At some point or another, everyone has felt pain in the small of their back, hips, or shooting pains felt in the legs. At times the shooting pains go all the way down to the feet, and when this happens, patients are commonly seen walking into the doctor office listing to one side and holding the painful area.
Most doctors offer pain medications as well as muscle relaxers, and others recommend exercising the pain away. What they rarely reveal to a patient is which muscles are responsible for which pain. Sure, the exercises decrease lower back and hip pain. Why? How do the muscles work?
We thought people prone to small of the back and hip troubles should know more about the muscles found there. Where are they located? What do they move on the body? What exercises ease the pain? Read on to learn more:
The Abdominal Muscles Involved
The spinal column houses the nerves and flexes when the body moves, holds the body upright, and muscles line the column for protection. These vital muscles begin at the base of the skull, and continue down the column into the buttocks, with some attaching to the upper legs.
The muscles are arranged in three layers, with the innermost layer attaching from disc to disc for the further protection of your spine. The next layer acts as a cushion and attaches to a few discs. It’s the top layer of muscle that most people feel beneath their hands when they hold the painful area.
In addition to these, the abdominal muscles are the ones that most commonly give off painful sensations in the small of the back and hip area. The transverse abdominus is the innermost muscle, wrapping around the body like a corset. It goes from ribs to hips, and from breastbone to spine, and while it doesn’t move the body, it aids in breathing.
The rectus abdominus is what looks like a “6-pack” or “washboard abs.” It runs from the ribs down to the pubic bone. It helps the spine flex the body, like when you bend down to pick something up for instance.
The obliques line the sides of the body, along the waistline. They attach at the lower ribs and continue down to the pelvis. These muscles help the body bend sideways, twist, and turn.
Beneath these are the internal obliques. This extra layer of muscle attaches at the ribs and runs down to the hip. They help the external obliques help the body twist, turn, and bend sideways.
Other Muscles Involved
Just about no one has heard of the psoas muscle, but because it can cause so much damage to the body, everyone should know more about it. This muscle is often responsible for knee pain, lower back and hip pain, menstrual pain, sciatica, and scoliosis among other troubles.
The psoas muscle attaches around the mid-spine and connects to each vertebra as it continues down the body. It passes through the hip to attach to the top of the leg on the inside.
This muscle acts as a thigh and hip flexor. When people walk, they can thank this muscle for making them move. If sitting, the muscle bends the body forward and balances the torso.
9 Stretches to Relieve Lower Back and Hip Pain
Many things cause hip and lower back pain. Walking incorrectly, shock to the spine and hip, and muscle strain from improper posture, are among a few causes of such pain. Here are nine ways to relieve such common pains.
Knee to Chest
Lie flat on a bed or a mat. Bring one knee toward the chest, holding for eight to ten seconds. Return to a neutral position and lift the opposite leg. Hold for eight to ten seconds. Do three repetitions.
Both Knees to Chest
Lying flat on a bed or mat, bring both knees to the chest. Hold gently with both hands for eight to ten seconds. Return legs to bed or mat. Repeat three times for a count of eight to ten.
Lying flat on a bed or mat, bring knees up, keeping feet flat. Gently rotate knees to one side, then the other. Do this rotation ten times. Repeat three times.
This exercise strengthens the small of the back and glutes. Lying flat on a bed or mat, keep the feet flat on the surface. Bend the knees. Gently lift the buttocks until the body forms a flat surface like a bridge or table. Gently lower the body. Repeat this rise and fall ten times. Do this for a repetition of three times.
The Child Yoga Pose
On your hands and knees, lower the body until sitting on the legs. Separate the legs until the body is positioned between them. Stretch arms and lower body until lying between the legs. The forehead should touch the floor, and the arms should be stretched as far as they can go. This lengthens the back, hips, and glutes. Hold pose for ten seconds. Do this for three repetitions.
Standing with feet hip width apart, bend over and place hands on the floor. Bend one leg beneath the arms. Push the other leg behind the body. The shoulders should be over the bent knee with the leg behind lying flat on the floor. This pose lengthens the hip flexors and abdominal muscles.
Happy Baby Pose
This yoga pose stretches the hips and small of the back. Lying flat on a bed or mat, lift the legs toward the chest. Splay your legs open from side to side. Lift your feet into the air above the chest. Grasp feet with both hands. The body should look like an infant checking out their toes. Hold the pose for ten seconds and for three repetitions.
This yoga pose opens up everything: hips, back, abdominals, legs and more. On hands and knees, make sure the shoulders are above the hands and hips above the knees. Arch the back upward like a cat. Hold for ten seconds. Repeat three times.
Remain in the same position as the Cat Pose. Instead of arching the back, dip it with the belly button aiming for the floor. Lift the head as if looking at the ceiling as well as lifting the tailbone. Hold for ten seconds, repeating three times. These two stretches should be done together for a complete stretch.
To learn more, call Focus Physiotherapy today at (256) 883-0636 or request an appointment here.