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How to Stretch the Hip Flexor Muscles AKA the Iliopsoas Muscles

What are the hip flexor muscles?image of the iliopsoas muscles

The hip flexor muscles are responsible for raising the thigh toward the trunk – i.e. hip flexion. They are active in stepping forward when walking or climbing stairs. They are also important in the kicking motion. This muscle group includes the Psoas Major, Psoas Minor and Iliacus muscles. They are often referred to as the Iliopsoas muscles and are generally located in the front of the lower spine, pelvis and hip. Other muscles of the thigh also assist in hip flexion.

Why stretch the hip flexors? read more…

How to Stretch the Hip Abductor Muscles

Why Stretch the hip abductor muscles?

The hip abductor muscles are the group of muscles responsible for moving the hip away from the midline of the body.

image of hip abductor muscles

Image from 3D4 Medical Essential Anatomy 5 Application

These include the Gluteus muscles, which make up your buttocks. Also included in the abductor group is the priformis, which is one of four deep rotator muscles of the hip. Because of their location, these muscles play an important role in stabilizing the pelvis when standing. This is also crucial for good back mechanics. It is important to note that tight hip abductors will adversely affect your low back function and your gait (i.e. your walking and running). 

The abductors oppose the adductors (aka the groin). Balance between the two groups of muscles is essential. See How to Stretch the Groin or Adductor muscles here.

How to stretch your hip abductors. 

read more…

Relieving Tender Spots With A Tennis Ball

Do you have a nagging knot between the shoulder blades? or upper back or back side of your shoulder?

Do you wish you could just put your finger on it and dig it out?

Here is a self treatment tip worth trying. Use a tennis ball for those hard-to-reach spots.

TRY THIS

Stand in front of a wall and position yourself so you can place the tennis ball between your back and the wall. The tennis ball should be at the level between your shoulder blades. Next lean gently into the wall rolling the tennis ball toward that pesky knot. When you get to the most tender spot linger there for a minute. Apply gentle but firm pressure to the tender spot while taking a few slow deep breaths. Wait for a feeling of softening or decreasing tenderness. It can take upto 90 seconds or more for a tender spot to start softening. Be patient. Then move on to the next, most tender, spot. Follow same instructions as above.

Here’s a useful tip: Place the tennis ball in a long sock so that you can sling it over your shoulder and control where the ball rests without falling to the ground when you move.

You may find many tender points between the shoulder blades or on the back of the shoulder. You can self treat these tender muscles if the response is one of decreased pain and tenderness.  Discontinue if you experience increased pain. 

The tennis ball is also a great tool for massaging your feet. Just sit in a chair. Place your bare foot on the ball and roll the ball from the heel to the toes and back again to the heel. Repeat for two to three minutes. Use firm but comfortable pressure. Cover the entire sole of the foot by moving the ball laterally with each sweep of the sole. You can linger on the tender spots to wait for a release or softening of the tender points – as described above. This exercise is also described in detail in How to stretch the Plantar Fascia.

Disclaimer
Suggestions made in this publication are no substitute for medical advice. If you have any pain or difficulty performing the described stretches, seek advice from your appropriate health professional.

About the Author
Domenic Lopez B.Sc., Certified Exercise Physiologist and license Massage Therapist, is owner and operator of Healthy Moves, a private practice where massage therapy and movement education help you achieve better living.

A Primer on Stretching Exercises: Why, what, when and how to stretch.

cartoon of man stretching

Stretching reduces aches and pains of daily living.

Strength training and cardiovascular (aerobic) exercise are essential to maintain the required strength and stamina for daily living. However, you need stretching and flexibility exercises to reduce the stress and strain that your body endures with the loss of flexibility that can occur with aging. 

Moving Freely

You need good flexibility for optimal movement of your body parts. Good flexibility means muscles are less tense, more supple and have better blood flow. More blood flow to the muscles means they receive more oxygen and nutrition. Better circulation of blood also means better waste removal. This means there is quicker removal of lactic acid and other metabolic byproducts. Your muscles will better absorb the shock and stress of every day movements, when they are more supple. read more…

Stretching the Hamstring Muscles

Stretch Your Hamstring Muscles to Decrease Knee Pain and Back Pain.

The hamstrings are the muscles on the back of the thigh. The three hamstring muscles are responsible for bending at the knee or flexing the knee. Hamstring tears are often the reason you see sprinters pulling up in a race. The hamstrings attach to the part of the pelvic bone which you sit on. When tight, they can tilt the pelvis backward, flattening the lower back. This can adversely affect the mechanics of the back and pelvis, which can strain your spine and hips. Like the quadriceps, tight hamstrings are often contributing factors of low back pain as well as knee pain.

How to Stretch the Hamstring Muscles

read more…

An Ergonomic Look at your Computer Work Station

Here is how to start with a proper ergonomic set up.

Is your chair’s height adjustable?

  • Your feet should be flat on the floor.
  • The knees should be slightly lower than the hips.
  • Do not compromise your correct seating position to achieve the correct height of the monitor and keyboard (see below for monitor positioning).

Do you have an adequate back rest with lumbar support? read more…

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