Updated March 2016 

hip pain

An Exercise for Hip and Back Pain

The Seated Leg Cross Stretch

 It is very common to have both hip muscle pain with lower back pain.  When your gluteus maximus, medius and minimus are not both stretched and strengthened optimally, pain results.  These muscles become weak and short.  Because these muscles are attached to the hip bones, they place a constant tension on them.  If they are very weak from lack of exercise, they become tender and sore.  This is usually due to heavy, daily, activity.  They are the primary movers for your hip let alone your entire body.  Without adequate exercise, they can become strained and sore.

Weak and sore glutes fail to support the lumbar spine leading to back pain.  When the glutes are tight, they affect your pelvic tilt and risk injury to the lumbar discs.  It is important to condition these muscles in order to recover from lower back pain.

The Seated Leg Cross is a very good exercise to help with glute muscle pain.  When done correctly, it helps to release the tension from tight glute muscles and stretch the back.  It is Exercise #4 of the Progressive Exercises.  It helps in a number of ways. It helps to:

  1. Stretch the back muscles (relieve lumbar disc pressure).
  2. Stretch the gluteus maximus, medius and minimus (reduces pain from tightness, increased hip flexibility and mobility).
  3. Rotate the femurs outward (improves leg and hip mobility).
  4. Strengthen the abdominals (reduces excessive anterior pelvic tilt).

This exercise can be done while sitting and during your breaks. (It is important to have consent from your family doctor prior to any exercise routine such as the Seated Leg Cross.)

Seated Leg Cross

Step 1:  Sit on the floor and maintain an upright posture.  Cross your legs.

Seated Leg Cross

Step 2:  Slowly lean forward but begin at the area below the belly button.  Lean forward as though you are trying to press this area into your ankles in front of you.  Only move as far as you can while maintaining this posture.

Step 3:  Hold for 1-2 minutes while using your hands to support your forward lean.

Note:  Initially, there may not be very much forward lean possible.  You may find yourself bending at the lower back.  Do not do this.  You want to bend only at the hip joint.   Go only as far as your knees will allow to protect your knee joint.

Tip: You can vary this exercise, by placing one folded leg fully overlaid on the other folded leg and by alternating sides between each hold.   Relax into this forward lean.

This type of exercise requires slow and deep breathing.  The goal is be able to place your elbows on the ground in front of you.  Consciously try to contract your abdominals as you lower yourself down. 

It will require significant time before you can ultimately and comfortably reach this final position and hold for periods at a time.

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