Stretching your hip flexors is very important for managing low back, hip and knee pain. However, this stretch is frequently performed incorrectly. Follow these rules and you will maximally stretch the hip flexor instead of the hip capsule:
- First, you want to make sure to tuck your pelvic under.
- Second, you want to rock your body forward until you feel a good stretch across the front of you hip.
- Do not lean your trunk forward or push your hip towards the ground.
The weather is getting warmer, which means Golf season is here! Hip mobility is extremely important for your golf swing. Here are three of our favorite stretches to get your hips loosened up!
- Piriformis stretch: place one leg over top of the other. Grab your bottom leg and hold. If you are having a hard time holding your leg, try wrapping a towel around your leg to extend your arm length.
- Internal hip rotation stretch: set up is the same as number 1. This time, drop your top leg across your body. Use your other leg to apply pressure downwards.
- Pigeon pose: 1 leg in front, keep your knee at a 90 degree angle. Your other leg rotates backwards until it is straight behind you. If this is too hard, keep both knees at 90 degrees, forming an S shape around your body. To add a deeper stretch, come down to your elbows.
*As always, hold stretches for at least 30 seconds!
Foam rolling your IT band can be extremely painful and the latest research suggests that this exercise does little to effect the length of the tissue. Instead of rolling the IT band, try rolling your TFL. This is the muscle that attaches into your IT band.
Here you can see Jean rolling the front of the outside of her hip to target this muscle.
Do you have stiff back and sore neck after a long day of work? Your foam roller is a great for more than just rolling out your muscles! Below you can see Courtney demonstrating three of our favorite exercises for upper body mobility.
- The open book: lay on your side with your foam roller under your top leg. Rotate your top arm behind you. Stop when your knee begins to lift off of the roller. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat.
- The chest opener: lay vertical on your foam roller, head and bottom should both be on the roller. Open your arms like a snow angel until you feel a good stretch across your chest. Hold for at least 30 seconds.
- Upper spine extension: lay with your foam roller perpendicular to your body, under your upper back. Use your hands to support your neck. Extend over top of your foam roller, keeping your neck still (do not look backwards). Return to your original position. You can change the level you are targeting in your back, by scooting your bottom up and down.
8 in 10 people will experience low back pain in their lifetime. We don't want you to be one of them! One of the major causes of acute low back pain is lifting an object with improper form.
You can see on the left an example of poor lifting form. On the right, Jean is demonstrating how to properly lift the box and protect her lower back. This is what makes her form safe. First, she has the box close to her body. Then she bends her knees and squats down, allowing her legs to do the work. Lastly, she maintains a flat back and upright posture.
If you are experiencing low back pain, come see one of our physical therapists and we'll have you pain-free in no time!
Did you try squatting and find it too challenging for you at this time? Practicing going from sit to stand without your hands is a great place to start. This movement helps you practice using your legs and gluts in the correct way.
Here you can see that Courtney shifts her weight forward over her feet (nose over toes) to help her gain momentum. She drives up through her legs and squeezes her gluts to assist herself to full standing. She slowly returns to sitting, forcing her gluts and quads to control her descent. Remember, just like with squatting, you want to sit your weight back and down. #followuppost
Have you heard that "squatting is bad for you knees?" Squatting is actually safe for everyone if it is done correctly and it is very important for everyday functional activities. If you have knee pain, this is a great way to strengthen your legs and gluts to help decrease your pain!
On the left you can watch Courtney perform a squat the wrong way, the way that would “hurt” the knees. On the right you can watch her perform the squat with correct form. She is sitting back and down, activating her gluts and decreasing the force through her knees. She lowers her body and stops just above her knee level or 90 degrees of knee and hip flexion. Try it out in the mirror and watch your form. Happy squatting!