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The hip joint also known as the femoral acetabular joint is known as a ball and socket joint because of how it is shaped. One of the most common reasons for hip tightness is prolonged sitting. With the development of the office job, sitting has become more of a common occurrence which has a negative impact on the tightness of our hips.
The tightness in the hips are often caused by a group of muscles called the hip flexor muscles which include the iliopsoas, rectus femorus, sartorius and tensor fascia lata. All of these four muscles cross that hip joint and therefore have an impact on the lifting of the leg in many different ways.
Hip tightness can be due to a combination of hip flexor tightness, lack of joint mobility and simply just muscle imbalancing. When we sit, our body is already starting to adapt to the seated environment and within 30 minutes of time some scarring can already start to occur in a process known as hysteresis. Now imagine sitting or maintaining a position of stress on an area for multiple hours at a time and for every work day. A lot of tightness and scarring can build up in these areas!
The most obvious of knowing that your hips are tight is that limited movement sensation when you are walking, running or simply just trying to get moving. Often times individuals will just find that there is a range of motion or movement that they used to be able to do but now they lack “flexibility” to get moving.
Other less obvious signs are that you are experiencing “anterior pelvic tilt” which simply means that your hips are rotating forwards due to the tightness of the muscles in the front of the hip that overpower the muscles that should be balancing the hips in the back and glut areas. This anterior pelvic tilt are occurs because of the following listed by Vladimir Janda’s Lower Cross Syndrome:
As a result, tight hips can present itself frequently as the cause for low back pain, pinching in the hips, low back tightness, a weak core and an exaggerated lower back curve (hyperlordosis).
We are built basically like a string puppet that is pulled by the muscles. The muscles are influenced by the stress we put on them and they are always fighting gravity. So if you look at the tight hips being a tight string pulling your hip forward, the body has to try to react to this strong pull forward. Oftentimes, the body is forced to tighten the low back muscles just to try to fight against this forward pull.
Additionally, because the hips are rotating forward, the core will relax and lose its tone because now the hips are off balance and they no longer need to keep holding. Now that we use the core less, it gets weaker. This cascades to the gluts (butt muscles) relaxing because now they’ve lost any challenge from the core and so they can relax and be less active as well. Meanwhile all the force of holding your position has now been placed on the poor low back muscles who are now holding on for dear life to keep us functional. This over activity is causing a lot of tension on the low back and will then cause that exaggerated S shape that we may see the lower back becoming more and more arched as time goes on.
The tightness in the hips and low back may be the source of chronic low back spasms, may be the cause of tightness and may be a pre-cursor towards worse conditions like disk injuries.
Now that we know about low back tension due to tight hips, our bodies are not just affected above the hips but also below as well. Often times when our hips rotate forward it shortens the muscles on the front of the thigh known as the quadriceps and lengthens the muscles in the back of the leg known as the hamstrings. This imbalance created can lead to quite a few different challenges in the knees when left undetected.
The impact on the knee depends on where you place stress in the hips and which muscles are hyperactive.
90 / 90 Shin Box
Weighted Goblet Squat
Hip flexor Stretch
Hip Flexor and Quadricep Foam Roller
As always, if you have any questions about your conditions and would like to schedule an appointment with us at Baseline Health and Wellness you can give us a call at 6046744027 or schedule online at www.baselinewellness.ca
Provided by Dr. Kody Au, Vancouver Chiropractor
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