This one is for all the moms out there!
Do you have pain in your hips or back when sitting on the floor? Is it hard for you to get up from this position because everything feels so tight? Do you feel frustrated with how difficult or painful it is to play on the ground with your little one? We want to tell you why this might be happening AND what you can do to help prevent this.
We really do hear this ALL the time. In fact, I had four different clients complain of this just last week, so I figured a blog was definitely in order!
So WHY do I have back or hip pain when sitting on the floor?
A few different things could be going on here, but most often I find that this discomfort is caused by muscle guarding or limited mobility. And there’s a good reason why your mobility is limited in the first place...
If you, like many of us these days, are sitting for prolonged periods at a desk your hips are constantly held all day in one static position, which can cause a lot of tightness in your hip flexors. Then when you get on the floor and cross your legs to play with your little one your hips feel even TIGHTER. That’s because this is a tough position to get into with already tight hips. When our hips are tight our bodies need to gain some flexibility from somewhere in order to make a position work…. And most often that leads to compromising your back. When sitting on the floor, we tend to round our backs to make up for the lack of flexibility in our hips.
The opposite of this can be true too! When our back muscles are not used to holding us up without support, we tend to collapse and round at our back which in turn puts even MORE stress on our hips.
And so the vicious cycle begins, where our back hurts because of our hips, and our hips hurt because of our back....
So how should I sit on the floor to prevent back or hip pain? Is sitting on the floor BAD for back or hip pain?
How can we sit on the floor to read, to play with a little one, or to play with a puppy without dealing with hip or back pain? Here are a few simple fixes to help you alleviate the pain you feel while sitting on the floor right now...
ONE: Sit on a small stool, step, or yoga block.
This is a great way to get into a criss-cross position with much less strain on your hips and back. Keeping your balance on a small stool will activate your core muscles and help you maintain neutral alignment in your spine.
TWO: Prop yourself against a wall, bookcase, or couch.
A little bit of support will help you maintain neutral alignment in your back. Keep yourself propped against that wall and avoid letting your low back round!
THREE: Keep your knees lower than your hips.
Give those hip flexors a bit of a rest, and keep your knees lower than your hips. In other words, try to avoid hugging your knees in and tucking yourself into a pretzel. This position will automatically lead to rounding at your back and shoulders, placing more stress on your back! Instead, extend your legs out straight, or prop a small pillow under your butt to elevate your hips a bit.
This may seem like an odd suggestion. Aren't you already breathing every minute of every day? But try it for me. Really FOCUS on your breathing. Use your ribcage to guide your breath into your back to help take the pressure off of your hips and lower back muscles. This can be done in any position, but we suggest you try this sitting up tall, with a small stool propped under your seat.
These tips are a great way to start alleviating some back and hip pain while sitting on the floor. But to truly FIX this problem, you'll need the specialized (and individualized!) care of a skilled physical therapist to address exactly what your body needs.
These suggestions are short terms solutions. If you are looking to fix this problem and fix it for GOOD, and if you're interested in finding a long lasting solution to your back or hip pain so you can feel like yourself again, we want to offer you a FREE 30 minute Discovery Visit. During this visit, you and one of our highly trained Physical Therapists will sit down one-on-one to talk about your unique problems and create a customized plan for YOU so you can get back to living the life you love.
We'll get you back to playing on the floor with your little ones again - without any pain or worry!
Getting an MRI of the back instead of physical therapy for back pain leads to a waste of $4,793!
Dr. Murphy here! Did you know that Physical Therapists can tell you more about what’s wrong with your body than MRIs?
That may sound like a crazy claim, but it’s true. A lot of times, MRIs, x-rays, and other medical scans leave Dr’s in the wrong direction – which is why Physical Therapists (at least GOOD ones) don’t use them.
What an MRI of the back DOESN'T show you!
Let’s look at Back Pain for example.
There are so many things that can cause pain in your back. You probably know the common ones (herniated disc, degenerative joint disease, pulled muscle) But here are some common causes that go overlooked:
If you’re suffering from any of these, but your doctor is only treating you for a disc issue, you will NEVER get better!
There’s an equally long list for neck pain, knee pain, shoulder pain, and hip pain.
“So I should get an MRI of the back and find out what’s really going on before I decide how to proceed, right?”
I get asked often.
MRIs, scans, x-rays, and imaging of all kinds can cause a huge confirmation bias.
Over the past 5+ years, there have been multiple high-quality studies looking at MRI’s of the back in asymptomatic people each 50+. “Asymptomatic” means that these people have no symptoms – NO back pain of any kind.
The results? Over 60% of people age 50+ have some kind of degeneration, herniation, or bulging in their lumbar spine.
Now remember, the studies were done on people who DIDN’T HAVE ANY SYMPTOMS!!
So if you’re having back pain caused by poor posture (or anything else on our big list from before), but an MRI of the back shows that you have a disc problem, your doctor is immediately going to start treating the disc problem – even though that’s not the cause of your pain!
You’re going to spend endless time and money (and maybe even surgery) to fix something that’s not even bothering you, and your back pain will continue until you fix your posture.
What should you do in lieu of an MRI of the back?
Stop obsessing over your MRI of the back. Find a doctor (like a physical therapist!) who knows how to be objective and look for ALL the possibilities on our list, not just the common ones. You’ll get out of pain and stay out of pain when you address the cause of the problem, not the symptoms.
We are happy to talk to you over the phone and answer any questions you have about this and your situation. We can offer you a recommendation of what we think is your next best step.
Schedule a Free Phone Consult Today!
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Empower PT & Pilates
We help you find a LASTING SOLUTION to back, hip, and pelvic issues so you can age with ease -without having to rely on painkillers, injections, or surgery!
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