Jul 05, 2018 by spinalcare
Self-Care for Tight Hip Flexors: Part 1
One of the most common questions we are asked post treatment is, “How do I keep this from happening again in the future?” This blog will focus on preventing low back pain caused by tight hip flexors. Many low back issues can be linked to tight hip flexors, and if you have been to Spinal Care for low back pain, chances are you have experienced the joys of releasing the muscle known as the Iliopsoas.
What is the hip flexor???
The hip flexor is actually a combination of two different muscles: one that starts at the sides of the vertebrae and discs, and the other that starts from the inside brim of the hips. They both extend through the pelvis and insert on the upper thighs.
The Psoas muscle originates at the lumbar vertebrae and discs, and the iliacus originates at the front of the inside of the pelvis. They join right above the hip in a common muscle called the Iliopsoas. This is often why the pain is incorrectly diagnosed as disc pain.
Why does the hip flexor get so tight???
The hip flexor is notorious for becoming tight and pulling on the lumbar spine, causing low back and hip pain. Muscles become tight when they are chronically shortened. Guess what muscle is short when you are sitting in a car or at a desk, when you are curled up in bed, and when you are staring at your phone? The hip flexor!
When this muscle is shortened for a long period of time, it gets “stuck” in the shortened position, so when you go to stand up and stretch the muscle out, it will actually pull on your lower back and inner hip, causing that pain you get when rolling out of bed in the morning, getting out of your car, or starting to move after sitting for a while.
How do I keep my hip flexors loose???
Proper posture and mobilization can go a long way to keeping your hip flexors and low back healthy. For starters, avoid prolonged sitting, and if you must sit for longer than half an hour at a time, set a timer for every 15-20 minutes to get up and stretch. While sleeping, many side sleepers bend their legs and curl them up, shortening the hip flexors. If you are able, sleep on your back with a pillow under your knees to place your body in optimum position. Stretching is straight forward enough, but foam rolling/mobilizing with a lacrosse ball can do wonders to release a tight psoas.
Stay tuned for more tips and tricks for keeping the pain away, and as always contact Spinal Care at 610-489-8800 with any musculoskeletal questions or needs.