The root cause of many people’s lower back pain and other health problems could be down to tight hip flexors.
The impact the hips have on the whole body was never totally clear to me until I trained as a biomechanist and started to understand the relationship between the hips and the body.
Tight or locked hip flexors can be caused from an instability or a rigidity in the pelvis and a lack of ability or understanding to hold it in a neutral position. This can contribute to the following problems:
Joint pain in legs, lower back and hips
discomfort when walking
Discomfort in knees from a lack of movement in hips which then causes body to spin and compensate to balance from knees
Bad posture and inability to stand tall
Aching when sleeping and lying down
Lack of energy in day to day life
Lack of strength and explosiveness in sport
Anxiety from discomfort
Do you find it surprising that all of this might be simply caused by this one tight muscle?
Many people suffer from tight or locked hip flexors, especially those who sit for hours each day, but few realize the impact on your whole body. Sitting for hours on end in simply in the same seat, and especially if not keeping the pelvis vertical, causes a strain on the hip area and lower back. There is excessive weight in one position which pulls on the muscles and ligaments and creates a pressure on the cartilage in a particular angle. Lack of movement brings along a restricted circulation – or a transfer of fresh nutrients to and removal of toxins from the area, which also causes a lack of lubrication so when one does get up to move there is a feeling of stiffness, which in turn can therefore be abrasive and cause wear and tear.
We are designed to move. And to highlight – everything moving up and down the body flows through the hips. They help to support the strength and health of your entire body.
HIP FLEXORS ARE THE BODY’S MOST POWERFUL, PRIMAL MUSCLE… … they need training and stretching
For more information please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org
It is all very well to correct our straightness and our posture in a controlled gym environment but what we really need to be doing is correct it in al the actions and things we do in life. This is where a static biomechanics assessment is invaluable – take a look from head to toe at the body and look at alignment, tightness, locked up areas and work out where the issues are and work out how to release and strengthen.
I was asked this question when I bought my horse and was planning on hunting it 3 months after settling him into his new home.
“How are you going to get him fit?” ….. How would I get a human fit I thought. I would keep a training diary and write a regime, covering all the areas of fitness – increased endurance, increased strength, increased core work/ flexibility/ agility. I would use the heart rate as a gauge as to how fit the animal was and in what zones I was working him. On looking into this I realised horses and humans are animals and whilst having the obvious differences they are essential muscle, fat, bones, organs and water. They need the same dietary requirements of protein, fats and carbohydrates for the same things – carbs for energy, protein/ amino acids to build muscle, water to hydrate and keep the cells and lubricated and the body juices flowing. Food sources are different obviously, we need to eat meat to get our best source of protein (although it is debatable that we possibly eat too much meat). But we can learn a lot about ourselves from our furry neighbours and we can translate on to them a lot as well. Too much starch/sugar makes us both gain weight, but can in the process make us all “fizzy”or over excited. Hyperactive children most of the time could be sorted out with diet – more vegetables and less processed food. It is very real with a horse – because they can be out of control when over excited.
So on the exercise – how do I know how puffed he is – the perceived rate of exertion with humans is about talking to the client and seeing how fatigued they are. I can look at his demeanour or how much puffing he is doing, but to really know I need a Heart Rate monitor, then I can see when he is getting anxious, when he is tired, what he looks like when he is concerned – I can learn my horse much quicker.
So I spoke to Polar, we use their equipment in the gym. They have two different types of monitor, a belt like us – but this is actually quite hard to use with a girth and saddle or even a lunge roller. So they have devised a system with just sensors which you poke under the girth, which is also tricky because of the wires. The belt is cleaner, but it bridges away from the rib cage which is not round but kind of rectangular at the underneath. Anyway I have definitely learnt a bit from using the equipment so far and can now make my training more meaningful and more specific, the biggest thing i learnt was the flight and fight instinct of these animals – one can be walking along and all of a sudden the HR shoots up – he is in flight m
ode and ready to run from the lion!! I think our inter
retation can be interesting between a horse being excited and loving something like careering around with its friends and in fact a horse being terrified – they run when running away in a herd.
