Everything was fine until that day it hurt to get out of bed. Maybe it hurts to climb into your SUV. It could be that it hurts to ride your bike these days. You’re minding your own business, living your life and then BAM! It’s like your muscles punish you for working IT or designing floor plans for most of the day.
So, what’s going on then?
In your 20s it was fine! Even into your 30s. Then the 40s crept up on you and then your hips and low back just nag at you. Maybe you increase your workout regimen, or you just start going to yoga once a week.
Well, most likely, your hip flexors are starting to give you grief and punish you for sitting 8 hours a day.
What are those pesky muscles anyway?
The hip flexors are all the muscles that bring your legs up towards your body. They also allow you to bend your body towards your legs. First, you have the Iliacus. (This is one word I love saying! It sounds so cool.)
Image of Rectus Femoris
That’s one of your quad muscles. Fun fact: it’s the only quadriceps muscle that crosses your hip joint.
What causes the hip flexors to be complete jerks and cause us pain?
A sedentary lifestyle is a big culprit for weak and tight hip flexors. It can even cause low back pain. Office workers are at great risk for tight hip flexors.
Injuries are another reason for hip flexor pain. Making a sudden movement while running or kicking may strain your hip flexors. Even seasoned athletes can strain their hip flexors if they aren’t taking the time to stretch and warm up properly.
So how can you prevent hip flexor strain?
- Move more
- Stretch properly
- Warm-up properly before exercising
- Strengthen your core
Now you know what hip flexors are and how they can get hurt. What do you do if they are already hurting you?
If you have injured it in some way while working out, then you’ll want to follow the RICE protocol: rest, ice, compression, elevation. When it starts to heal, then you’ll want to take the time to stretch properly. And, that means, you want to hold each stretch 20-30 seconds and repeat them a few times. Then, begin strengthening your muscles. Finally, get regular massages.
If your muscle strain has been caused by years of sitting down too much, then you’ll want to follow the same protocol as above. You may not feel the need to use ice, you do need to stretch and strengthen your muscles, and get into the habit of regular massage.
If you’re wanting to know some great hip flexor stretches, check this out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bRaX6M2nr8
Here are some great hip flexor strengthening exercises. You’ll want to start around the two-minute mark: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWOWpBGGY4k
Finally, if you’re ready to book a massage to ease some of your hip flexor and low back pain, you can book online through my website.
I even know some cupping protocols for the Psoas. (And not everyone can say that!)