With everyone spending more time at home, often in make-shift work setups, the prevalence of hip and back pain is increasing. If you start feeling pain, the best place to start is trying to address it yourself at home! Here are my top 5 picks for where to begin if hip and back pain are annoying you:
#1 Change your position often. I am a huge proponent of standing desks! Is standing the cure? Not at all. What I like is the ability to change positions frequently- every 30 minutes or so. It might look like this: sit, then stand up straight, then prop one foot up while standing, switch feet, sit back down, stand up and lean on desk, etc. There is no perfect posture or way to sit. You may find some more comfortable than other, so feel free to come back to those positions more frequently! Our bodies are made to move, not sit (or stand!) in one place for 10-12 hours.
#2 Seated Hip Opener. Cross one ankle over the opposite knee, sit up really straight and keep your back flat as you lean your chest forward slowly towards your leg. Feel that stretch in your hip? It probably feels good and necessary. This gets into some of your hip musculature than you are sitting on a squishing all day long! You could hold this position for 30 sec - 1 min on each side. It doesn’t need to be super intense to get the job done, so don’t feel that you have to push until you are miserable!
#3 Windmill. This is one of my favorites because it rotates the low back, which we don’t often do while working for long periods. You will likely also notice a stretch in your pec (front of the shoulder/chest). This area tends to be tight on most folks who work on a computer or a sedentary job. Lay on your side, knees and hips at 90 degrees, sweep the top arm up and around until your arms are out to the sides and your back is rotated. If sweeping the arm overhead bothers your shoulder, you can instead open it towards the ceiling then come to the same end position. The goal is to have both shoulder blades on the ground. Don’t feel the need to shove your arm down to the ground. If you are tight, that might not feel great! A good starting place is 6-8 reps to each side.
#4 Nerve Glides. “Sciatica” is a hot term and turns into an umbrella term for nearly any hip pain. But true sciatica can be a major problem when sitting. Even if you don’t have sciatica, nerve glides like this one can decrease hip and back tension, so give it a try! Support the back of your thigh so that your thigh is pointed straight up. Straighten your knee (kicking foot to the ceiling) and pull your toes/upper foot to your face. It should create tension in the back of your leg. Hold for 1-2 sec then relax to the original set up for 1-2 sec and repeat 10 times.
#5 Go on a walk outside (or in the house if you have to). Physical activity is one of the best “medications” for back pain and hip pain. Try taking walks either during the day or at the book ends of your day. Motion is lotion, so we say. The more you move your joints, the healthier!
Each of these tips can be helpful for back and hip pain caused from prolonged sitting. If you still have trouble with these areas during your day, please reach out. We can dive deep into the issue and work on exercises to get you back to feeling better and being stronger!
**This is not medical advice and is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition.
Change your set up and move around frequently rather than staying static all day.
There are some mobilizations to start addressing back and hip pain listed above. Videos too! Check it out.
Daily physical activity like walks, whether in the middle of the day or at the book ends of the work day, are essential for health.
Still can’t crack the code for your back and hip pain? Send an email to info@SpectrumPerformance.fit and let’s schedule some time to chat about your goals!
Thanks for reading!
Dr. Jackie, DPT