Happy Hip Flexors? by Lisa Bickell
Those patients who come in to see me all know the importance of happy hip flexors. “If your hips are out, the rest of your body is out” I tell them.
Conditions like a nagging neck pain which does not seem to have any cause, back pain, knee pain, menstruation pain, digestive problems, even plantar fasciitis, and of course, hip or groin pain could all be brought on by a dysfunctional iliopsoas muscle, or hip flexor.
I am passionate about this muscle. Or should I say muscles…The psoas and illiacus muscles start on the lumbar spine, both sides, down onto the pelvis and come down onto the top of the femur on the inside of the thigh. It’s the only muscle to connect upper and lower body. It helps keep us upright and enables us to lift our legs for walking and running.
When you are sitting, the muscles shorten. If you sit for prolonged periods, repetitively, these muscles will think it’s “normal” to be short, memorising the state they are normally positioned in.
Now comes the interesting part: The psoas is connected to the diaphragm, via connective tissue called fascia, which affects our breath and “fight or flight” reflex. The psoas is connected to the reptilian brain, known for our survival instincts. Our sometimes sedentary, and often fast paced lifestyles can run on adrenaline, which can chronically trigger and tighten the psoas, as if it we’re going to spring into action or curl us up into a protective ball. If this is happening on a regular basis, the muscle begins to shorten, thus causing all the other problems, some listed above.
Good news – Yoga, Pilates, stretching, massage and physio can all help to keep this vital muscle happy and healthy!
We use a variety of techniques to help this muscle relax and lengthen back to an optimal length, thus reducing pain or impact on our day to day activities or sports.
If you think your hip flexor is an issue, book in today to see one of the Pea Green Physio Team.
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