Do you suffer from hip pain? A constant aching after sitting down all day at your desk or when you try to enjoy your favourite movie or show?
You’re not alone. Hip pain is a common, frustrating and debilitating condition that affects many of us every day. It doesn’t discriminate. Whether you’re a desk jockey working from home staring at another Zoom meeting, or driving trucks up and down the Hume. Hip pain from sitting can get anyone.
Hip pain can be due to any of the following.
- Tight and weak hip muscles
- Referred pain from your feet
- Hip joint issues (like arthritis)
- And many more
As your physiotherapist in Pascoe Vale I’ve seen quite a few sore hips from sitting down longer than we used to. Here’s a few quick tips and tricks that you can do at home to help prevent hip pain from occurring frequently. You’ll also be able to move more and improve your overall hip health in the long run.
First, here’s what happens when you sit for too long and get hip pain.
Prolonged periods of sitting, especially in one position, can often be a source of hip pain and can be a trigger for other hip conditions.
Some tissues (muscles and tendons) can get squished, and others are put in a position they don’t like to be in for many hours. Over time this can lead to tightness, weakness and over stress which can all contribute to your pain.
Understanding your body and learning concepts that can help alleviate your pain can go a long way in helping you do the things you enjoy without having that lingering pain. By implementing these strategies, you can expect to feel less pain in your hips, feel stronger in your hips, and feel more confident in doing the things you enjoy.
But unfortunately, life gets in the way at times. You often find it difficult to implement these strategies due to time constraints, limited by the pain itself or simply forgetting.
Here’s the mistakes which we’ve all made in the past
You might have heard about how to relieve your hip pain before but been unable to make the changes needed. That’s normal! Many of us take a few cracks at getting these new habits and exercises down pat.
These are the main mistakes that we have to overcome.
- Being unsure of what and how to do your exercises stretches that will help you
- Afraid to move in case you make your hip pain worse
- Not having support and a lack of motivation
- It’s too damn sore!
But not to worry, we got you covered. Here are some simple strengthening and stretching exercises that are safe, and can be done at practically any time and anywhere.
Relieve hip pain with a piriformis stretch
The piriformis is a deep gluteal (bum) muscle that makes up part of the lateral rotators of the hip. It’s important for balance when you walk, or when you sit, your piriformis holds your legs straight and assists keeping you upright.
If this muscle becomes tight, it exerts pressure onto your sciatic nerve, which can produce pain radiating into your leg. Stretching this muscle can help relieve some of the added tension.
To begin the stretch, start off in a seated position with the leg of the affected side crossed over your opposite knee. Apply gentle pressure to the knee as you lean forward, increasing the depth of the stretch. Hold this position until you feel a comfortable tension with no pain.
Do hip abduction exercises standing behind your chair to help relieve hip pain
Your hip abductors work together to help keep your hips stable when you move.
Hip abduction strength is one of the most common weaknesses seen in individuals with hip pain. Weakness in this region can also cause effects down your leg into your foot and ankle. Prolonged sitting is a high risk factor for developing hip abductor weakness.
The extended period of inactivity can lead to tightness in these muscles which inhibits their ability to function effectively.
A great exercise to perform at home is the standing hip abduction. Stand behind your chair, just touching gently for balance. Pull your leg out and away from your body but make sure you don’t lean your hips. Stand tall and then slowly bring your feet back together again. Avoid letting your knees touch, you only need to lift your legs around 30-40 degrees to be able to feel this and work those muscles.
Complete up to 10 reps on each side.
Hip flexor stretch and strength exercise for hip pain
Prolonged periods of sitting places the hip flexors, which are the muscles at the top and front aspect of your thigh, into a shortened position.
As a result, these muscles can become tight and weak, which ultimately leads to hip pain.
A great exercise that can be done to stretch, but more importantly strengthen the hip flexors is the lunge. As one leg goes down, that side of the hip flexors is being stretched, while the other is being strengthened.
To perform a lunge, stand up straight with your hands on your hips and take a large step forwards onto one leg. Bend your knees, lowering your hips down between both feet until your knees are bent to 90 degrees. Push back up to your starting position.
That’s it. There’s 3 simple exercises you can do at home to relieve hip pain from sitting.
Of course, there’s plenty of other more specific and targeted things we can do as your physiotherapists in Pascoe Vale to help out further. If you have hip pain, start with these exercises and then make an appointment with us in clinic to get you moving again.
Before You Go
If you’re wondering if your foot movements are contributing to your hip pain my podiatry colleague has these tips for you.
About the Author
Pascoe Vale’s physiotherapist Mouhamed Ziftawi doesn’t want you to be struggling alone with hip pain. If you do, that’s ok. Start of with these exercises and book in a session to get your personal plan with the care and guidance you need to overcome your sore hip. If you’d like to learn a little more about Mouhamed check out his interview.