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The 5 Natural Ways to Relieve Sciatica

Tuesday, March 20th, 2018

Have you ever experienced aching pain in the back / buttock area that radiates down your leg? You may have sciatica. Sciatica is a common condition that affects up to 1 out of 10 people, typically between ages 25-45.



Sciatica is typically felt as a dull aching pain to the low back / buttock area, that can at times be sharp, depending upon movement. It is generally on one side, but at times can be on both sides. Other symptoms can include numbness and / or tingling, radiating down to certain areas of the leg.



Sciatica is an entrapment and irritation to the sciatica nerve, which passes from the lower spine, down through the buttock and supplies the back of the leg down to the foot. Typically, sciatica is caused by poor mechanical movement of the hips, pelvis or lower back. This causes abnormal strain and stress to the gluteus and hip rotator muscles. Certain people are more predisposed to sciatica, because their sciatica nerve pierces through the piriformis muscle in the buttock, which makes it more susceptible to irritation.


Pain Relief

The good news is that over 90% of those suffering with sciatica will get better with conservative treatment, especially physical therapy. Physical therapy focuses on improving the mechanical movement of the hip joints, pelvis and spinal joints to relieve pressure on the sciatica nerve. Furthermore, since many muscles are impacted and often weakened, physical therapy helps to restore normal muscle function. This balances the spinal, gluteal and leg muscles.


Try these 5 natural ways to relieve your sciatica:


  • Improve your posture – One of the long-term causes of sciatica is poor posture. Make sure that you have a lumbar support in your work chair and in your car that you can take with you to different places. Look at the way your computer and desk area is setup. Avoid soft couches and recliners. Physical therapists are experts in ergonomics and can teach you the proper posture setup for workstations and home activities.
  • Change your position frequently – Sitting puts direct pressure on the sciatic nerve. Therefore, it is important to change positions frequently. Consider getting an adjustable standing desk if you have to spend most of your day sitting at a computer. If you are suffering from sciatica, try lying down for 10 minutes, standing for 10 minutes and sitting for 10 minutes. Rotate this throughout the day as much as you can.
  • Try magnesium – magnesium is thought to sooth irritated nerves and many of us have magnesium deficiencies. Try a good magnesium and calcium supplement to soothe pain. However, if you are on medications, consult your physician first.
  • Improve your hip strength and flexibility – The gluteal muscles support the normal walking motions we perform everyday. They become weak and tight with prolonged sitting, especially at a desk job. This causes severe strain on the smaller hip muscles around the sciatic nerve, when walking or standing.
  • Get your body mechanics checked – Most of us do not realize that we have made an adaptation in our normal movements, because of limited joint motion or muscle weakness. Our body is amazing at adapting to problems, however, it can only do this for so long, until abnormal strain and stress occurs. Having a thorough biomechanical movement analysis by one of our trained physical therapists, will pinpoint the exact problem that is causing your sciatica. This allows us to formulate a treatment plan that will help you naturally restore your movement, function and quickly relieve your pain.


For more information on how you can avoid low back pain and sciatica, call Priority Physical Therapy today to speak with one of our physical therapy experts. We can put the spring back in your step and restore your ability to move pain free.  

How to Get Rid of Pounding Headaches for Good

Saturday, March 10th, 2018

You know the feeling of your eyes starting to hurt, forehead starting to pound and even your neck feeling like a big ball of tension? A headache is coming on again and it’s time to reach for the Advil, Tylenol or other type of pain pill to numb it. Why does this keep happening?


The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 47% of the world’s population suffers from headaches. It has been shown that, headaches are a complicated series of electrical events that basically send the nerves around your scalp and even inside your brain into chaos. Headaches can be triggered from a variety of events such as muscle tension, poor neck posture, injuries, allergies and smells. The vast majority of headaches are related to problems with the posture and function of the neck. This places excessive demand on the neck muscles, causing chemical irritation, which then not only irritates the nerves in certain areas of the scalp, but can actually alter blood flow to parts of the scalp and even brain.


