Quick Tip: Hip Mobility
Recently, I got to attend a natural movement class from MovNat Madison hosted by Mindful Motion Physical Therapy, here in Madison. It was so much fun! I discovered a fun little hip mobility move...and that crab walking is way harder than it looks!
My left hip is often much tighter but a few reps of these and it was nice and loose! Plus, it is great practice for ground mobility and transitions from sitting to standing, which is very important as we age. Hands free is the goal!
Remember, happier hips = happier pelvic floor.
Try it out and see how it feels! How did you do??
It’s a special Halloween edition of The Pelvic Underground. I even dressed up for the occasion!
Here’s something scary...tight glutes and pelvic floor! One of my recent favorite self-myofascial release tricks.
This one targets pelvic floor from behind and specifically deep hip rotators. It is delicious for getting a femur (the “thigh” bone) that sits too far forward in the socket to rest back and center.
Got a tight pelvic floor, hip impingement, or a labral tear? Try this out!
First, lie on the floor with knees bent and feel what you feel, particularly how much floor you can feel with your bum. Is one knee higher than the other? If so, do that side first and most.
Next, find your midline between #glutesofglory and then feel for your tailbone, place the ball an inch or so above and to the right or left of the tailbone. Don’t rest *on* the bony areas, find flesh. Then rest in that spot, breathe into it and feel yourself #relax into this. It should NOT hurt. Then move across your glutes doing this same thing until you reach the back of your “hip bone” (posterior portion of the greater trochanter). Remove the ball and now see how it feels. How much more floor can you feel? Does it feel like a wide open space now? That’s your femur resting into position 😎 Are your knees level now? Excellent!
Happy (belated) Halloween!
Self-Myofascial Release: Glutes
When you are growing some #glutesofglory they sometimes need us to show them some myofascial release love.
Here is an easy one you can do without having to flop around on the floor or get awkward with a foam roller. But that is fun, too!
Grab ye a small ball. I have a tennis ball and a racket ball that is slightly smaller and less squishy. Lean against the wall with the ball placed in the glute area. Roll around until you find some hot spots and hang out there some and see what you can work out. Breathe into the really sticky spots.
Make sure to also spend some time in the gluteus medius which is along the upper rim of the pelvis. Stay OFF of the outside of your hip (greater trochanter). That’s a no-fly zone due to the feisty bursa there.
After 30-60 seconds on each side, jump into your glute strengthening and you’ll reap much greater rewards. What you release, you must then teach. Otherwise you’ll just keep losing the gains.
And remember...your glutes ARE your pelvic floor and vice versa.
Hypertonic Pelvic Floor Stretches
It’s hump day so how about some more stretches for a tight pelvic floor? Sure!
Now, I say "hypertonic" because that is unfortunately the verbiage used most commonly, but it implies something neurological in nature and generally that is not the case. What we should actually be saying is a "tight/weak pelvic floor." Because, anything that is tight is also weak, just as anything that is loose is also weak. But loose is also a terrible way to describe a hypotonic pelvic floor (which is less common). I digress...
Back to a tight pelvic floor! Happy baby pose is another favorite of mine. Bottom photo is the typical way it is performed. Hold your legs so they feel relaxed and shins (anterior tibialis) are relaxed as well. Breathe deeply and slowly into your belly/back/sides (360 breathing!) for up to two minutes. Note: don’t send your breath down *past* your bum, but aim *for* your bum. Breathing so far down actually puts too much pressure down and out. No need to go crazypants on us here.
Top photo is a modification in a more prone position. I bolster under my bum so that my hip flexors can relax and my back stays long and relaxed. Too much rounding of the back and your canister (i.e. your core) isn’t aligned appropriately. Breathe deeply and slowly into your belly/back/sides and down to your bum. Really try to feel your rib cage expanding in your back and imagine that pelvic floor expanding more and more with each breath.
Holding Your Kid: Part VI
Car seats. Love them, hate them. Have to have them. So let’s carry them better, or just leave it in the car and never carry it around 😎
Yea right...never wake a sleeping babe!
