Having four boys who are busy between school and extra-curricular activities, I know how busy life can get and especially how much you can invest in driving. As a therapist, I spend a good percentage of my day on my feet. However, whether it's sitting or standing, there is still a great demand placed upon the hip and spinal muscles which, as we age, shows itself as hip stiffness, back pain and many other symptoms of stress, tension and pain.
In my new book The 15-Step Playbook for Pain Relief, I define how everyone, every day is accumulating postural debt and how imperative it becomes to paying down that debt ASAP through suitable stretching, mobility and movement.
Remember, if you do as you've always done, you'll continue to get what you've always gotten!
This week I'm exploring the potential downfalls of your driving posture and what you can do to pay off your postural debt sooner rather than later. Don't wait for pain to motivate you, motivate yourself to prevent pain!
I challenge you this week to create a time chart and explore how you invest your time each day. Commonly we all find time to sleep and eat, do the things we love and do the things we have to do, especially with work and as a parent. However, if you are truly invested in leading a life filled with health, happiness, vitality and longevity, this is a beneficial exercise to help manage your goals.
There are 168-hours in a week. Use your time chart and discover how you can manage your time better to accommodate the things you are INSPIRED to do, followed by what you NEED to do, followed by what you could DELEGATE to someone else, even if that means paying them!
Where I'm leading with this exercise is to help you to understand there is always time available. Refining your time management skills helps you to achieve more in less time and free up your time to allow you to pursue what you love and feel more fulfilment. If you want different outcomes such as a healthier back, happier hips and more energy, then leverage your time and energy to invest in your health program to include regular stretching, exercise and, of course, regular massage.
If you are serious about wanting to invest minimal time but get maximum results in your health, happiness and vitality download my free eBook The 15-Step Playbook for Pain Relief.
Common Symptoms - Low back pain - Sacro-iliac pain
- Hip immobility - Illiotibial Band Syndrome - Knee pain - Nerve pain including numbness and tingling - Trigger point pain creating shooting pain to the leg(s).
Anatomy of the Hip
There are a few layers of muscle that function to move and stabilize the hip. The focus today is on the relationship between the two muscles gluteus maximus (GM) and tensor fascia latae (TFL), and their mutual connective tissue know as the illiotibial band (ITB). The function of the ITB is to allow these two muscles, GM and TFL, to help stabilize the extended knee joint. Principally, when you have tension and adhesion to the ITB, it is arising due to the tension and adhesion of the two attaching muscles. By releasing these muscles, naturally the band starts to have more mobility and capacity to function normally.
To explore another great article visit- Excessive Sitting Leads to Terrible, Terrible Things - in which I share another hip stretch and discuss sitting ergonomics.
Take A Drive!
How many hours per day and week are you driving? (Hint: your time chart can tell you instantly!)
Residing in Canada, and driving an automatic vehicle, my primary driving leg is my right side. The key is to consider is both your sitting position and leg alignment whilst driving, especially the longer and more frequent you are driving.
This summer, I'd drive 1.5-hours, hike between 2-5 hours, then drive again another 1.5-hours. What I noticed, was how engaged my right side was, almost consistently, from the start until end of my hiking day. In particular, I noticed how I'd position my right leg - my knee was bent, foot was raised to the pedal and then I'd feel most relaxed placing the right knee against the interior of the footwell. This however, was leading to more postural debt upon another intriguing hip muscle - the sartorius. Even in applying the cruise control option, as a driver, you are still not fully relaxed as your right leg must be ready to respond in an instant to accelerate or break.
Ultimately, I recommend to stretch and move to TRAIN AND PREPARE your body for what you need it to perform every day, and to reset your alignment before sleeping each night.
Commonly, we are activating certain muscles more than others, which if you've been studying my articles thus far, lead to imbalanced muscle length-tension relationships. Bottom line, certain muscles get shorter and certain muscles get weaker. Just like spokes on a bicycle wheel, you must learn to tune your muscles and loosen the tight ones and tighten the weak ones!
Restoring Balance in 5-Steps
Move - increase your body temperature and blood flow to all your muscles.
Massage - using a lacrosse ball or foam roller to agitate the muscles.
Mobilize - move the joints in their full range of motion.
Stretch - focus on lengthening the short-tight muscles.
Corrective Exercise - focus on strengthening the long-weak muscles.
The muscles that commonly shorten and tighten in the hips due to sitting include the psoas, TFL, ITB, sartorius, rectus femoris, hamstrings and calf. These are the muscles that need to be stretched just as frequent as possible, thereby paying down the postural debt for this joint.
Follow my video instruction below to immediately start paying off your postural debt and effectively stretch the glutes and ITB. To complement this stretch also practice the sciatic nerve floss from a previous article - Nerve Hack to Release Sciatic Pain.
Any questions, you can reach me at my clinic by phone: 403 589 4645 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please help me on my mission to relieve stress, tension and pain. Share this anyone you know that would benefit from this blog article :)
Yours In Muscle Health,
Jason Barlow, RMT
P.S. Download my FREE eBook The 15-Step Playbook for Pain Relief!
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