Where tension headaches are can tell you the root cause of the problem

  • Headaches in the forehead or back of the head are typically related to problems with the function of C1 or the first vertebrae in the uttermost neck
  • Headaches to the temple area on one or more sides are an indicator of a problem with the C1-C3 areas of the neck
  • Headaches that are preceded by muscle pain in the mid part of the neck, are often caused by limited motion in the lower neck / upper back area C6-T2
  • Headaches happening more at the end of the day are typical of poor muscle endurance and strength of the shoulder and upper back / neck muscles


Fixing the cause of headaches


  • Watch your posture! Sit upright, walk around tall and do exercises standing flat with your back against a wall.
  • Breathe properly. Stressful work and home situations cause your breathing to become shallower. As this happens on a chronic basis, you breathe incorrectly with your neck muscles instead of your diaphragm. Your neck muscles will then tighten up, causing frequent headaches.
  • Improve the flexibility of your neck and upper back joints. Changes in the function and movement of your neck and upper back joints can easily trigger chronic headaches by causing muscle spasms.
  • Drink enough water. More and more research points to chronic dehydration of the body and brain as a cause of headaches. If you drink sodas, coffee, tea and caffeinated beverages, these are actually diuretics, causing your body to eliminate water. Instead of soda or flavored beverages, drink more water!
  • Avoid processed foods and high fat foods. A simple solution is to avoid food that comes in a box. Buy fresh produce and fuel your body. The chemistry of most processed foods builds up to toxic levels in the body and can ruin normal body functions, especially those of the nervous system.
  • Have a regular physical therapy checkup. Physical therapists are the medical experts of body movement and constantly treat patients with headaches. Through restoring proper body posture, strength and joint mobility, headaches can be alleviated for good.



If you find yourself suffering with a headache more than 3 times a month, it is time for you to discover the root cause of your pain, before it becomes a real big problem. Call Priority Physical Therapy today to have a thorough physical therapy evaluation of your neck and spine, discovering the true mechanism of your headaches and finding relief for good!

How to Improve Your Posture

Tuesday, February 20th, 2018

In this world of looking beautiful, posture plays a big role in how we look at people. Think about the last time you saw your posture in the mirror and how you immediately corrected yourself to look taller, slimmer and fitter. We fight the good fight against gravity 24 hours a day and it is up to our muscles and skeletal structure to keep our posture in proper alignment. It is important to note that bad posture is associated with many health problems.


Poor posture contributes to:

  • Back pain and neck pain
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Changes in breathing patterns affecting your blood chemistry
  • Poor digestion
  • Difficulty walking
  • Poor balance
  • Lack of endurance
  • Poor athletic performance


Why you slouch

You have different muscles in your core and deep spine that help you maintain a more upright posture. These muscles are used for long duration contractions to keep your body properly aligned. However, like with all muscles, the less you use them, the more they atrophy and the less they can do their job. With today’s sedentary lifestyles, sitting at work, driving in the car, watching TV, etc., these muscles become weaker and weaker.


What you should do

  • Be more aware of your posture throughout the day and take frequent breaks to move around, be taller, re-adjust your seat.
  • Work on exercises that strengthen your core muscles and your mid back muscles.
  • Do stretching exercises with your back on a wall or lying flat on the ground, moving your arms overhead.
  • Walk or run everyday, trying to be as tall as possible while doing so.
  • Be more conscious of your breathing during the day. Take deep breathes in a better posture, which helps to mobilize your spine.
  • Evaluate your workspace. Is it set up correctly? Is your computer in front of you or off to the side? Is your chair high enough?
  • Avoid soft couches and recliners for long durations, these cause poor posture.
  • Sleep on your back or side with pillows between or behind your knees depending on your position. Try to sleep as flat as possible with one pillow behind your head if possible.


