For roughly 2 years now many of us have been working from home. Great for lowering the cost of fueling your vehicle, maybe not so great for our bodies. More of our body parts are perhaps feeling a bit creaky from lack of moving around and one of the most affected areas are the hips. Finding relief from hip pain is a common reason for patients to come to nMotion. Outside of manual therapy, our physical therapists recommend exercises to help strengthen your hips and increase mobility, on top of relieving pain. Here are favorite hip exercises and stretches recommended by our PTs:
Lateral Ban Walk
The lateral band walk is great for every leg workout but can particularly be effective for hip pain. Place a resistance band around your feet and step from side to side. The band increases glute med activation, which is often an under-activated muscle with exercise.
The clamshell was found to be one of the best exercises for hip strengthening , while also helping to treat and prevent injuries. While not a difficult exercise to perform, it can be done incorrectly so pay special attention to form. Lying on your side, stack knees at a 45-degree angle. You can rest your head on your lower arm. Make sure your abdominals are engaged for stabilization. Your feet remain touching while you raise your upper knee as high as you are able without shifting your hips or pelvis. Bottom leg remains still. You can add a band to create more resistance.
The bridge is a common exercise used by physical therapists to strengthen the gluteus, along with the hamstring muscles. Both muscle groups provide support to the back of your hips. Lying on the floor with knees bent and feet flat lift your buttocks slowly off the floor. Keeping your abdominals tight and engaged, lift until your body is in a straight line – knees, hips, back. Hold for a few seconds and slowly lower down. 10 to 15 repetitions are recommended.
Supine Hip External Rotation Stretch
While lying on your back with your leg crossed over your knee, use your hand, and push the crossed knee away from you. This and other external rotation stretches and exercises can help strengthen the hip external rotators, which will lead to improvement in stability and preventing injury to the hips, knees and ankles.
While this is a popular yoga pose, PTs sometimes use this stretch to bring relief to hip pain and bring mobility and flexibility to the joints. It can also help eliminate mild lower back pain too. Be sure to follow your PTs directions as to how to get into position for Pigeon Pose. If you experience any discomfort, it is best to stop and communicate this to your therapist. It may mean more needs to be done before attempting this pose again.
Outside of exercises and stretches there are other ways to find relief from hip pain. Tools such as a foam roller can help to alleviate sore areas. Massage and heat can also work to reduce tension and tightness from the affected area. . If you find your discomfort persists, contact your doctor or physical therapist for further exploration as to the source of pain.