The Secret Life of the Hips

You don’t often hear people complaining about hip pain yet imbalance in the hips may well be the root cause of more common complaints from back pain to frequent falls.

The Secret Source of Low Back Pain

In a recent National Institute of Health report, 27% of participants surveyed suffered from low back pain. If you are one of the millions experiencing back pain, giving your hips a little love could provide the relief you so desperately need.

The Hidden Cause of Frequent Falls

The hips are key to balancing the body. Depending upon your stance and movement, 17-25 muscles are involved in the motion of the hips. Addressing hip tension and strength could significantly decrease your risk of a fall.

The Emotion in the Motion

Yogic tradition describes the hips as a storage ground for negative feelings and pent-up emotions, especially ones related to control in our lives. Opening the hips is also credited with creating space for the birth of new ideas and new pathways. Imagine if freeing up your hips could tame your inner control freak and make way for constructive thinking.

So let’s get those hips moving.

Here are three tips from the hips that could change your life:

From the Lips to the Hips

There are two ways to target healthy hips through nutrition – build your bones and reduce your inflammation. A recent trial found that senior women with osteoporosis who were given 4 grams of fish oil per day for four months experienced improved calcium absorption and evidence of new bone formation. Strontium, a mineral similar to calcium found in seawater and soil, may also play a role in bone formation and inhibit bone breakdown. Some research says that women with osteoporosis may not absorb strontium as they should so supplementation could be beneficial.

Cooling down inflammation is a must to make way for healing. We recommend Boswellia.  This  Ayurvedic herb has anti-inflammatory properties that have been compared to those of the NSAIDs you may be taking daily. Clinical trials have shown that Boswellia can relieve pain and swelling as well as prevent loss of function in people with osteoarthritis. Unlike NSAIDs, long-term use of boswellia does not lead to irritation or ulceration of the stomach.

Open the Hips for Mobility and Balance

Would you believe you can knock out hip tension by lying down? Next time you’re feeling low back pain, try the simple but elegant yoga pose, the supine cobbler. Here’s how you do it:

  • Lie on your back, bend your knees and bring the bottoms of your feet together. Slide your feet toward your hips letting the knees open wide apart.
  • Inhale and slide your arms along the floor up over your head. Place your palms together and cross your thumbs.
  • Breathe and hold for 4-8 breaths.
  • To release: exhale and gently release your arms and legs.

Picture Pain-Free Hips

The mind is a very powerful tool for boosting our body’s healing power. If you don’t think the brain has any effect on your physical body, try this exercise. Take 10 seconds to think of the word “lemon.” You’ll notice that your mouth is watering. You don’t have to see, smell or taste a lemon for your body to react to the mere mention of the word.

You can use this brain power to help ease hip tension and relieve low back pain. Here’s how:

  • Find a comfortable spot to sit or lie down. (For added benefit, try this visualization in the supine cobbler’s pose outlined above.)
  • Take 10 deep breathes in and out at a slow pace.
  • Feel your body relaxing and your mind clearing.
  • Now visualize a beautiful origami crane in each hip joint.
  • This is a visual representation of the shape your hips have taken on to help you move, bend and stand in the face of muscle tension and pain.
  • Imagine slowly straightening each delicate fold until you envision a solid sheet of paper.
  • Feel the muscles lengthening in your hips.
  • Now in your mind’s eye see yourself smoothing out each crease in the paper.
  • With each motion, your hip muscles relax and lengthen.
  • See in your mind’s eye a smooth, clean piece of paper.
  • Feel the last of the tension leaving your hip muscles.
  • Take 10 slow deep breathes.
  • If you are lying down, carefully roll to your side and carefully push yourself into a seated position.
  • Slowly stand and gently roll your hips in a circle – first to the right and then the left.

Now you that you know the secrets of the hips, you are on the way to a more balanced a pain-free day.

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