Postural Dysfunction – The Hips
As we have already defined postural dysfunction in a previous post,
we can move into how it can occur in the hips, how it effects the hips and how it can be overcome in the hips. When we talk about the postural dysfunction that occurs at the hips, we are talking about the muscles that are involved with both flexion and extension of the hips. These include the psoas, iliacus, pectineus, adductors, tensor fasciae latae and the gluteal region. In less scientific terms the muscles that are found at the front of the hip, the inner part of your thigh, the outer part of your upper thigh and the back of your hips.
Some simple questions to ask yourself to determine if you suffer from some degree of postural dysfunction of the hips include:
1. Do you spend large amounts of time sitting?
2. When standing, do you repeatedly place most of your weight on the same leg?
3. Do you find that you get lower back pain or tightness?
4. Do you experience a feeling of tightness in the front of your hip?
5. Have you been told that hips are ‘out of alignment’?
Answering yes to any of the above questions might be an indicator that you have a degree of postural dysfunction of the hips.
Typically, what occurs for a majority of people is they have underutilized glutes, specifically through the hip extension movement, combined with over worked and shortened hip flexors from being in a sitting position for hours on end. The role of the hip flexors is to bring the knees to the torso. So being in a seated position, even though these muscles aren’t actively being used, they are being denied the opportunity to ‘stretch out’. Shortened hip flexors can lead to lordosis, also known as anterior pelvic tilt. Lordosis in some individuals can lead to lower back pain and a reduction in their hip mobility.
The other most common instance of hip postural dysfunction comes from favouring one leg as the weight bearing leg. This is when you’re standing you rest the bulk of your body weight on one leg. It is something that is so subconscious for many of us, that we don’t often realise we’re doing it. What it can lead to is tighter muscles around the outer gluteal region of that particular leg. These tighter, shortened muscles can give the illusion that one leg is shorter than the other leading to the ‘uneven hips’.
Just as with the postural dysfunction of the shoulders, to overcome any dysfunction of the hips, you will need a combination of lengthening (stretching, massage etc) and strengthening (typically resistance exercises). You will need to identify where your dysfunction is occurring. If you can’t do this on your own, a qualified health and fitness professional will be able to assist you. Once you have identified your specific area of dysfunction, you can begin to overcome it. In general terms, most people will need to lengthen and strengthen their hip flexors while at the same time strengthening their glutes and hamstrings. Here’s a recent workout that will give you some exercises you can use to strengthen your glutes.
For information tailored specifically to you, on how you can undo the effects of hip postural dysfunction, get in touch today! You can experience the relief that can come from massage and be given a series of specific strengthening exercises to get your hips moving the way they were intended.