Okay, the first set of pics works best in those early days when baby is lightest. It is that super clever carrying trick that circulated the inter webs in the last few years, with a reminder to do it better. Use those abs! You still have them, they didn’t leave so get your ab work in while also living life! When you stick your pelvis/hip out you are creating imbalances and your muscles will eventually share their unhappiness with you, especially in the back and shoulder. So stop.
Next set of pics is for when baby gets heavier. I once worked with a patient who partially dislocated their proximal fibula from carrying their car seat like this and letting it slam against the side of their lower leg. Ouch! This is much harder but you can switch sides and do so often! Don’t always carry on one side.
The front carry technique is also great for getting in/out of the car. I have used this technique A LOT. Sure it looks funny, but if it helps you avoid all of the pain then so what? Plus, who cares? Do what is best for *you* and don’t carry your kid like a schmo 😎🙌💪
Holding Your Kids: Part IV
Okay, this time the adjustments are pretty subtle, but with very big improvements as a result. I got to a point where I couldn’t wear my second because it caused symptoms of prolapse. Obviously, I still wasn’t managing pressures well. Once I figured things out I could use the symptoms I felt as a feedback loop. I almost felt lucky that I was getting this instant feedback on my alignment rather than years down the road and after a lot of repetition of bad habits. So, here you go!
See in the first pic you can barely see my neck, head is forward and shoulders are hiked up and rolled forward. Hips are thrust forward, knees are locked out, and glutes are clenched. Bottom strap is much too high, sitting at my waist and in the curve of my lumbar spine. What to do?
Relax glutes! Move hips back over ankles, soften the knees a touch, and engage those lower abs just enough to give stability. Relax the shoulders! Your kid isn’t going to fall out if you relax. Make your neck long, and slightly tuck chin by lifting from the crown of your head. Gently engage between shoulder blades (enough to hold a feather). Move the bottom strap down across your hips. (Your low back just said, “ahhhhh.”)
Think of the unconscious things our bodies do in tight situations. It wants to create tension to push against something. You have a strap across your waist? Your brain wants to push your belly out to create tension against the load, and thus stability. Something pulling down on your shoulders? Your brain wants to push up against the load and you’ll hike your shoulders up. Hips thrust forward on locked knees? Your glutes will clench to create stability from behind. This is why ill-fitting or too-tight clothing is a tricky thing. But that is for another time :)
If you are a sling user, then these same principles apply, but also make sure to switch sides every other time so one shoulder isn’t always taking the load.
**My kids are too heavy now for wearing so today’s model was my daughter’s doll, “Baby Jayne” 😎**
Holding Your Kids: Part II
Part two of how to hold the heavy things better!
First pic...I see this all. The. Time. I watched one mama carry her kid around like this at the park recently and she even maintained this posturing after setting the kid down 🤦♀️ If I had cards I would have handed her one and told her to call me. It’s never too late to stop; there IS help.
One sided pelvic pain? Weakness in one hip? One sided knee pain? Low back pain? Neck pain? Jaw pain? Trouble contracting one side of your glutes? Leaking? The list is long!
Think of the domino effect of symptoms with the stance in the first pic. I see functional scoliosis and some serious pelvic issues down the road. The hard part with posture is that negative effects can take months or years to bubble to the surface, so it is really easy to brush off. But just like interest compounds over time and becomes a really big deal eventually, so too does the way in which we hold ourselves and move throughout the day.
Once again, be mindful of how you carry heavy loads (kids, pets, groceries, dog food, etc.). Center your weight over both feet (you want your center of mass centered), feet forward, pelvis neutral, core (lower TAs) engaged slightly, standing tall through crown of your head, engage the shoulder blades with a slight squeeze between them, and use those arm muscles! If it’s too much, decrease the load where possible. The nice thing about the kids is that their weight increases gradually enough that you can adapt to the change in load, but it is still work!
You’ve got yourself an isometric strengthening exercise anytime, anywhere! Make it active with some lunges or squats. And you *know* I have thoughts and pointers on that as well... More to come! Until then, hold the heavy things better!
Runner, lifter of children, PTA, CPT, PCES, pelvic health zealot