We reached out to OrthoCarolina for some tips on how to best care for two common problem areas ~ our Backs and our Hips.

Here’s how muscle balance can help prevent hip pain.  And you can read about 10 Ways to Keep Your Back Healthy HERE.

Before we get to today’s topic, just a brief intro on physical therapy, and what physical therapists do.

Physical therapy is a way for patients to improve movement, manage pain and prevent or recover from injuries or other physical conditions. Physical Therapists examine and create a treatment plans for patients that over time can help them experience less pain, move more freely, and restore proper function. By teaching individuals how manage their own conditions and injuries, PTs are able to give them more flexibility to continue healing outside of the clinic.

Other components of rehabilitation that physical therapists work on include:

  • Range of motion
  • Balance and posture
  • Strength and coordination
  • Mobility
  • Fitness and obesity
  • Sports injury prevention
  • Enhancing and improving sports performance
  • Manual therapy
  • Body mechanics

 

 

Muscle Balance for Your Hips. And why you shouldn’t sit all day.

by Chris Gabriel, OCS (Board Certified Orthopedic Specialist), CSCS (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist)

 

Look around you – modern society has us sitting a great deal more than our grandparents every thought was possible.  Between working on the computer, texting, and driving (hopefully not at the same time!), we are on our rears nearly all day in some cases.  Even for those of us who are active, a large part of our day can be spent sedentary.  This has numerous health consequences from obesity, diabetes, back pain, and various other orthopedic problems.

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When we spend long periods of time in the sitting position, multiple things happen:

  • Muscle groups held in a shortened position can become tight – hip flexors and hamstrings are two of the most common.
  • Other muscles which are held in a prolonged stretched position can become weak and inhibited- the gluteus medius and maximus are two examples.

These are the muscles that help extend and abduct our hips, and also provide stability to our low back.  When these muscles shut down we have a downward spiral of function often leading to knee or low back pain.

It is essential that we get up and move around during the day, even if it is just for a few minutes at a time. Avoid sitting longer than 20 -30 minutes without getting up.  Some offices provide standing work stations for employees to use periodically during the day.  Setting a timer can provide a much needed reminder.

From an exercise stand point, it is helpful to develop a strategy to help loosen up the tight muscles and strengthen the weak ones.   Foam rolling can be a great way to relax tightness in the hip flexors, IT Band, and hamstrings that can be a result of too much sitting.  You should also try to strengthen the glutes.  Exercises such as side clamshells, bridges while pressing up through the heels, and one leg Romanian deadlifts can be part of a good program to address this chronically weak, but vitally important group of muscles.

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Chris Gabriel, OCS (Board Certified Orthopedic Specialist), CSCS (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist), practices physical therapy in OrthoCarolina’s Ballantyne office.  Follow Chris’s posts here for information on physical therapy, sports injury prevention and general health insights. Chris and his team treat a range of patients for orthopedic and sports medicine needs.  He enjoys working with various local high school, college, and professional sports teams.