synovial structure of the healthy sacroili c joint is now known to provide its groove-and-rail architecture (figs. 3.3 and 6.2 ) with the capacity for a small amount of slippage—movements that have h 1 called nutation and counternutation by the French orthopedist IA Kapandj

Even though nutation and counternutation are often minimal, th< e movements are important for doing backward bending, forward bendi ¡j, and seated meditation postures with the niceties and refinements t it expert hatha yogis take for granted. The difficulty is that few hatha yi is (or for that matter exercise specialists of any variety) have encountt -d discussion of how the movements function in posture, athletics, and tl y-to-day life. To understand how and why nutation and counternutation re important to us, we must look at their scope and nature in detail.

nutation and counternutation

Nutation and counternutation are not complicated concepts as long as ne understands three points: The first is that the sacrum rotates roughly 1 a sagittal (front-to-back) plane within the pelvic bowl. Nutation rotates he promontory (the top front border) of the sacrum anteriorly (towarii he front of the body) and it rotates the coccyx posteriorly (toward the ba< of the body); counternutation rotates the promontory of the sacrum poster rly and the coccyx anteriorly. It is important not to confuse these specia red sacroiliac rotations with anterior and posterior pelvic tilts, which are mover nts of the pelvis as a whole. Nutation and counternutation are sacroiliac iil-and-groove slippages of the sacrum between the pelvic bones (fig. 6.2a) aot tilts of the entire pelvic bowl.

'ITie second point to understand is that the planes in which the sacr iac joints lie are not parallel to one another. If they were—if the joints ere situated in exact parasagittal planes (parallel to the midsagittal pla< of the body)—the sacrum could rotate without disturbing the configurati 1 of the pelvis as whole. That doesn't and indeed can't happen because the sacrum has a broad wedge-like shape with the leading face of the v lge pointing to the rear. And since the mating surfaces of the sacroiliac .1 nts always remain in close apposition, nutation pulls the ilia closer tog< her (that is, toward the midline) as the promontory of the sacrum ro tes forward, and counternutation forces the ilia laterally (that is, away o1" the midline) as the promontory of the sacrum rotates to the rear (fig 6 a'-

6. eorw art) bending posh res 319

6. eorw art) bending posh res 319

Rotated Sacrum

Figure 6.2a. The gross movements of the pelvis and sacrum that are involved in sacroiliac nutation are indicated by arrows. The promontory of the sacrum is thrust forward (*), the iliac crests are shifted medially (**), and the ischial tuberosities are spread apart (***). For counternutation, the shifts are in the opposite direction: the iliac crests move laterally, the sacral promontory moves posteriorly, and the ischia move medially (from Kapandji, with permission).

Figure 6.2a. The gross movements of the pelvis and sacrum that are involved in sacroiliac nutation are indicated by arrows. The promontory of the sacrum is thrust forward (*), the iliac crests are shifted medially (**), and the ischial tuberosities are spread apart (***). For counternutation, the shifts are in the opposite direction: the iliac crests move laterally, the sacral promontory moves posteriorly, and the ischia move medially (from Kapandji, with permission).

The Sacroiliac Joint From Kapandji

groove sacral articular surface of the sacroiliac joint

Sacroiliac Joint Nutation
ilial articular surface of the sacroiliac joint

groove sacral articular surface of the sacroiliac joint

Figure 6.2b. Enlargement of fig. 33 showing the matching rail (on the left) and groove (on the right) architecture of an idealized sac roiliac joint. Such a joint might permit up to 10° of slippage (essentially a rotation) between full nutation and full counternutation. The pelvic bone (left) has been disarticulated from the sacrum (right) and flipped horizontally to reveal the articular surfaces and to suggest how a healthy sacroiliac joint could permit this much movement (Sappey).

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Responses

  • FESAHAYE
    What is nutation and counternutation?
    6 years ago
  • fnan
    What is counternutation of the sacroiliac joint?
    6 years ago
  • renzo longo
    What is counternutation of the pelvis?
    6 years ago
  • genet
    How do you know which way the sacrum is rotated?
    6 years ago
  • Aayan
    Is sacral nutation and counternutation movements that occur within the si joint?
    6 years ago
  • musa
    When does sacral nutation and counternutation happen?
    6 years ago
  • jannette
    Is nutation posterior?
    6 years ago
  • teigan
    How is nutation important?
    5 years ago
  • Kauko
    How to correct counter nutation?
    5 years ago
  • CAMILLO
    What joints Nutation and Counternutation?
    4 years ago
  • tito
    What is sacroiliac nutation?
    4 years ago
  • jouko
    When does counter nutation of the sacrum occur?
    3 years ago

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