Why you should see a physical therapist

When it comes to posture and the movement mechanics of your body, no one is more qualified than a physical therapist to help you. In physical therapy we evaluate your body mechanics, posture, strength and mobility to evaluate what is needed for you to have better posture. We then custom tailor a plan that will pinpoint what you need to improve your posture, and relieve your pain quickly. We teach you the right exercises to perform that will put you on the path to a pain free life with terrific posture! Call Priority Physical Therapy today to learn more about how we can help you walk tall, pain free.


How Do You Know if You Have a Herniated Disc?

Saturday, February 10th, 2018

Do you have sharp pain in a particular part of your arm or leg? It may be a herniated disc. However, it could be another problem. Herniated or bulging discs are often blamed for radiating pains, numbness and tingling in the extremities, but they are often not the culprits.


Herniated discs are caused by the gradual or traumatic tearing of the rings that make up the discs. The rings are much like the cross section of a tree trunk, with a jelly like nucleus in the middle. Discs are the shock absorbers between each vertebra in your spine. Their purpose is to provide stability, support and shape.


All those times you lifted heavy objects poorly or got slightly injured, feeling a sore back or neck, means you could have done micro-tearing of the discs. Over time, this repetitive injury can lead to the nucleus of the disc oozing backwards and out into the canals where your nerves exit from your spine, to different parts of your body.


Herniated discs can occur in all parts of the spine, but typically occur in the lower lumbar levels (L3-S1) or mid cervical (neck C3-C6) levels. Discs swell over night and you can actually gain ½ inch of height, so symptoms are typically worse in the morning.


Here are some common herniated disc symptoms:


  • Gradual numbness or tingling in a specific part of an arm, hand, leg or foot
  • Specific pain in the leg or arm, can be sharp and typically worse in the mornings
  • Difficulty with moving or bending in the mornings
  • Possible weakness in the leg, foot, arm or hand
  • Pain is more one sided


Things to consider:


  • You can have a bulging disc or herniated disc without symptoms and many people do. It doesn’t mean you need to have surgery.
  • Most herniated and bulging discs can be conservatively treated with physical therapy without ever needing surgery.
  • MRIs can show a positive herniated or bulging disc in more than 30% of the population without ever having symptoms. Therefore, just because you have a herniated or bulging disc on an MRI, it doesn’t mean that it is the cause of your symptoms.
  • Sciatica is an impingement of the sciatic nerve, typically deep in the buttock. This can often mimic the symptoms of a herniated disc.

What to do

If you are having radiating pain in the arm or legs, it is best to first see a physical therapist. In most states, you can now see a physical therapist directly without having to go to a doctor first. Physical therapists are medical specialists in analyzing spinal and body movement. We can discover what is the root cause of your pain and treat it naturally, without the need for medication, injections or surgery. By restoring proper movement and strength through specialized techniques many back pains, neck pains and other musculoskeletal problems can be completely treated.

If you are concerned about a possible herniated disc causing your symptoms or have a friend that has the above symptoms, call Priority Physical Therapy today to speak with one of our physical therapists. Discover how we can help you have a pain free and active life.

Physical Therapy Just as Effective for Spinal Stenosis as Surgery

Saturday, January 20th, 2018

A new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine that followed 169 participants showed that physical therapy was just as effective for people suffering from spinal stenosis as surgery (1). In fact, the results point to what physical therapists have known for decades, people suffering with back pain should try physical therapy first, before considering more invasive procedures.

Spinal stenosis is a common back pain condition that affects people mostly as they age. In the spine there are canals that are formed by the vertebrae in which the spinal cord passes through the nerves branching off it. With arthritis, wear and tear, disc problems, fractures and injuries, the canals can become smaller. In fact, many of the vertebrae will change shape and even grow bone spurs into the canals due to abnormal stresses and strain on the spine. Spinal stenosis can be a very serious condition as the spinal cord and peripheral nerves can be irritated and even compressed.

