Accidents or injuries can throw the hip bones and pelvis out of alignment, and so can muscle imbalances, extended inactivity or too much time spent in ergonomically incorrect desks and chair. Misaligned hip bones commonly cause pain in the lower back and even the shoulders, contribute to poor posture and can ultimately lead to joint problems. Fortunately, daily exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscles surrounding the hips and pelvis can help to realign these bones.
A rotated pelvis forces the hips and spine to twist and contort, causing back pain and throwing the muscles of the torso out of balance. This 90/90 hip rotation helps to realign the pelvis and strengthen the hips.
To try this move, lie on the ground on your back, arms out the side. Bend your knees and hips at a 90-degree angle. Use your oblique muscles--at the sides of your waist--to slowly rotate your knees to the left, allowing them to come to the ground. Keep your right shoulder and your lower back connected to the ground throughout the motion. Then rotate toward the other side. Repeat at least 10 times. If one side of your torso is weaker than the other, do a few extra reps on that side.
When the pelvis and hips tend to tilt forward, they can force the stomach to portude outward and cause pain in the back and shoulders. Weak gluteal muscles and/or stiffness in the hip flexors are often at the root of the problem. The kneeling hip flexor stretch loosens the hip flexors and activates the gluteal muscles, helping to reduce the tilt and relieve the pain.
To perform this stretch, stand on your knees. Place your right foot in front of you, left leg bent at a 90-degree angle. Lean forward and tighten your left glute until you feel a stretch in your left hip flexor. Raise your left arm straight up over your head and hold the position for five deep breaths. Repeat on the other side.
This restorative yoga pose releases tension deep within the hips and inner thighs, using gravity to help you stretch and relax misaligned hips.
To perform the move, lie on the ground on your back, hands folded and resting on your stomach. Start with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle, feet on the floor. Then place the soles of both feet together, allowing your knees to rotate outward. Relax your legs and allow them to hang open, keeping your feet together. Don't force the stretch, just let your legs slowly fall open as far as they'll go naturally. You should feel the stretch in your hips and inner thighs. Hold the position for as long as is comfortable.
- "Viniyoga Therapy for the Low Back, Hips and Sacrum"; Gary Kraskow, 2009