Monthly Archives: May 2014

Rolfing Prehab – Hip Flexors

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I see many clients at my Denver City Rolfing practice coming in with chronically tight hip flexors and the associated pain and limited mobility that comes from long term restrictions. Rolf Structural Integration is a great Prehab tool to help bring the body back into balance.

The hip flexors are the group of muscles that allow you to lift your knees toward your chest and bend forward from the hips.  What is collectively referred to as the hip flexors is actually a group of muscles that includes the iliopsoas, the thigh muscles (rectus femoris, Sartorius and tensor fasciae latae), and the inner thigh muscles (adductor longus and brevis, pectineus and gracilis).

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Tight hip flexors are a common problem among those of us who spend a lot of the day sitting at a desk.  When you spend a lot of time in a seated position, the hip flexors remain in a shortened position. Over time, the shortened muscles become “tight,” which leads to its own set of problems.

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Tight hip flexors can result in lower back pain, hip pain and injury.  A lot of strain is put on those muscles during activities that involve sprinting and kicking.  For example, runners are more prone to hip flexor injuries because of the small, repetitive movement during running.   But even if you’re not an athlete, hip flexor injuries can occur during everyday activities (for instance, slipping and falling or running to catch a bus).  When those tight muscles are suddenly stretched beyond what they are accustomed to, you might also experience pain in the upper groin region, typically where the hip meets the pelvis.
In addition to Rolfing, simple hip-strengthening and stretching exercises can help keep these muscles from becoming tight, therefore decreasing your risk of injury and discomfort.  Try these stretches daily and incorporate a few of the strength exercises into your routine 2-3 times per week.

8 – Easy Hip Flexor Stretches
Seated Butterfly Stretch: A simple stretch for your inner thighs, hips and lower back.

Pigeon Pose: This yoga posture lengthens the hip flexors on the back leg.

Weighted Hip Extension: This exercise lengthens the hip flexors while simultaneously strengthening the glutes, which are often weak in people with tight hip flexors.

Bridges: A great way to give the hip flexors a chance to lengthen while also strengthening the posterior chain of the body.

Hip Flexor Strengthening Exercises
Note: Exercises that strengthen the hip flexors also involve contracting (shortening) these muscles. So if tight hip flexors are a problem for you, it might be wise to limit how many direct hip-strengthening exercises you perform. These exercises are more geared toward people who have been told they have weak hip flexors that need strengthening or are looking for targeted exercises to build more power and stamina in the hip flexors.

Balancing Hip Flexion: Use your core to help with balance during this exercise that strengthens the hips and glutes.

Runner’s Lunge: A great addition to any workout routine, this lower body strength move targets multiple muscles at once.

Skater Squats: A strength exercise for the hip flexors that can be done anytime, anywhere.  Use a chair for balance and eliminate the squat for simplicity, if needed.

Pendulum:  A more advanced exercise to strengthen the core and hips.  Start with smaller movement and increase your range of motion as you become stronger.

In addition to these exercises, there are simple things you can do every day to help reduce your risk of hip flexor discomfort.  If you sit at a desk for long periods of time, try to get up and move around every hour or so.  Warm up properly before any physical activity, and stretch regularly at the end of each workout.  Your hips will thank you for it!

For more information, visit my Denver City Rolfing website.

 

Rolfing Prehab – Shoulders

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I see many clients in my Denver City Rolfing practice with shoulder pain and mobility issues. Rolf Structural Integration is an excellent modality to address the imbalances that occur in our shoulders.

More than perhaps any other joint in our bodies, the shoulders demand close and careful attention. We use them on a daily basis and they travel a wide-ranging path; it’s in our best interest to assure that the path is the one of least resistance.

The tricky thing about maintaining good shoulder function is that it doesn’t just require strong deltoids or big traps. Those are important for moving big weight and being strong enough to handle anything life throws at you, but real shoulder function – pain-free, unimpeded shoulder function – depends on certain supporting muscles and joints of which most people are simply unaware and that Rolfing can specifically target and intervene.

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I’m of the opinion that everyone should be doing shoulder mobility and stability work, even if you’re otherwise totally healthy and pain-free. Shoulder issues have the nasty tendency to develop gradually due to a deficiency. They don’t always happen immediately (unless we’re talking acute trauma like dislocations or sudden tears); as you read this, shoulder pain could be welling up beneath the surface, growing strength and gearing up to burst through and manifest as a conscious debilitating sidelining injury.

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Get on the Rolfing prehab now, not after it happens. You know how it goes: better safe than sorry, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and any other bit of folk wisdom elevating careful prudence and preparedness over convenient short sightedness. And if you’re suffering from shoulder pain or poor mobility and stability, by all means, contact a Rolfer near you and begin a Ten Series.

For more information, visit my Denver City Rolfing website.