We simply are not designed to sit for long periods of time. When sedentary tasks like sitting become a regular part of our daily routine, our body loses its optimal parameters of movement. In other words, our body forgets what it’s capable of doing.
For example, the hip joint is one of the most mobile joints in the body with an incredibly full range of motion.
To accomplish this, the joint is made of a unique ball and socket configuration and is surrounded by an amazing compliment of soft tissue structures that allow it to be dynamic but stable at the same time.
Unfortunately, this joint that has so much potential is often used in limited ways, such as in sitting, and the tissues adapt to this configuration not allowing it to remain as fully functional as it was originally designed. Another way to look at it is that your body will do what you teach it to do.
If you start learning to play the piano or to type at a keyboard, with repetition your body can get really good at those tasks, thanks mostly in part to your nervous system.
If you start learning to dance or to swim, your body can get really good at that too. The same goes for being sedentary or eating the wrong foods…your body can get too good at those things most often with significantly poor consequences. So let’s go back to our hips.
If our body can forget what it’s capable of doing and we narrow those parameters by what we teach it every day, the converse is also true. Our job through our awareness and our habits is to consistently remind it that it is capable of more.
Through those reminders, we can erase any bad habits that are building up in the body and also prepare our bodies, including our hips, for more activity than we may regularly be using them for.
Prevention is the mainstay, so let’s look at that first. We often hear that taking a break every 20 minutes, or whatever the current recommendation is, helps to negate the effects of sitting for long periods and/or engaging in any repetitive task for a long duration.
But what do we do during this proposed break? The ideal would be to mindfully and respectfully engage our body in a short but effective activity that allows it to push those parameters of function back to their optimal limits while also preparing us physically and mentally to go back to doing what we need or want to do.
Wow! That was a mouthful. Another way to describe what should happen during our breaks is to look at it as cross training.
Our body does well with moderation and variety, just like our diets and our environments for stimulating our nervous system benefit in the same way.
Too much of the same thing is bad. So if we’re sitting at a computer for most of the day, we should get up and move in ways that we would not otherwise move during the day.
A good way to do this is to engage in a fast version of yoga or tai chi or a stretching pattern without actually holding the stretches or positions for more than a second or two. It would become almost like a modern dance movement for computer workers!
Something that a person could flow through in order to negate the effects of what they had just been doing while preparing them to do more of it by refreshing their tissues, their mind and their energy.
When it comes specifically to the hip, most of us only use this dynamic joint in a very linear fashion most days. We sit and we walk. This primarily uses the hip in a flexion and extension, or forward and back direction. Meanwhile the hip can also move sideways, in circles and every combination of movement in between.
So getting up every so often throughout the day and swinging that leg around a little bit and giving it a gentle stretch or pull in a variety of angles can help maintain its function and also stimulate the flow of fluids in the joint that help nourish and lubricate it for longevity.
Bodybuilding.com has a great standing hip exercise at http://bbcom.me/1kWfyvy. Just as this mindful movement can help prevent problems, it can also help treat problems of a similar nature.
If someone’s hips have been sitting and moving wrong long enough, they will require a series of steps to recover function and restore health.
Typically, by releasing the hips or any other restricted joint that is not participating in a way that it was originally designed and programmed, it will help unlock it from its current dysfunction.
Then new patterns can be retrained and restored followed by some strengthening and stabilization. This protocol can be accomplished through a variety of approaches and it is most likely best to encourage a collaborative approach.
Depending on how long the hips or other related joints and body parts have been doing their own thing, it will require anything from some self care or active care to rehabilitative care with a suitable healthcare provider.
And how does one know what’s required? A thorough assessment is always the best way to start.
Sometimes we base an effective treatment on how we feel, however this can leave problems uncorrected only to resurface in the future as a worse or more injurious condition.
That’s why a check up is valuable. Determining the cause or source of any dysfunction and identifying any malfunction before it becomes symptomatic is always better than waiting for it to be noticeably problematic.
Massage therapy, chiropractic, physiotherapy, osteopathy, other body workers, naturopaths and a whole host of other modalities can often be of assistance, each with its own unique benefit and role in healing.
Regardless of the treatment of choice, working with someone who can help collaborate the right pieces of the puzzle to optimize your health and ensure your function is ideal.
This health coach, regardless of discipline, will work with you in your best interests to keep you operating at your highest potential and provide you with all the options that can help you get to where you want to be and keep you where you want to be when it comes to your health and wellness, including your hip joint function or other challenges with sedentary work.
There’s a lot to be said for keeping our bodies engaged in tasks that it benefits from. Although our occupations and our interests may keep us at a computer or desk for many hours a day, it would be wrong to trade the things we enjoy doing or what we need to do for poor health.
Doing what we do every day in a way that supports those efforts so we can continue to enjoy them and benefit from them is a more rational approach. Do not trade your health for wealth or any other accomplishment. In the end, it’s a losing proposition.
You cannot buy back your health with your wealth in the future. Purchasing a hip replacement through surgery is a last resort and definitely not a “hip” thing to do! So stay aware, be smart, invest in your health and wellness, and be sure to place your health at the top of your to-do list every day.
The owner of David Koivuranta Chiropractic in Yorkville (downtown Toronto, ON), Dr. Dave, as he is affectionately known, has created a health and wellness service and information program to fulfill his desire to educate, inform and entertain people as broadly as his clinical and speaking efforts will take him. He has treated patients with chiropractic care, nutritional consulting, weight management programs and technology like non-surgical spinal decompression. His experience in this regard is vast and allows him to meet people and patients where they are at with their health challenges and goals.
Dr. Dave graduated from Northwestern Health Sciences University in Minneapolis, MN with a Bachelors in Human Biology and a Doctor of Chiropractic Degree at the top of his class!…summa cum laude. His mission is to help serve as many people as possible on a path to living healthy lives forever,