So when the Heart rate was graphed it was fascinating there were huge spikes. Anyway the point was that there are despite what people in each field would like to believe incredible similarities training a horse to training a human, in dietary requirements, not in dietary source – being that we are carnivores and horses are not, but also in exercise requirements and not in the “how” – that took some thinking – but in the need to engage the core and lift the abs and use the glutes.
“I want to thank you for the significant contribution you have made to my and my family’s life over the last year. I am looking forward to keeping up this level of flexibility, strength and ph
ysical confidence. I am absolutely sure that if it had not been for your input, I would not be in the significantly improved physical state I am in now. In case you need reminding, you are incredibly good at your job and I am so grateful and happy that our paths crossed, albeit for a second time!
This is an excerpt from a lovely client of mine – Emily Davidson.
Emily is an avid sailor and came to me a year or so ago after having had intensive physio for a back issue. She had had a herniated disc in her late teens and has had a partial discectomy, way back then. A year ago this was bothering her again, and led her to further scans and pain management etc, and a fear that she would not be able to achieve the family goal of sailing off into the sunset on their yacht was causing concern. Anyway the decision was not to operate, but to learn to manage this – her journey started with some physio and then we looked at her posture and the way she moved in life and around the yacht, which led to a year of hard work. The journey was probably helped by the knowledge that I have of sailing and the conditions that she is likely to encounter out there, a huge part of many peoples journey is regaining the “belief that they can do it”.
So here we are she has reached her goal and has now set sail for an amazing adventure with her husband Tom and two kids aged 7 and 5.
Britain is not doing so well on Sugar intake, but we have already taken steps to tax soft drinks – currently running 3rd after Mexico and USA!! SA is the country to implement the tax and of these listed it is at the bottom! Click here for more
Sugar is one of the main sources of fuel for bacteria and disease aside from the fact that it is the main contributor to obesity and all its side effects.
FACT: You cannot reduce fat/obesity by exercise alone, but you can by dietary intake – you have to watch what you eat to stay healthy. Exercise keeps you fit and strong, nutrition keeps the balance of fuel right.
So the common cold has been dealt with in various ways – but are we in fact prolonging the illness by taking many of these medications and would we do better to simply adhere to a more natural approach?
See the guide below – the reality is sleep is the most important – but that involves taking a day off!
Emma has just finished assessing motion – she has added to her Biomechanics Coaching screening with “Gait Analysis” testing . Now we can be more thorough in testing the body both statically and in movement, and so get a bigger picture of the route causes of problems.
Testing is about looking at issues from all angles – ruling out possible causes to coming up with a plan of attack for either resolving discomfort or releasing the individual potential for top level performance. It is about searching for perfection – finding the most perfect way a person can move or function within the limitations of their body, their lifestyle, their creation and their ambition.
Intrinsic Biomechanics Screening looks at the function of the joints and the ability of the body to produce life and sport actions from a static perspective – what the ability is.
Gait Analysis specialises in the lower body and looks at the flow of the body in movement. If there is a lock up in any part of the chain then motion will not be as fluid as it could be.
The obvious place to look is at the feet – and all too often we use cushioning to alter this. That is fine as a short term solution when there is an injury but it is not a long term fix.
The question is – why does the foot not land straight? – not that – it is not landing straight so lets chock it up. We can see it is not straight.
But is it coming from the bottom of the leg or is it coming from the top of the leg? If the hip is not sitting in neutral are the strings (muscles) down the leg not out of kilter and in the wrong tension so therefore will pull the knee and foot out of alignment?
We still see person after person with issues. That are left until there is a major problem such as a knee injury or lower back pain. Not enough emphasis is put on correct posture and straightness in our children at school. This is where wear and tear begins.