Hip pain when sitting is a common complaint that affects people of all ages. One of the leading causes of hip pain from sitting is poor posture and poor movement patterns, which can lead to increased joint stress and muscle activation patterns that exacerbate the hips when sitting. While traditional hip exercises like glute bridges and lunges are often recommended to alleviate hip pain, they do not address the underlying movement patterns contributing to hip pain while sitting.
The use of traditional hip exercises for hip pain relief has been studied in various research studies, including a review article published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science (Kim et al., 2018) and a randomized controlled trial published in the Clinical Rehabilitation Journal (Baldon et al., 2012). These studies suggest that traditional hip exercises can promote hip mobility but do not address the underlying movement patterns contributing to hip pain.
As mentioned in a previous article, How to Fix Lower Back Pain from Sitting – Functional Patterns sitting can cause other pains like lumbar pain, but it is not the root cause of hip pain while sitting. This article will discuss how Functional Patterns can help with pain in hip when sitting and improve overall hip health while sitting.
The Connection between Sitting and Hip Pain
Sitting for prolonged periods can cause increased joint stress and muscle activation patterns that lead to hip pain from sitting (Sung et al., 2016). Poor sitting posture can cause the pelvis to tilt forward, compressing the lumbar spine and hip joint and exacerbating hip pain. Improper movements during activities like hiking and playing sports can also cause muscle imbalances and joint instability in the hip joint, leading to abnormal wear and tear on the joint and hip pain when sitting. While this may be a by-product of sitting, it does not address the main factors behind the pain in the first place. Our poor mechanics and ability to adapt to different positions from maladaptations from not addressing the Big four movements, such as Walking, Running, throwing, and standing, lead to us degenerating. This eventually leads to pain in areas that dehydrate our bodies. Because we are dehydrated, the body bypasses function and goes to the path of least resistance. Our pain is a by-product of our posture.
- Degeneration refers to the progressive breakdown of tissues and structures in the body due to wear and tear, injury, or aging. In the context of hip pain when sitting, degeneration can occur in the hip joint, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other supporting structures. When we engage in activities that involve repetitive or prolonged movements that are not aligned with our body's natural mechanics, we create microtrauma that can accumulate over time and cause degeneration in these tissues.
- Dehydration is when the body lacks sufficient water to carry out its normal functions effectively. In movement and tissues, dehydration can lead to decreased elasticity and lubrication in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments, making them more prone to injury and degeneration. When we move, our tissues need to be hydrated to move effectively and prevent pain or injury.
Functional Patterns is an approach to movement that emphasizes retraining the body to move as intended, based on our evolutionary design, by focusing on the Big Four movements (walking, running, throwing, and standing), Functional Patterns aims to correct faulty movement patterns and promote efficient and functional movement. This, in turn, can help to reduce joint stress, muscle imbalances, and degeneration, leading to less pain and better overall function.
In summary, sitting for prolonged periods can contribute to hip pain with sitting by creating joint stress and muscle activation patterns that exacerbate hip pain. Poor posture and improper movement during activities can also contribute to hip pain while sitting by causing muscle imbalances and joint instability. Addressing these factors by retraining the body to move as intended can help reduce joint stress and improve overall function, leading to less pain in the hip when sitting and better overall health.
At Functional Patterns, we address this by retraining the body on how it was intended to move.
The Limitations of Traditional Hip Exercises
While traditional hip exercises like glute bridges and lunges can help promote hip mobility, lunges are commonly used to help strengthen the legs and stretch out the hip flexors. When doing a lunge or a glute bridge, they do not address the underlying movement patterns contributing to hip pain while sitting. Additionally, exercises promoting hip flexions, like cycling or squats, can exacerbate hip pain while sitting by causing adaptations in overused positions during daily sitting. Training in relation to walking is a great, low-impact exercise that can improve hip mobility and help prevent hip pain.
A good example of this is the Step and Row technique taught in the 10-week online course:
This movement is a holistic approach to understanding our bodies and addressing the root causes of our pains.
The Benefits of Functional Patterns for Hip Health
Functional Patterns is a training approach that optimizes muscles to perform functional movements like standing, walking, running, and throwing. Addressing movement patterns through Functional Patterns can improve postural control and reduce the likelihood of hip pain from sitting and injury. Incorporating hip extension exercises that help with training in relation to your gait cycle and glute function, like a step and press, row and step, or a plank done through the FP 10-week online course.
The underlying principle of FP is that the human body is designed to move in a specific way, and any deviations from these natural movement patterns can lead to inefficiencies and pain. FP correctives help to address these inefficient movements, promoting proper alignment, improving postural control, and activating the glutes' functional roles by alleviating the hip flexors from overworking. By focusing on proper movement patterns, FP helps to promote hip mobility while strengthening our bodies, reducing the likelihood of hip pain and injury, and improving overall hip health. In addition, FP's holistic approach to training focuses on the body as a whole, which means that training for a systems approach rather than a symptoms approach can also lead to improvements in other areas, such as core stability, balance, pain, discomfort, and overall athletic performance.
Hip pain while sitting is a common complaint that can be alleviated through proper precision of movement patterns. Traditional hip exercises like glute bridges, lunges, and stretching such as hip flexor stretches, quad stretching, and yoga are insufficient in addressing the underlying movement patterns contributing to hip pain after driving or sitting. On the other hand, Functional Patterns is a training approach that optimizes muscles to perform functional movements, improves postural control, and promotes hip mobility not by passive stretching but by connecting our body through walking, running, and throwing in a systems approach. By incorporating Functional Patterns into their daily life, individuals can prevent pain in the hip when sitting and improve their overall quality of life, being pain-free.
To learn more about Functional Patterns and how it can help with hip pain, visit the Functional Patterns website, watch the Functional Podcast, try the 10-week course, or contact a practitioner for training.
Sung, P. S., Lee, Y. H., & Lee, J. C. (2016). Relationship between the spinal angle and hip flexion during prolonged sitting. Journal of Physical Therapy Science, 28(8), 2317-2320
Kim, J. H., Kim, K. T., & Lee, S. J. (2018). Effects of hip exercise therapy on patients with hip osteoarthritis: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Physical Therapy Science, 30(5), 686-691
Baldon, R. d. M., Lobato, D. F. M., & Carvalho, L. P. (2012). Effect of functional stabilization training on lower limb biomechanics in women. Clinical Rehabilitation, 26(2), 132–141. doi: 10.1177/0269215511406147