Improve Hip Mobility To Prevent Low Back Pain

Hip Mobility and low back pain

Hip mobility is a major factor in deciding how your low back will behave overtime. Hip joint movement restriction has been found to be one of the major factors in developing low back pain. These two areas are so closely related that they work in conjunction at times. Change in the appropriate proportion of hip and low back (lumbar spine) movement can lead to movement dysfunction and injury. Considering a movement such as a squat (Fig. 1), where low back should be kept neutral throughout, with full movement occurring at hip. If hip range is limited due to joint stiffness or muscular tightness, it can force the lumbar spine to flex and lead to injury.

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Fig. 1

It is also noteworthy that this disproportion in ROM(range of motion) has been increasing day by day. Following this, the low back problems are at a high. We can relate reduce hip mobility to ever increasing sitting habits, inability to do a full squat and lack of Stretching and cool down in sports. So, why or what leads to this kind of movement dysfunction?

Factors leading affecting Hip mobility – Next Page

ITB Tightness – A runner’s nightmare

ITB tightness – A runner’s nightmare

ITB (Illiotibial Band) related conditions are commonly seen in endurance sports. Running, cycling, hiking are some such sports where an individual is highly prone to ITB related injuries. ITB tightness cannot be ignored, as it can lead to many injuries which can affect one’s performance. Quite often it’s not the tightness itself but increased loading or strain on the ITB because of other biomechanical factors.  These injuries are usually overuse type and if they develop, they can keep an athlete off sports for weeks or more. So, it is very important to keep a check on its tightness in order to prevent injuries.

Illiotibial band is a thick band of fascia found on the outer side of the thigh. It runs from the pelvic bone, crosses hip and knee joints and gets attached to the tibia (lower leg bone). At the hip joint, gluteus maximus and TFL (tensor fascia lata) muscle merge into ITB. It also attaches to the fascia of vastus lateralis muscle (outer thigh muscle), which is a part of your quadriceps muscle. Illiotiabial band is an essential structure as it helps in stabilizing the knee joint.

A tight illiotibial band or increased loading/strain on it due to biomechanical factors, can lead to anterior knee pain, external hip snapping and ITB Friction Syndrome. In external hip snapping, an audible click occurs from ITB moving over greater trochanter (bony protuberance) of thigh bone. Pain might also be present along with an audible click when an individual flexes and extends the hip.ITB-fs

While in ITB Friction Syndrome, pain is present on the outer side of the knee. This pain usually sets in during activity and increases gradually, which can further force an athlete to discontinue. You might notice tenderness on palpation and swelling may as well be present. This condition develops due to increase in friction and compression between the ITB and lateral femoral condyle (outer bony protuberance of thigh bone near knee joint).

Next page – Factors leading to excessive loading on Illiotibial Band

Difficulty targeting hamstring flexibility?

 Difficulty targeting hamstring flexibility?

One of the main causes of musculoskeletal injuries is soft tissue tightness or weakness. When we talk about tightness the first muscle that comes to our mind is Hamstring. Hamstring has almost become like a synonym to tightness. Let it be your coach, friend, doctor, physio or social media everyone points out and suggests stretches to relieve hamstring tightness. However, in spite of spending enough time on stretching, many people complain of temporary to no change in its flexibility.

It is important to understand the reason why your hamstring tightens up so easily. It is equally essential to comprehend its significance in injury prevention and treatment, and the correct way to increase its flexibility.

Hamstring functions as a knee flexor (bending knee), moving the heel towards the buttock and also as hip extensors (kicking back) moving the leg to the rear. Hamstring muscle is an antagonist to quadriceps (muscle in front of the thigh). Hamstring helps in deceleration of the lower leg when in movement. The three muscles which are present in the posterior thigh are semimembranosus, semitendinosus and bisceps femoris (short and long head). They all originate from ischial tuberosity (sit bone) and attach on the leg bones (tibia and fibula).

Foam Roller – A friend worth having

Foam Roller

Muscle tightness is a common thing, be it a sportsperson or someone who has a sedentary lifestyle. The only difference would be in the muscle group getting affected with respect to their sport and lifestyle. It will always be the more dominant muscle group used in any sport or activity prone to tightness. For example, a runner would develop tightness in leg muscles, a kayak will develop tightness in upper body and a desk bound person would develop tightness in upper back and neck. Many of the musculoskeletal conditions such as knee pain, hip pain, neck pain, muscle/tendon injuries and many more are a result of muscle tightness.

Muscle tightness and trigger points, commonly known as “Knots” in the muscle, are a result of activities or compensation happening in our bodily movement through our sports or lifestyle. Both have same contributing factors such as training load, poor posture, lifestyle factors, hydration, lack of rest, stress and diet. When these factors increase and exceed our ability to recover, it results is tight muscles and trigger points.

The most commonly used method to target muscle tightness is stretching and massage. Stretching is one of the easiest and cost effective techniques known but it’s also the most ignored and incorrectly done technique at the same time. In many cases only stretching is not sufficient to target muscle tightness. Massage is a convenient and relaxing technique but at the same time costly and time consuming. Not all types of massage target your muscle tightness until they are deep tissue massage or sports massage.

Foam Roller

This is where Foam Roller comes in handy as an easy and convenient way to work on the tight muscles. Foam rolling is a self-administered technique, which is both time and cost effective.

Continue Reading – frequency, duration and technique