Common symptoms with spinal stenosis are back pain, radiating pain to the shoulders, arms, buttocks or legs. Often numbness, severe pain and burning sensations can occur with compression. Furthermore, balance can be compromised leading to a greater tendency for falls. Many people with spinal stenosis also find it difficult to walk for 15-30 minutes without increased fatigue to the legs and even pain.

The good news is that there is a lot that can be done to support the vertebrae by building up the muscle support around the spine with the right physical therapy. In addition, by improving motion in areas of the spine with stiffness, the normal loads on the spine can be distributed better.

Tips for helping spinal stenosis back pain:

  • Avoid activities that cause prolonged or repetitive extension of the spine, such as reaching behind you or overhead.
  • Begin a walking program, trying to increase your distance a little more each day.
  • Keep your hips strong. The gluteus muscles help to control the movement of the pelvis, which ties to your low back. Strengthening these improves postural control with walking and movement.
  • Have regular physical therapy checkups with our physical therapists to analyze your spinal movement and strength. We then formulate a plan to improve both.
  • Avoid prolonged sitting, especially in slouched positions such as a soft couch or reading in a recliner.
  • Change positions and move when symptoms occur to alleviate irritation and pressure on the nerves.

Talk to our physical therapists today about our SPINE program and how you can help alleviate your back pain quickly, improve your flexibility and your ability to perform everyday tasks! Call Priority Physical Therapy today to learn more.

Annals of Internal Medicine

Source Reference: Delitto A, et al “Surgery versus nonsurgical treatment of lumbar spinal stenosis” Ann Intern Med 2015; DOI: 10.7326/M14-1420.

Is Your Balance Setting You Up For An Injury?

Wednesday, January 10th, 2018

It’s what gives us the ability to walk on two legs and stays with us our entire life, balance. Our balance and vestibular system develop as we grow from a baby all the way through adulthood, and then begin to decline. Most people don’t know their balance is not optimum until they suffer a sports injury, trip and fall, or lose their balance in the shower. No matter what your age, balance affects your ability to be active.

Can you do this?

  • Stand next to a counter or sink barefoot with your hand gently grasping the counter surface.
  • Put one foot directly in front of the other, so that one heel is touching the opposite toes.
  • Gently lift your hand up, but keep it close to the counter in case you need to grab it quickly. Try to hold this for 10 seconds (only do this if you feel safe or have someone nearby to help you).
  • Now try it with you eyes closed.
  • Do you wobble a lot or even lose your balance? Your balance needs work!

There are many reasons for our decline in balance:

  • Changes in our vestibular system
  • Changes in muscle mass, flexibility and strength
  • Changes in eyesight
  • Diminishing reflexes
  • Previous injuries to ankle, knee, hip or spinal joints

How balance affects sports performance

The more aggressive you are in sports, the better your balance and reflexes have to be. Many ankle, knee, hip and back injuries in running, tennis and other sports are attributed to poorly performing balance. By incorporating simple balance exercises into your workout routine, you can set yourself up for success and prevent injuries, as well as enhance your sports performance.

How balance affects back pain

How you walk directly impacts your back and can actually be a big contributor to back pain. By improving balance, coordination and strength in your hips, pelvis and legs, your spine will be supported and guided, reducing strain. This in turn, helps your back function normally without aggravation and inflammation. Balance activities are an important component of our SPINE Program for relieving back pain.

Preventing falls

According to the Centers For Disease Control (CDC), over 2.5 million adults were treated for nonfatal injuries in emergency departments in 2013. In older adults, falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries. Most people don’t think about keeping their balance in shape, until it is too late and they fall, fracturing an arm, leg or injuring their back. The good news is that most falls can easily be prevented, simply by the regular exercising of your balance system.

What you can do

You can improve your balance, and it involves performing simple balance exercises. Try this easy exercise to strengthen your balance:

Calf Raise

  • Stand facing and lightly touching a wall with your hands.
  • Slowly raise up and down on your toes.
  • Repeat 10 times, rest, then do 2-3 more sets.
  • Try without holding on for a greater challenge.

