What is a Hip Flexor? Fix Lower Back Pain Fast

What Is a Hip Flexor?

fix lower back pain fast

We cannot treat a problem unless we fully understand what is going on in the first place.

So what do the Hip Flexors do exactly?

  • Flex the hip! (decrease the angle between the thigh and the abdomen) – this can be done by lifting your thigh up to your abdomen or by bending over and bringing your abdomen down towards your thigh

You probably could of already guessed the function of the hip flexors because of the name! There are a bundle of muscles that aid in hip flexion, but we only want to focus on the main ones!

Our hip flexor muscles can be one of the biggest causes of low back pain, knee pain and hip pain.

What are the main Hip Flexors?

  • Psoas Muscle

We want to focus on this muscle primarily because it connects the upper body to the lower body via the lumbar region. A ton of problems can arise if we have an overactive Psoas muscle (most of us do)

what are hip flexors

  • Rectus Femoris

This is the other main hip flexor muscle. It is the biggest muscle of the quadriceps and thats why we want to focus on it the most.

how to stretch hip flexors

What Happens When Our Hip Flexors are Tight

So what is the problem with tight hip flexors?

  • When the hip flexors are overactive they pull the whole pelvis forward creating what is called an “anterior pelvic tilt” or a “hyperlorodotic spine”. This postural imbalance tends to put an extraordinary amount of pressure on the lower back.

hyperlordosis

Will result in:

  • Lower back pain because of stress on lumbar discs
  • Degeneration of the discs
  • Disc herniation
  • Sciatica (nerve pinching – can feel numbness and tingling down the leg)
  • Postural imbalances

Sitting and Tight Hip Flexors

Sitting is the major source of very tight and overactive hip flexors. Most of our time as office workers, or people who work at a desk, is spent sitting down.

When we sit down our hip flexors are shortened and our lower back muscles are tight, and our other muscles that are responsible for keeping the spine in a correct position are relaxed. This creates a whole series of issues and will eventually lead to lower back pain

how to stretch hip flexors

Tight Hip Flexors? Fix Lower Back Pain Fast!

Luckily there are ways that we can avoid lower back pain caused from sitting!

Obviously if we can avoid sitting, we should, but that is not always the case and it can also be un-beneficial if we are standing all day too. I would take a look at this article about ergonomically correct sit stand desks, leaning stools and other “MUST-HAVES” that will optimize your time spent at the office.

For those of us who are already suffering from lower back pain, and can’t really avoid sitting, here are the two most effective ways that we can fix lower back pain fast:

 

1. Stretching the Hip Flexors

Since the hip flexors are going to be tight and in a overactive and shortened state, the idea here is to stretch/lengthen them out. Down below I provide what I think is the most important, and “best” hip flexor stretch out there.

what is a hip flexor

  • Start off in a kneeling position
  • Heel of the front foot should be in-line with the knee or located just in front of the knee
  • Back foot should be lined up with your thigh (if you were to look straight ahead in a mirror, you should not be able to see your back foot)
  • Place your hands on top of your hips on the bony prominences (ASIS = Anterior Superior Iliac Spine) and make sure your hips are square
  • Once you have this set up, you want to press the big toe of your back foot into the ground while pressing the heel of the front foot into the ground
  • MAKE SURE to have your hips in a neutral position and avoid falling back into the anterior pelvic tilt position

*If you are on a hard surface, you may want to place a pillow or something soft under your knee*

 

2. Myofascial Release Techniques

Using myofascial release techniques in order to release the tight hip flexor muscles is a great way of relieving lower back pain. A sore back caused by tight hip flexors is an overuse and overactive injury. This injury results in postural imbalances and overactive muscles (hip flexors). Also the muscle fascia will start adhering to itself more and create a reduction in the range of motion.

What we want to do is increase the amount of blood flow and lymph circulation to that specific area in order to provide some relief and return that muscle to its proper length in accordance to the other muscles.

There are many different tools that you can use to provide myofascial release, here are three of my favourites listed below

  1. Rumble Roller
  2. Thera Cane
  3. Lacrosse Ball

For this particular trigger point, I would suggest using a lacrosse ball

why does sitting hurt my back

  • Start off by laying down on your stomach
  • You are going to want to keep the lacrosse ball off of your ASIS (bony prominence of the hip)
  • Usually I use the bony prominence of the hip as a landmark to find my hip flexors
  • Place the lacrosse ball in the general area and roll around on it until you find a tender spot (trigger point)
  • Once you find the trigger point try to relax your muscles and breath into it until you feel the muscle relax and give-way
  • Remember that this area is going to be very tight and will take a long time to release

We tend to store a lot of tension in our hip flexors, so don’t worry or be alarmed if any strange thoughts or emotions come up. It is all apart of the process of fixing that back pain!

If you have any questions feel free to comment below

 

 

 

 

 

 

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