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‘Your hips are out’... What does it mean?

Have you heard the saying, ‘your hips are out’? What does it mean? Well there is more to it than just hips.

The musculoskeletal structures like your spine, pelvis and muscles all play a roll in creating movement of your lower limbs. Most importantly, the sacroiliac joint or SIJ is a special joint that connects your lower back spine to your pelvis. The primary function of the SIJ is to provide shock absorption for the spine. As the force is distributed down the lumbar spine to the lower extremities.

Shifted hips stem from a variety of underlying issues, including sedentary lifestyles causing pelvic shifts, overuse due to sports, manual labour, arthritis and more. Pain in the SIJ is a big contributor to lower back pain. Muscle imbalance patterns develop and tissues become strained. The majority of these issues result in improper gait or walking pattern, feeling your ‘hips are out’.

The most important muscles for SIJ stability are the deep gluteal muscles and core muscles. When these muscles become weak, due to trauma, overuse due to sports, manual labour, arthritis may result in inflammation and irritation of the joint.

Common symptoms of SIJ dysfunction are:

  • Pain in the lower back that may radiate to the glute muscles

  • Pain that is worse with standing and walking

  • Pain during certain activities like bending forward, getting in and out of the car

So what can be done to help?

There are 2 main stages in helping with SIJ

  1. Decrease pain and inflammation

  2. Help to restore strength and neuromuscular control of the SIJ

Decrease pain and inflammation

Your chiropractor will help to release loading on the SIJ to decrease pain. Through lumbar adjustments, muscle releases and stretching tight muscles surrounding the SIJ. Application of MLS Laser is effective on the sacroiliac joint and will help reduce inflammation and pain.

Restoring strength and neuromuscular control

As inflammation and pain is reduced your chiropractor will focus on aiding to restore strength to core and gluteal muscles to provide support to the SIJ. Rehab exercises to improve movement patterns of the SIJ. This will activate muscles surrounding the SIJ called neuromuscular activation.

Exercise: Bridge hold

  1. Lie on your back and bring one leg at a time upwards keeping your feet on the floor and maintaining your legs at hips width apart.

  2. Enter a bridge position by lifting your hips upwards until you have a straight line from your shoulders to your knees.

  3. Hold this position and now raise one heel off the floor, then lower this heel and raise the other.

  4. Repeat the movement ensuring you do not allow your hips to drop or your body to twist

Do 10 Repetitions x 3 sets daily.

Weksler, Velan, et al. The role of Sacroiliac (SI) Joint dysfunction in the genesis of low back pain: the obvious is not always right. Arch Orthop Trauma Surg. 2007 Dec;10(127) 858-888.


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