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Work Your Hip Stabilizers to Find Pain Relief and Increased Mobility

I broke my neck June 30, 2017. When I was released by my doctor, he wanted me to try to rehabilitate myself. After about three months, I finally got a prescription to start physical therapy. My main goal was to get rid of the dull, constant pain that I felt and improve my range of motion. I was surprised to learn that if you work your hip stabilizers, you can find pain relief and increased mobility.

My Therapy

As I went through physical therapy, I noticed that we worked increasingly on strengthening my hip stabilizers. The more we worked on building that strength, the more mobility I had. I thought it was really odd that strengthening my outer hip muscles could lead to greater neck rotation and reduced pain.

So, one day, I asked my PT about it. She said that basically, if your hip stabilizers don’t work, other muscles try to take over hip stabilization and get really confused about what exactly they’re supposed to do. By getting the hip stabilizers to work correctly, it sends a message through your body to the other muscles. Then, they can better understand their role in your body’s movements.

I was surprised to learn that strengthening hip stabilizers isn’t just part of the process for neck therapy, but it can be extremely helpful in rehabilitation for a number of issues and injuries. Because of this, it’s possible for people with varied injuries to practice hip stabilization in therapy.

So, if you’re in physical therapy for an injury, don’t be surprised if your therapist gives you exercises to work your hip stabilizers. It may seem totally unrelated but, believe me, it helps!

What are Hip Stabilizers?

gluteals and piriformisYour main hip stabilizing muscles, the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus, are located on the outside of your hip joint. You may not feel them with your hand when you touch the area, but you will definitely feel them internally when they are working. Even as my muscles get stronger, I can still feel when my hip stabilizers kick in and start working.

How Do I Work my Hip Stabilizers?

Your gluteus medius and gluteus minimus are responsible for keeping your leg correctly positioned in the hip socket. Therefore, choosing exercises that challenge this stability will work your hip stabilizers.

In physical therapy, my therapist and I created a little yoga sequence to work my stabilizers. To get the most out of these poses, you want to practice them in a fluid, sequential way. Here’s our sequence:

  • Downward facing dog
  • Plank pose
  • Crescent lunge (right leg back)
  • Warrior 3 (right leg back)
  • Tree pose with upper thoracic extension (right leg rotated out)
  • Warrior 3 (right leg back)
  • Crescent lunge (right leg back)
  • Plank
  • Crescent lunge (left leg back)
  • Warrior 3 (left leg back)
  • Tree pose with upper thoracic extension (left leg rotated out)
  • Warrior 3 (left leg back)
  • Crescent lunge (left leg back)
  • Plank
  • Downward facing dog

A couple of other great hip stabilizing poses are Warrior 1 and Half moon pose.

Have you had to strengthen your hip stabilizers as part of your physical therapy? Let us know what you did in the comments below.

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About Sarah Stockett

Hi, I'm Sarah! I'm a certified Pilates and yoga instructor with a passion for pain relief. I believe you can use simple exercises to relieve your aches + pains. AND, I believe I can teach you how.

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