Diaphragmatic Breathing and Hip Pain

Have hip pain or tightness? You can bet on having your breathing evaluated by the PTs at Body Gears. It sounds crazy, but let us explain.

There is a connection of the main breathing muscle, the diaphragm, to the hip flexor muscle, the psoas. Both of these essential muscles have a mutual attachment, the front of your lumbar spine. When these muscle fibers are not able to “play nice” and glide freely, dysfunction can manifest as restricted breathing on the side of the hip pain or tightness. And so, the cycle of muscular tightness and pain continues as the body creeps further into the pattern of restricted breathing.

How do you stop the cycle? Following an evaluation of locating where breathing restrictions exist; your physical therapist can determine if the issue is more mechanical, neuromuscular, or motor control. Based on examination findings, the physical therapist can provide the most appropriate intervention. Mechanically, the PT will use Functional Manual Therapy® to address soft tissue and joint restrictions that are reinforcing the dysfunctional movement pattern. Neuromuscular control intervention will include instruction in diaphragmatic breathing, and then motor control training puts the two prior interventions into functional activity. For example, the patient who has hip pain after sitting for a long time will have to practice positioning themselves with the postural guidelines learned in PT and then practices diaphragmatic in this specific position that had been problematic.

Who knew breathing could have such an effect on the hips (and so much more)!

Authored By: Dr. Melissa McCann PT, DPT

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