My Favorite Hip Stretches

My Favorite Hip Stretches

Most back pain and hip is due to an imbalance in the tension of the muscles of the low-back and pelvis. The best way to correct these imbalances once they are identified by an expert is typically a combination of joint manipulation, soft tissue work, and specific exercises and stretches to “awaken” the muscles that do not have enough tension and “relax” the muscles with too much tension (This type of treatment is a large component of what I do in my practice). In my next article I will go into more depth on the most common muscles of the low back and pelvis that need “awakening” and are all too neglected in the gym and in many practitioners offices!

What if I am not around to help? Here are a few of my favorite hip stretches that can many times relieve some of that hip pain in the short term until you can receive proper treatment or after heavy activity.  Just remember that the stretching is one small component addressing a complex problem of hip and back pain!

1. The first stretch is a to stretch the external rotators and abductors of the  hip which usually hold too much tension. Here is a description and illustration of stretching the right side. Do not bounce when you stretch, just hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds.

2. The second stretch is for the iliopsoas muscle which is a HUGE component of back and hip pain. Following is an illustration of the iliopsoas muscle first, so you can visualize how big and important the iliopsoas for so many patients problems, then an illustration of the stretch.

Make sure you keep your spine in a nice neutral position (as with anything activity you do!) without over extending the low-back which could put you at risk for some low-back irritation. As in the picture just lean into the lead leg until you feel a good stretch on the front part of your hip on back leg side (in this picture you are stretching your left hip flexors).

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