Understanding Hip Pain and Sciatica
Treating With Acupuncture and Stretching
Hip pain and sciatica is a common, if not modern-day problem. You may even feel pain in your thigh, inside or outside your hip joint, groin, or even butt area.
Unfortunately, hip pain can sometimes get worse with activity and reduce your range of motion. Sometimes this pain can become persistent and unbearable.
The hip joint is the body's largest ball-and-socket joint. Cartilage acts as a cushion whenever you use your hip and helps prevent friction.
Acupuncture can reduce your pain by redirecting the blood flow and nervous system's response to pain.
When the super-tiny needles go in to treat your hip pain, they mostly go in your arms and legs. You should feel some improvement in the pain within minutes.
It's not that we're "tricking" the body into not having pain, we're simply improving the circulation pattern.
However, if we don't address the underlying cause of the problem, it will return.
And for most people with chronic hip pain or sciatica, that underlying cause is lack of gluteus medius activation. (Read: "weak butt muscles.")
What You Can Do to Activate Your Glutes and Heal Your Sciatic and Hip Pain
I like to start my pain-relieving protocols with a fine-tooth-comb-look at your posture.
First of all, since most of us sit a lot during the day, how is your sitting posture?
I am NOT going to say that sitting is bad for your health. Surprised? Many places in the world where almost NOBODY has back or hip problems have surprisingly good sitting posture. And you may see someone there sitting for HOURS a day, basket-weaving or whatever.
Sitting Posture Pointers:
FEET: they should touch the ground comfortably. If not, use a stool. Your heels should root into the ground at a slight angle, about 10 – 15%. This is a naturally comfortable position for your feet and will help prevent foot problems like bunions, fallen arches, and plantar fasciitis.
HIPS AND KNEES: Your knees and hips will then externally rotate (right hip goes to the right, left one to the left). It is not very lady-like, but don’t worry about that for now. We first need to create a good foundation of open hips and pelvis. When your hips are more flexible which they will be through my training, then you can cross your legs and still keep a good foundation.
PELVIS: Your behind should be behind you. Many of us are in the bad habit of tucking our tailbone under when we sit.
There’s a disc in your lower back between L5 and S1 shaped like a wedge. When you tuck your tail, this wedge becomes compressed and can bulge or herniate or press on your sciatic nerve.
Scooch your bottom as far back into your chair as you can. You may even grab the flesh of your cheeks and pull them out behind you. Try using a bolster or rolled up towel on the back of the chair to angle your glutes up and back easier. This is called anteverting your pelvis.
RIB ANCHORING: Now, to avoid lordosis (over-arching in your back) or slumping, we need to anchor your ribs. This is basic core engagement.
* CHECK: use your hands to feel the muscles on either side of your lower spine. Do they feel tight? Focus more on anteverting your hips (tilting forward of the pelvis) and bringing your ribs in (core engagement).
SPINE: From here, I’m going to stack up straight. The straight stacking is done with your ribs anchored.
Imagine your entire torso is like a tree trunk – your tailbone to the top of your head is one straight line. It’s your axis. You don’t want to lose your axis. This is your balance. This is how you can take deep breaths and sit without pain.
SHOULDERS: One at a time, rotate your shoulder a little bit forward, then a little up, and then a lot down and back. This will open the chest and create room to breathe deeply. When you’re working, focus on keeping this feeling in your shoulders. Resist the temptation to curve your shoulders forward when you’re working. Lean forward with a straight back, keeping your shoulders down and back, chest open.
NECK: Your neck should be straight and long like a straight extension from the rest of your spine. If you look at a properly aligned neck from the side, there is a slight downward angle from the middle of the ear to the tip of the nose. You may even use your fingers to push your chin in. Avoid “tech neck” where you jut your chin out. Angle your computer screen or work to where you look straight out or even slightly down.
The most important part – you want to be able to do this and breathe at the same time.