Here’s the bottom line: hip pain is frustrating. For some, it’s debilitating.
Hip pain can keep you from walking, sitting, or standing for long stretches of time, or even from getting out of bed on your own. When you’re in pain, you want to do what you can to find relief while your body heals. For lots of people, yoga is an important part of a wellness regimen, and that includes pain management. If you have hip pain, you can use yoga to feel better and stay active.
Your hips are key to you being able to sit, stand, and walk. With that in mind, it’s no wonder that daily life can be so uncomfortable if they hurt! Even if you have less severe pain that’s more manageable, it’s still really, really irritating.
No matter how you experience your hip pain, it can be difficult to deal with. Knowing more about your hip pain can help you decide whether yoga would be a good way to ease the pain and help you feel better.
Causes of Hip Pain
Many things cause pain in your hips. The severity of your pain depends on a lot of factors, including the source of the pain and your treatment plan. Understanding the cause of your pain can help you decide the best way to find relief and take care of your health.
Arthritis is one of the primary causes of hip pain. Though arthritis usually affects older people, it can technically hit you at any age (hate to be the bearer of bad news there!). Arthritis is characterized by inflammation, pain, and swelling in the joints, which can include the hips. Arthritis can be progressive — which means it gets worse the longer you have it — and can keep you from enjoying a full, healthy life.
Another common source of hip pain is a pinched nerve. Sciatica, for example, is a pinching of the sciatic nerve, which is in the hips. There are other nerves that can also be pinched in your hips, which then cause you to feel pain. Many times, pinched nerves are treated at home with gentle exercise and over-the-counter pain relief. If the pain gets too severe, you may need to see your care provider for intervention.
Other conditions like cancer or osteoporosis can lead to hip pain, as well. If you have unexplained discomfort in your hips, don’t panic — but do see a doctor. It’s best to get answers ASAP. Conditions like this must be treated by a care provider, but you may also be able to use home remedies to ease pain during the recovery process.
Hip pain may also be caused by injury or muscle strain. This kind of pain can often be treated at home.
Treating Hip Pain
Treating pain at home is often done in conjunction with intervention from your care provider. Your doctor will treat the root cause of the condition, and you can manage symptoms like pain at home. It’s important to remember to follow your doctor’s instructions, especially when it comes to limiting physical activity. If you don’t, you could risk exacerbating your pain or experiencing further injury… and that’s just counterproductive.
Why yoga for hip pain?
Yoga is a gentle exercise routine that can help ease pain in your hips. The slow movements and held poses allow you to move and stretch your hips without overexerting yourself. You can practice on your own or in a class, and you can develop a routine that perfectly addresses your personal pain needs.
Benefits of Yoga for Hip Pain
There are many well-known benefits to a regular yoga practice. Yoga reduces stress, increases physical strength, and helps create a balance in the body, mind, and spirit. In addition to these general benefits, there are benefits specifically for addressing your hip pain, including:
Stretching and moving the hips gently will help work out nerve pain and relax the muscles to keep them from becoming strained
Yoga poses can easily be adapted for physical limitations due to injury or other pain causes
The ability to adapt yoga poses means you can stay physically active without risking re-injury or further pain
Regular yoga strengthens the body, which can help prevent future injuries or pain
Yoga is mentally relaxing, which can help you feel better as you recover from the physical pain
Top Yoga Poses to use
There are lots of yoga poses that stretch and strengthen the hips. If you’re experiencing hip pain, some of these poses can be a good way to find relief while you recover as well as stay active during the recovery process. Here are some good yoga poses that focus on the hips:
- Big Toe Pose
Stand with your feet parallel and about six inches apart. Exhale and bend forward from your hips, keeping your legs totally straight. Your head and upper body should move as one unit. Slide your index and middle fingers between the big and second toes of each foot. Wrap your thumbs around the other two fingers. Press your toes into your fingers for stability. As you inhale, lift your torso and straighten your elbows, maintaining the wrap on your toes. Exhale and settle back down.
- Boat Pose
Start sitting on the floor or your mat with your legs straight out in front of you. Bend your knees until the tips of your toes are on the mat or floor. Tilt your back slightly until you feel your sit bones pressing into the ground. Lift your feet slowly to eye level, keeping your torso engaged and your back supported. Straighten your arms so they are parallel to the ground. When you’re ready, straighten your legs. Balance there without letting your lower back collapse toward the floor.
- Cat/Cow Pose
Start on your hands and knees with your shoulders over your wrists and your hips over your knees. When you inhale, lift your tailbone, arch your back, draw your shoulders away from your ears, and lift your head. On your next exhale, tuck in your tailbone to round your spine, broaden your shoulders, and tuck your chin under. Repeat this flow 5-10 times.
- Reclining Bound Angle Pose (AKA Supine Butterfly Pose)
Lay flat on your back on the ground or on your mat. Rotate your inner thighs externally and press your knees away from your hips. Move your feet until the soles are together. Do not push your knees down — instead, push your feet against each other to feel a stretch in your hips.
If you want to use yoga to ease your hip pain, many poses can be adapted so you don’t hurt yourself or exacerbate your existing pain. Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions about physical limitations, even for yoga. You can also speak with your yoga instructor about the best ways to adapt your yoga practice for your hip pain.
Yoga for hip pain relief
Not only does yoga help your general health and mental well-being, but you can use poses to stretch and strengthen your hips so you can be your best and healthiest self. Whether you have minor, irritating pain or you’re trying to rebuild your strength after an injury, yoga for hip pain will help you find relief so you can work toward healing. Hip pain is not the only pain yoga can relieve. Check out our posts on yoga for back pain and yoga for neck pain too.
Bulldog Yoga’s online classes can help you ease hip pain from the comfort of your own home. You can get everything out of your online class that you would in an in-person class so you can feel better and get back to your full, healthy life!
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