The first step in preventing an injury or fall is testing your balance and being honest with yourself that your balance needs work. Our physical therapists can make a big difference in improving your balance and vestibular system, improving your ability to be active, safely. Call Priority Physical Therapy today to learn more about our specialized programs and how you can get back to an active, pain free lifestyle!

Tips For Relieving Knee Pain

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017

Are you one of the millions of Americans suffering from aching or painful knees? You are not alone. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) 1 in 2 people may develop painful knee osteoarthritis by age 85. In addition, if you struggle with weight, research shows that 2 in 3 people may develop painful knee arthritis in their lifetime.


The knee is an incredible joint, having to sustain 6 times your body weight in force, while moving through a large range of motion. The knee joint is inherently unstable, held together by a mass of ligaments, tendons and muscles. The knee also takes a beating during your lifetime. It is estimated that you will walk an estimated 200 million steps, therefore it is easy to see why your knees sustain a lot of wear and tear over the years.  


How to Keep Your Knees Healthy

There are a variety of factors that can cause knee pain, but it is important to focus on preventing knee pain from occurring and what can be done to keep your knees healthy.


Here are useful tips to keep your knees working in tiptop condition:


  • Stretch daily – With sitting for prolonged periods, walking, bending and other activities, your muscles and tissues can become tighter. Daily stretching maintains good flexibility in your muscles, tendons and ligaments around the knee. This allows the knee to continue with its normal range of movement in many directions.
  • Strengthen your legs – Since the knee is very unstable, it requires good muscle support and strength. This provides the stability needed to bend properly, walk and run. Studies show that strengthening the quadriceps muscle is very important in preventing knee pain and knee osteoarthritis.*
  • Get a tune up from your physical therapist – Your knee needs to move side to side, back and forth, and rotate. Our physical therapists are medical experts in evaluating these special types of motions called accessory movements. By evaluating and treating your knee on a regular basis, our physical therapists can keep your knees moving as they should.
  • Use ice or heat – Typically, ice is used after a flare-up of inflammation, injury or pain. Heat is used more for chronic swelling in the knee with the purpose of increasing circulation.
  • Keep your kneecap moving – The kneecap or patella is a very important part in knee function. The kneecap protects your knee, but also serves as a pulley for the quadriceps muscle to use. The kneecap tracks up and down in a C-pattern when you bend your knee. Keep your kneecap moving freely by gently pushing it down and up, and side to side. If you find your knee swells, gently lift your kneecap up and away from the joint.
  • Watch your weight – The more weight you carry, the greater the forces and loads on the knee. When squatting down you can increase the pressure on your knee by three fold. When jumping, you can increase the pressure by 6 times your body weight. Therefore, the closer to your ideal weight, the happier your knees can be.


The most important part in preventing knee pain is keeping your legs flexible and strong. If you are concerned about how your knees feel when you try to walk, bend and run, then give us a call today. Our experts have years of experience evaluating the proper mechanics of the knee and restoring them, for a pain-free future.




Are Your Shoulders Giving You Headaches?

Sunday, December 10th, 2017

Do you know that 47% of the adult population will have a headache at least once within a year according to the World Health Organization? 45 million Americans complain of headaches each year, 8 million visit their doctor, and 3 million went to the emergency room according to US Department of Health and Human Services.


Even minor headaches can be a nuisance that create stress, social and emotional impacts not only on the individual, but also on all those around them. A majority of headaches are related to tension headaches and are typically of a mechanical nature. This means that the muscles and joints in the neck and shoulders are strained, causing irritation and spasms that trigger headaches. These can be felt in the neck, shoulders, one side of the head or face, and even the forehead.

The large shoulder muscles around the scapula (shoulder blades) play a large role in supporting the neck. Having proper posture, movement and support of the neck and shoulder musculature is the key to having a healthy neck. In today’s environment sitting at the computer, staring at mobile devices, sitting for prolonged periods and more, weakens the muscles of the shoulders and upper back.

