Move your hips to reduce hip and back pain!
We see a lot of clients coming in with reduced range of motion in the hips. For some, this is a minor inconvenience, but for many, this can lead to significant hip pain, back pain, problems with balance and performing daily activities (including tying shoelaces or getting dressed). Personally, I wasn’t aware of how tight my own hips were until I began my Yoga Teacher Training. While I can’t say I’ve dramatically improved my range of motion, I have been able to open my hips enough to be pain free and functional. For anyone with tight hips, incorporating some stretches and exercises into your daily routine can make a huge difference.
Many people will notice that one of their hips has more range of motion than the other. The hip with less mobility can create a whole host of problems.
Legs up the wall
Lie on your back with your hips as close to the wall as you can. If you prefer, you could roll or fold up a towel and place it under you hips or low back. Get your legs up the wall as vertically as you can without discomfort. This position can be held for quite (several minutes) a while as it is a very gentle stretch.
Wide legs up the wall
While you have the legs up the wall, you might try stretching out the inner thighs. Spread your legs to a comfortable width. Over time, you will probably be able to spread your legs a bit more gradually over time. Again, this can be held for a long time, but when completed, use your arms to bring your legs back together.
Shoelace pose (hip and piriformis stretch)
Scooting your hips away from the wall, bend your legs. take one leg and cross your ankle over the opposite knee. You can bend the leg against the wall or press the rotated leg away from you with your hand. You should feel a stretch deep in the hip.
The other component to happy and healthy hips is to make sure that all of the muscles of the hip are firing properly. and in proper balance. Strong hips help to maintain balance and keep you active well into the later years of life.
To this end, you can do any number of leg lifts (to the front, to the back, and to the side.) Additionally, taking time to practicing balancing on one leg can help to create balanced strength throughout all of the muscles of the hips and upper leg.
Lie on your side with your knees bent. Slowly and deliberately use your hip to lift the top leg away from the other leg. Over time, as you strengthen your hip, you can put a resistance band around your thighs to build strength.
As you strengthen you hamstrings, adductors, hip flexors, and abductors, you will likely notice how much lighter you feel, how much better your balance is, and you may even notice back pain fading away!