Pilates Home Exercises for Chronic Hip Pain Relief
By Lynda Lippin, Master Pilates Teacher, Certified Personal Trainer, and Pelvic Clock® Educator http://pilatesteachermastermind.com
Our hip joints do a lot for us. Seriously, unless you are just lying flat on your back, your hip joints are getting some work. The hip joints are where the femurs (thigh bones) connect to the pelvis. They are ball-in-socket joints, and have quite a bit of range of motion in all directions.
Because the hips get so much work every day, there is a lot of muscle and connective tissue that help move and stabilize the hip joints. And because we don’t simply move, but also do more intense activities and artistic activities that can strain the hips (jumping, dancing, gymnastics, riding horses, etc.), these joints get a lot of wear and tear.
Millions of people suffer from hip pain, sometimes in different areas of the hips. For example, Piriformis Syndrome (too tight deep rotators) causes pain in the back and side of the hip joints, while a psoas (hip flexor) strain can cause pain in front.
Chronic hip pain can also be caused by arthritis, as the cartilage in the joints wears out.
Can You Alleviate Chronic Hip Pain?
Luckily, the answer is yes! There are several tried and true hip pain exercises and stretches that can help us regain mobility and strength in the hip joints and alleviate chronic hip pain.
Hip pain stretches and exercises should focus on stabilizing the pelvis, while stretching the hip joints gently. There are several great Pilates exercises for this, and the addition of the Pelvic Clock® device to these exercises can help even more.
Even if you do need a hip replacement, these hip pain exercises will help you feel better before and after your surgery. Please check in with your doctor or physical therapist before starting any new exercise or stretching program.
Pilates Mat Exercises for Chronic Hip Pain
Pilates mat exercises alone can do a lot to help strengthen the muscles around the lumbar spine, pelvis, and hip joints (the deep abdominals, pelvic floor, adductors, rotators, gluteals, iliopsoas, QL, and lumbar multifidi), increasing stability while encouraging controlled hip mobility.
When you add the Pelvic Clock® device to a home Pilates exercise program, you will more effectively target the pelvis and hip joints.
Here are some Pilates-based hip pain exercises and hip pain stretches that you can try at home.
Pelvic Rocking Into Pelvic Clock
This hip pain exercise helps stretch the psoas and the deep rotators of the hip joints in a very gentle way. This is a great hip pain stretch that will help you feel better quickly.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart.
As you breathe, start a small rocking movement of your pelvis--tipping it back as you exhale (hipbones back and tailbone up) and arching forward as you inhale. Repeat this 10-15 times.
Then try to move side to side without moving your knees or ribcage. Pretend that someone dropped a hot ash on your right hip bone so that it drops towards the mat a little, and then the left. Breathe as you need to and go between the right and left hip 10-15 times.
Try this using the Pelvis Clock®
Finally, combine these movements into a very small circle (like going around a clock face), focusing more on the backward tilt. Try both directions 5-10 times. Then, try this hip pain exercise using your Pelvic Clock®
2. Hip Rotation Stretch
This effective hip pain stretch will exercise all of the muscles around your hip joints.
Start lying on your back with your knees bent and feet hip width apart on the mat.
Keeping your spine long and tailbone heavy, lift one knee up into your chest without moving your pelvis.
Place your hand on your knee, and slowly “stir” your thigh in your hip joint (small circles). As this feels looser, make the circles bigger. Do 8-12 times and reverse direction. Repeat with other leg.
Then, try a larger range of motion using your Pelvic Clock®.