What you can do to relieve tension headaches:

  • Proper posture – Having good posture with sitting, typing at a computer, standing and working all play a part in how you use your neck and shoulder muscles throughout the day. Take time to examine and make sure your posture is what it should be.
  • Vary your tasks – If you sit for hours each day at a computer, make sure to give your muscles frequent breaks. You can do other productive tasks in standing or moving around the office.
  • Exercise – Strengthen the muscles of the mid back and shoulder blade areas. Exercises such as rows and pull downs can help strengthen weakened postural muscles. Exercise also helps release endorphins, which can counteract stress.
  • Handle your stress – Handle tasks and obligations one at a time and get them completed. Piling up tasks, even small ones, draws your attention on them and creates stress.
  • Watch what you eat – avoid foods, which can affect your body’s acidity level such as processed foods, excessive sugars, and high fat meals. Eat a little better and drink more water. Your blood chemistry will be more balanced throughout the day. In fact, a big cause of headaches is chronic dehydration, so keep a glass of water by your desk during the day and constantly drink.


A little prevention can go a long way to relieving headaches. If you suffer from tension headaches, migraines or other forms of headaches, know that there is relief! Call us today for a neck posture, strength and mobility examination to pinpoint the exact cause of your headache. We can give you the tools to handle your headache easily and effectively. Life doesn’t have to be a headache! With the right physical therapy you can get back to the activities you love to do, pain-free.

5 Ways to Avoid Joint Pain

Monday, November 20th, 2017

Do you find your joints aching for no apparent reason? Even small aches and pains are your body’s way of telling you something is not working and should not be ignored. According to a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) study, 30% of the people surveyed reported some form of joint pain within a 30 day period. The greatest number of respondents had knee joint pain, followed by shoulder, finger and then hip joint pain.


Our joints move an incredible amount each day, bearing heavy loads and often being strained, without us really paying attention. This accounts for wear and tear, sprains and even injuries.


Here are the top 5 reasons for joint pain and how you can improve them:


Repetitive Movement Injuries

A repetitive movement injury is when you perform the same task over and over again, straining the muscles, tissues and joints that are involved. For example, lifting heavy boxes with poor body mechanics when moving can be a repetitive injury. Another example of a repetitive injury is with moving your computer mouse all day long with poor posture. This repetitive movement, strains the muscles, tendons and ligaments causing abnormal pressure on the joint.


Using good body mechanics, the right posture and breaking activities up helps protect against injury. For example, if you have to trim a tree, don’t spend hours looking up trimming, and then gather the trimmings afterwards. Break up the activity by trimming for a short while, then squat down to pick up branches to put into a pile. This alternates the muscles you are using.



Poor posture is the number one cause of most joint pain. Posture is critical to the alignment of the joints in the body from your spine, to your shoulders, hips, knees and even feet. For example, a forward head posture from prolonged sitting protrudes the shoulders forward and weakens the back muscles. This leads to shoulder impingement and even rotator cuff injuries.


Make sure you are aware of your posture throughout the day. Take frequent, short breaks to stretch and move around. Sit with a straight-backed chair and your feet flat on the floor. Improve your posture by performing postural and stretching exercises.



Joints need muscles to move and provide support. Most joint pains are related to poor strength and function of the surrounding muscles. For example, with knee pain a small muscle on the inner thigh, called the Vastus Medialis Oblique (VMO) often becomes weak. This muscle is critical to how your kneecap tracks. Therefore, with a weak VMO, knee pain often occurs due to the poor tracking of the kneecap.


Strength training is a vital part of keeping healthy. It is also important to do cardiovascular exercise to keep your heart and body in tip-top condition. Strength training is best done with a professional physical therapist first to make sure you are moving your body correctly, especially if you have had or are having pain.



