Years ago, I regularly saw a massage therapist (MT) for neck, shoulder and upper back pain. The pain was chronic, so much so that even as a junior level employee at an ad agency (translation: broke, young and working crazy hours), I prioritized going for the treatments. All I wanted was for the MT to work out the muscles where I felt the discomfort. Instead, she insisted on looking at my hip alignment.
I was kind of annoyed – we were wasting precious time on my hips when other body parts were screaming for attention.
From both a standing and lying down position, she took great care to evaluate whether my hips were even. Like an artist meticulously deciding what color paint to use, she worked thoughtfully. I could almost hear the wheels of her braining turning as she made silent calculations.
Who knew that misaligned and/or tight hips could cause such havoc on the body? That’s what was happening with me.
If one body part is out of alignment, then it will impact many others throughout the rest of the body. Everyone has their habits and your body adjusts. So, if you typically use one leg more than the other, unknowingly walk with one foot slightly turned in or out, sit leaning forward, etc., your body will start to move that way “naturally,” which results in unnatural positioning (and ultimately may cause pain).
For me, a strong contributor was the heavy shoulder bag I lugged all over town. It caused me to inadvertently lean to one side, putting pressure on all kinds of places that didn’t like it. No wonder I was in pain!
Whether pain in the knee, lower back, shoulders, neck or feet, it may be originating in your hips (or some other misaligned body part, but for the purposes of this blog, we will focus on the hip flexors). And if you spend a lot of time sitting, and/or leaning forward toward your computer, you are not doing your body a favor, and MUST take steps to realign the body.
Hip openers, like the ones often taught in yoga classes, may feel difficult and even intimidating. No one likes to be the person who can’t sit crossed legged or do other seemingly “simple” moves. Working toward a correction doesn’t have to take a lot of time or require you to “pigeon” your way to flexible hips.
Try these easily laid out exercises to gently align your hips now. Of course, consult with a doctor if you have any concerns before you start any new program.
Importantly, become aware of your tendencies. Start with getting your hips aligned and flexible, and the rest of your body will thank you!
Marjorie, Chief MOJO Maker™
If you want a reviving reset by the ocean, join us for our upcoming Montauk Retreat, 9/14-16.