Low back pain can come from a variety of sources, but are you aware that one of the most common triggers of low back pain is tight hip flexors? Let’s look into the anatomy of this issue, the causes, and the solution.
It takes multiple muscles to flex our hips, the dominant two being the iliacus and psoas major – together referred to as the iliopsoas. The iliacus runs down the front of the hip and inserts on the femur. The psoas major also inserts on femur and it wraps around to the back of the body, connecting to the lumbar spine, specifically to the T12 and L1-L5 vertebrae. When the iliopsoas shortens, or flexes, the knee is brought up toward the chest.
When discussing this issue, it is important to remember that muscles that remain in their shortened position for prolonged periods of time tend to stay shortened, or “tight,” when they are given the ability to lengthen. A tight iliopsoas that has been in a shortened position will resist lengthening, resulting in pulling on the spine, compressing the disks and causing stress. This will begin to limit the mobility of the spine. Over time, this can lead to serious pain or tightness in the low back, sometimes accompanied by pain or awareness of tightness in the hips.
Tight iliopsoas muscles are common in bikers and runners. Knowing the anatomy and physiology of the hips as described above, this makes sense! These athletes are pulling their knees toward their chest with every step or peddle. However, the muscles do not need to be actively contracting to tighten in the shortened position. When we sit at a desk, drive a car, or sleep in the fetal position our iliopsoas is in the same contacted position as someone who is out running or biking. Unfortunately the average person sitting or sleeping doesn’t think to stretch out these muscles because they aren’t usually sore, leading to tightness and pain in the spine over time.
Thankfully, this issue can treated and maintained to eliminate pain. Chiropractic adjustment is crucial to prolonged relief from tight hip flexors. As the iliopsoas compresses the spine over time, the joints lose their mobility. This causes the muscles to tighten even more, forming a splint of sorts for the immobilized spine joints. An adjustment will get the joints moving correctly, allowing the muscles holding them in place to release. Stretching is then more effective as the muscles have a greater ability to lengthen when they are not being told by the brain that they are needed to stabilize the spine. Not only does pain often immediately decrease following an adjustment, a chiropractor will work with you to eliminate the dysfunctional patterns causing the issue, not just relieve the symptoms.
Along with chiropractic adjustment to mobilize the strained disks in the spine, stretching tight iliopsoas regularly will greatly reduce pain and improve biomechanics throughout the lower body. There are multiple methods to stretch the iliopsoas muscles; two of the most effective are deep lunges and foam rolling.
To perform the lunge stretch, begin by kneeling on the floor. Place one foot on the ground with the knee stacked over the ankle. The knee that is still on the ground should be at an angle slightly more than 90°. Be sure to keep the hips square to front of the body. Keeping the upper body straight, gently push the hips forward. Perform this stretch 3-5 times per day on each side.
Another passive way to release the hip flexors is to foam roll the area. This massages the muscles, increasing circulation and oxygen flow and releasing tension. Here is a link to a YouTube video on the proper method of rolling the psoas muscles.
The most important therapy to treat and prevent tight hip flexors is to stand up and move around! If you work at a desk or drive frequently, make sure to get up and walk around at least once an hour. Bonus points if you perform any iliopsoas stretches while you are up!
- Tight hip flexors are a major cause of low back pain.
- Hip flexors can become tight from running, biking, and most importantly: sitting for prolonged periods.
- To relieve back pain caused by this issue, visit us for an adjustment to mobilize the lumbar spine and STRETCH your hip flexors!
- Prevention is key! Make sure to stand up at least once an hour and move around to lengthen your iliopsoas.
If you have any questions regarding this post or think you may be suffering from tight hip flexors, call us at the office at 615-650-6533. We would be happy to tell you more, demonstrate stretches or foam rolling techniques, and help you get rid of your low back pain.
Some embrace it, some resist it. After going through the five stages of grief when Meghan departed, East End Chiropractic has decided to embrace change. First we had Dr. John running around the office, doing it all. Then our friend Chris, the famous patient behind the desk, stepped in to help.
Next is where I come in. I am Katherine, the new office manager here at East End Chiropractic. Dr. John can now focus on what he does best – treating you – and Chris has returned to his position crafting tunes and sleeping late.
