Hip, Hip, Hooray!

The hips or more specifically the hip flexors are working constantly throughout the day and even night. These muscles are essential for the human body to function and perform the simplest tasks. The hip flexors are in constant flexed position for most of the day and for this reason it is vital to be kind to them by stretching. Through my experience as a massage therapist, I have found the hips to be the most common source of body discomfort from likely related injuries such as, low back pain, sciatica nerve impingement, to unlikely related injuries like, TMJ disorder, shoulder adhesive capsulitis, knee and foot pain.

Thankfully, many of today’s fitness programs are geared towards building core strength, which is crucial for maintaining a healthy and active life. Just as important to building core strength would be to stretch the muscles surrounding the hips, especially the psoas and illiacus.

The psoas attaches to the transverse process of the lumbar vertebrae 1 to 5 and intervertebral discs above each vertebrae and the iliacus attaches to iliac fossa. Both insert on the lesser trochanter of the femur and together they are called iliopsoas. Together, these two muscles are in a flexed position even when we are seated. Think about the many hours of the day we are sitting, either at work, driving, and at home watching TV. In addition, to enabling us to sit, they also play an active role in several other actions that we may take for granted like, getting to a standing position from a seated position, running, climbing stairs, and jumping. When either of these two muscles become tight from always being contracted, they can cause that side of the body to be out of balance leading to a multiple of injuries.

An effective way to stretch these muscles would be to perform lunges up and down the hallway for a couple of minutes at a time. Start with your hands on your hips, then tilt your anterior pelvis forward. Next, take a step forward with your right leg while your hands are still placed on the hips for stability, sink down with your left (back) leg where your knee is just above the floor (go as far down as you feel comfortable, never stretch into pain), from this position you should feel a stretch between your quadricep and pelvis, causing your hip flexors to pop out. Now rise slowly up and step forward with your left (back) leg and sink down with your right (now back) leg where your knee is just above the floor. Keep repeating lunges several times and you will feel the psoas and illiacus stretching and lengthening out.

Orthopedic Massage SF

2030 Union St.,

San Francisco, CA 94123

Phone. 415-690-9536