Class notes #12 Sorting out Back/Hip Pain

Based on the number of people I've come across having hip or back issues and my own recent painful experience, for the past few months I've been exploring the pelvic region and understanding the cause and the cures for lower and mid back, hip, sciatic, sacroilliac and hamstring pain.

This is the subject of today's class notes - sharing with you some information and tips to help avoid or resolve these challenges which ultimately seem to affect everyone.

In writing these class notes I realise I have too much information to share by email and will instead be turning this topic into a 5 or 6 part class series which I'll teach in both Sunday and Monday classes.

Today let me cut to the chase and give you the tips:

If you have hip pain, be especially careful when doing the following:

- wide leg forward bend poses (I'm limiting these in the classes I now teach)

- any postures that are asymmetric + rotation

- avoid too much repetitive impact such as long distance running

If you have lower back, mid back with hip pain or sciatica

- take time to stretch your bum muscles - the piriformis in particular (tips below)

- connect your deep core muscles and develop support for them so they don't overwork

- do Somatic exercises daily to help normalise the function of the muscles and joints

A good place to start is Essential Somatics on YouTube and find these three exercises particularly helpful:

  1. Twisted Curl - for Hip Pain & Scoliosis

  2. The Washrag - spine release

  3. Releasing Shoulder & Hip Pain

Add Cat and Cow pose and this little routine may take you 15 mins per day - and save you so much discomfort, time and money.

I'll leave you with some screen shots from my amazing anatomy app showing this remarkable area of the body as these pictures paint a thousand words:

- Piriformis and Sciatic Nerve: Here you see the deep 'bum muscle' of the Piriformis highlighted in blue with the yellow Sciatic Nerve clearly visible as it passes through the Piriformis and Gemellis. You can see how tight muscles will touch the nerve and cause pain. Stretch this with Pigeon Pose and Marichyasana lying on your back (one ankle crossed over the other knee, thread arms through and pull your knee towards you)

- Sacrum from front: shown so you can easily see this bone and how it joins the hips to make the pelvis.

- Sacrum showing ligaments from back: here you clearly see the strong, tight ligaments that hold this bone in place. Interestingly it isn't fixed, it does move a little. If it gets stuck, boy that is uncomfortable; same story if it moves too much. This is called SI joint dysfunction.

- Showing the deep core muscles: Amazing aren't they - these hold us upright. The six pack is superficial - in this image, I've hidden three layers of abdominal muscle to show you these. If you can stand upright, you have great core strength! You can see how these are joined to your lower spine and what seems to happen, is that because they are so deep, unless we develop our awareness of them and tone them, we over use other muscles, usually in our back, giving us pain. Restore them with the Somatic Hip and QL release exercises shown on Essential Somatics YouTube channel.

That's all for now - thank you if you've read this far! I'm looking forward to exploring this topic together to see the difference in how our backs feel and if we fix our niggles over the coming weeks.

Wishing you all a wonderful week!

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