A little about me
I am a recent Tennessee transplant originally from Maine. I moved to Nashville in August 2015 with my husband, Wilson, and our two cats, Angus and Calvin. Prior to relocating I earned my degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Maine. While Wilson spends his days in graduate school at Vanderbilt, I have been coming to know and love Nashville. I worked a few odd jobs before finding myself here, comfortably sitting behind the desk at EEC (Dr. John picked a chair with excellent back support).
From this point forward I will be the voice on the phone, the scheduler of appointments, and the gal greeting you in the office. A certified queen of organization and lover of all things structured, I am ready to take on the challenge of navigating the ins and outs of EEC. I am refining my expertise in deciphering insurance benefits and in writing twitter posts, all to better serve you!
If you’d like to learn more about me, check out our MEET THE TEAM page on the website. Better yet, just ask! I love talking about food, things to do around Nashville, and how much cooler the summers are in Maine.
Thank you for understanding as the practice has gone through this period of adjustment. Change can be tough, but you have all taken it in strides!
I’m Chris. Some of you may have met me, or talked to me on the phone, in the past couple weeks. I’ve been a patient of Dr. John’s since I moved to Nashville almost 3 years ago. He has taken excellent care of me, as I’m sure he has for you as well.
When Meghan Jones – the face that East End patients are accustomed to being greeted by – moved on to a new career recently, I came in for my appointment to find Dr. John quite busy… possibly a bit overwhelmed. He was handling all of the office responsibilities while treating his usual busy schedule of patients. So, I offered to help. I’m a freelancer who’s lucky enough to make my own schedule, so why not get in the good graces of the guy who keeps my neck and shoulders working properly? Right?
I was glad he took me up on it, despite my being entirely unqualified for the position. I’m not a morning person, I have almost zero office experience, and I’m a creative-type — so organizational duties aren’t my strong suit. Regardless of all that, I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity. Not only have I gotten to know Dr. John a bit better, but meeting the people he helps function more effectively and comfortably has been a blast. You are all so friendly!
What I’ve found most inspiring about working at East End Chiropractic is that nobody seems to bring their stress here. It truly is a positive environment. People come in looking forward to chatting with Dr. John, getting treated, and going about their day feeling better. As much as setting an alarm clock for 7:00am pains me, seeing the relief each patient expresses from chiropractic care has made it worth the effort. I leave the office in a great mood each day, feeling like I’ve taken a small part in something that improves people’s lives.
As East End Chiropractic’s new office manager prepares to begin her tenure, I just wanted to express my gratitude to everyone who’s welcomed me, engaged me in conversation, and shown patience with me while I’ve tried to fill the shoes of a true pro.
Thanks! See you in the waiting room!
Change is not easy and saying goodbye is even harder. So it is with some sadness and much gratitude that I say goodbye to my role as East End Chiropractic’s office manager.
It has been such a pleasure to meet the amazing people who have come through this office to receive relief for pain. I have loved getting to know you, helping you understand insurance, catch up about life and kids and school and so many other things. Thank you for trusting me to take care of your scheduling needs and so much more. I feel like I am saying goodbye to an extended family!
As for saying goodbye to Dr. John, or Dr. J as I call him, this is the hardest. I came here to work part time in a season of life that was very difficult for me. Everyone was super patient with me as I learned the ins and outs of working again. Dr. J led with a lot of grace and patience. As my role here has grown, his trust in my ability to manage this office has grown too and I am grateful for this. My time here at East End has helped me get my feet back on the ground and I cannot say thanks enough. I will continue to sing the praises of Dr. J and will recommend him, always, to those who ask me about chiropractic care.
I am staying here in Nashville and will be working at The Dispensary of Hope, a non-profit organization that connects surplus medications to organizations serving the poor and uninsured. I am sure that I will be back to East End for an adjustment from time to time and I hope to see some of you when I do.
One final note: if you are a regular patient of Dr. J’s or even a potential new patient, please send some encouraging words his way as he navigates the office on his own until he finds a new office manager. If you call and don’t get an answer right away, please call back. You can also send an email to email@example.com to schedule appointments.
THANK YOU for making my time here so fulfilling.
For those of you who have been with us for a while, you know there have been a lot of changes happening in the past few months. More changes are coming, but for now we have decided to close our office on Tuesdays, starting April 12, for business and administrative reasons.
**EAST END WILL BE CLOSED ON TUESDAYS**
As always, we welcome your feedback. If you have any questions or concerns, please give us a call or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org We are so thankful that you continue to let us take care of your chiropractic needs. Call us today if you would like to schedule an appointment!