By Dustin Boudreau, Health and Wellness Columnist
One of the major joints in the body are the hip joints. A ball and socket joint (like our shoulders), the hip can move in many directions, flexion, extension, internal and external rotation, abduction (away from the body), and adduction (towards to the body-midline). To perform these movements, many muscles are needed, working together, and against each other, crossing the joint in various places, and held together by ligaments. All these structures in unison allow us to stand, bend, walk, run, sit, etc.
As you can imagine, the hip joint, along with the knees and ankles, get more wear and tear than other joints that are above the pelvis. Just like other mechanics, all the parts need to work properly together. Mentioned many times before, our bodies are designed perfectly, it is what we do to our bodies that cause immediate or slow progressing injuries. With an imbalance, our bodies adapt right away to ease pain, or over time to compensate. We often do not notice the compensation happening until other areas of our bodies begin to hurt, a cause-and-effect situation. Either the hip is compensating from an injury below, or anywhere in the body hurts because of a compensation from a hip injury.
So how do we rehabilitate, ease pain, and/or prolong the proper function of the hips? First, if you are experiencing pain in the hip(s), low back, or knees, get assessed by a sport, physical, or massage therapist to determine the cause and underlying problems. It could take years for the body to present with pain from compounding compensations from an injury, so it is important to remember that we must work back through all the minor body adjustments that have happened over time. This could take some time to work through and adjust. Remember that being healthy is a way of life, not a quick fix.
The starting place is to know what is happening, what is limiting movement, what you are doing daily that may have caused the issue. Then regaining a balance of the muscles that work the joint, done by strengthening muscles that are weak and stretching tight muscles. Be careful, as sometimes what you think is tight might actually be weak. Like hamstrings can be tight like a stretched elastic band and not actually overpowering other muscles.
Your body is yours for your life, you must do what needs to be done correctly and have patience.