There are many forms of arthritis, but the most common is osteoarthritis. This is caused by wear and tear on the joint cartilage surfaces. Arthritis becomes painful when there is a build of inflammation and joint debris from the cartilage. When joints don’t move correctly and smoothly, abnormal pressure on the surface of the joints can occur, causing pain. Arthritic joints generally lose motion and the surrounding muscles become weaker. This causes a spiraling effect of pain and poor joint support.


Arthritis pain can be effectively treated with the right physical therapy. Improving joint movement and surrounding muscle strength, brings back support to the joint. This lessens the joint inflammation, abnormal pressure and pain. Often combined with different injections, other treatments and in worse case scenarios, joint replacement, physical therapy is an important treatment for arthritic joints.



Sprains are movements beyond the normal range of the joint. This causes tearing of tendons, ligaments and other tissues that give joints their stability. Common sprains are in the ankles, knees, shoulders, wrists and fingers. Many sprains occur from forceful injuries such as playing sports, but others can occur because the muscles around the joint were weak to begin with.


To prevent sprains, it is important to have good muscle strength in your body. If you have suffered a knee or ankle sprain before, it is important to strengthen the muscles around those effected joints. The likelihood of re-spraining these joints increases once you have already had a sprain. The reason for this is that the joint is already loose and unstable to a degree.


There is a lot that can be done to eliminate your joint pain and get you back to an active lifestyle. If you have aching or painful joints that are interfering with your life, call us today for an evaluation. See how good life can be pain free!

Are Your Hips Killing Your Back?

Friday, November 10th, 2017

Are you like many people, with an aching back at the end of the day or worried about lifting an object due to your back going out? You are not alone, over 80% of the population will suffer back pain at one time or another in their life according to CDC data. It is the price we pay for walking upright on two legs. However, the majority of back pain is non-specific, meaning that there is not a primary cause, such as a fracture or disc protrusion. In fact, the mobility and strength of your hip joints is often a major player in the causes of back pain.


As physical therapists, we know that a high percentage of people suffering with back pain actually have 3 common problems or a combination of them all:


  1. Poor posture
  2. Weak core and gluteus muscles
  3. Poor hip flexibility


How hip ligaments hurt your back

Your hip joints have to travel through a very large range of motion. There are thick Y shaped ligaments that surround the hip joints called the iliofemoral ligaments, which provide support. However, with prolonged sitting over weeks, months or years, these ligaments shrink, reducing the natural movement of the hip joints.


Whenever you walk, instead of your hips moving naturally, the ligaments yank and pull on the pelvis, which is attached to your spine. This causes inflammation, strain and pain to the back muscles. Furthermore, the loss of hip motion can even cause your pelvis to tilt, altering the posture of your spine and increasing strain. By improving hip mobility, back pain can typically be relieved quite quickly.


When you suffer from back pain, make sure that you have an expert physical therapist look at your movement. Even though your back may ache, it may not be the source of your problem. Call us today to discover how our SPINE Program can pinpoint the cause of your pain, relieve it quickly and teach you how to maintain a healthy spine.


Two simple tests to see if your hips are causing your back pain


You can easily check your hip motion by doing the following tests. If you discover your hip motion is limited, or you feel pain or strong discomfort, it’s time to get your hips checked by our physical therapy professionals. Try these tests and see how mobile your hips are:


Hip Mobility Test

  • Lie on your back with your legs straight out.
  • Cross one ankle above the other knee cross-legged in a figure 4 position.
  • Keep your ankle pressed on the other leg, but now lower the raised knee to the side. Does it lower close to the ground?
  • Repeat on the other side and see if there is a difference.
  • If so, this might indicate a hip motion problem and cause pain in the back on that side or even the opposite side.


Hip Squatting Test

  • Stand next to a counter for balance and gently hold on.
  • Keep your knees parallel facing forward.
  • Squat down as far as you can keeping your feet and heels flat on the floor.
  • If you feel a lot of pressure in your knees or calf muscles, you could have a hip movement problem.
  • Try again in front of a mirror. Does your body want to go to one side? This can indicate a hip motion problem on one side.


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