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!
One of my dear clients - Sharon, aged 58 - was diagnosed with 2 disc herniations and "degenerating discs” in her lumbar spine.
She'd been suffering from chronic back pain for 10 years, but just in the past 3 months it had gotten increasingly worse...
Getting out of bed was a struggle, gardening was out of the question, and just even going for a short walk made her back so stiff and sore that she just wanted to shut down.
Sharon is tough though...
She's got a high pain tolerance, and tries to "push through" no matter what.
She tries her best to stay active, is very conscious about what she eats, and she is STRONGLY AGAINST taking painkillers. Which is why she felt so frustrated when the doctor “barely even looked at her”, spent only 15 minutes in the room with her, and told her she NEEDED to take painkillers, and just… rest.
To make matters worse, a trip to a “specialist” two months later wasn’t much more helpful when her MRI revealed “2 disc herniations” and “degenerative arthritis” in her lumbar spine.
Doctor said she was facing:
-Injections and needed stronger painkillers
-Potentially life altering, dangerous surgery
- And that the "degeneration" in her back was irreversible and she needed to just “accept it” and “manage the pain”.
BUT 6 months later… she was living life again pain free.
How did Sharon make a full recovery in 6 months, without taking a single pill and without needing injections or surgery?
Because at Empower PT + Pilates, we were able to diagnose the real, root cause of her pain.
The BIGGEST problem today in traditional health care is the fact that most doctors and health professionals treat every single person with back pain exactly the same…
Which means almost every person with a back injury is labeled as a “disc herniation” or “arthritic”…
Often, there is:
NO individualized attention.
NO process of “figuring the problem out”.
NO consideration of other more realistic causes such as weak muscles, stiff joints, or movement compensation.
This leads to a DANGEROUS, systemic problem of treating symptoms instead of taking the time necessary to identify the ROOT cause of a problem.
For Sharon, like MOST others we have helped with disc problems or degenerating discs, we realized that the root cause of her pain was NOT from her "discs" or "arthritis"...but it was from:
-Scar tissue in the muscles and tissues along her spine (from inflammation that had built up because of repetitive stress).
-Muscle imbalances and weakness in her core and hips that dated back to an old hip injury she had 15 years ago while skiing.
-Poor movement habits that developed from compensation since she had been guarding her back for such a long time (this caused her to bend over when gardening or picking up grocery backs with poor form, making her pain much worse)
These are all legitimate problems that will NEVER show up on an x-ray or an MRI.
While x-rays and MRI's may tell you what is going on inside your back, they won’t tell you the important information of "WHY your back is hurting"...
By being able to address these problems through a very structured, individualized, and detailed process of healing her body (naturally), she is now able to:
- Garden 3 times a week WITHOUT needing advil.
- Walk 4 miles EVERY DAY (without her back seizing up)!
- Able to sit comfortably and go on long drives to Moab with her family and 2 grandchildren (without needing to pull over every 30 minutes to stretch her back).
For Sharon, it all started when she claimed her very own FREE BACK PAIN ADVICE report from us, "7 Simple Ways To Finally END Back Pain & Stiffness...Without Taking Painkillers, Without Risking Surgery, and Without Having to See Your Doctor!".
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE BACK PAIN ADVICE REPORT.
This report is unlike many other back pain products because it is NOT focused on only relieving your pain, but tells you how to IDENTIFY and ELIMINATE the cause of your pain…
The goal of this report is NOT to give you a “magic pill” or a “quick fix”, but to give you actionable advice and help you take back control of your body without pain dictating your life.
OR if you would like to fast track your recovery, you can apply for a FREE 30-minute Discovery Visit with me today where we can meet in person to get all your questions answered. To apply for this free visit, fill out this form telling us a little about what's going on and we will call you to let you know if you qualify!
Can't wait to see you in the clinic soon.
P.S. If you want to contact me through email, send me your questions at email@example.com and I will get back to you as soon as possible.
“What’s better... yoga or Pilates?”
This is a question I get asked all the time by clients. The answer would depend on what you are looking for. For most of my clients, people who are recovering from some sort of persistent ache or pain or injury, it’s almost always Pilates (if they had to choose only one).
They are both great, but here’s why, as a Physical Therapist, I prefer Pilates and how I describe the difference to my clients...
Generally speaking, yoga is much more about holding positions to increase flexibility. In yoga there isn't a large focus on strength or stability. This is great if your muscles are tight or if you carry a lot of stress and tension. But with that in mind, remember that there is always a reason why we feel like we always need to stretch... muscles don’t just get tight for no reason. And with my clients, we work together to find the true cause - the real reason why their low back or hips keep getting tight over and over again - so that together we can get to the deeper root of the problem and get rid of that constant need to stretch.
In contrast, Pilates is all about improving our posture alignment while finding and building strength and stability through all the ranges of movement. And as a result, it actually improves flexibility while also giving you that long, lean, and toned body. Pilates builds core strength from the inside out and teaches us how to move our bodies on a solid foundation, thus making our movements stronger and more efficient. The more stable we are, the more protected we are from future injuries.
And that’s the magic... when every movement is most efficient, we reduce the stress being placed on our joints (caused by muscle imbalances and misalignments) which not only helps us recover from injury but also is the best way to prevent injuries from happening in the first place.
Yoga = flexibility.
Pilates = posture and core strength (and injury prevention).
And if you combine Pilates with physical therapy? Talk about a recipe for success and everlasting relief from those aches and pains you can’t seem to get rid of.
I do love yoga, don’t get me wrong. It has so many amazing benefits. However, if you practice yoga too much and become too flexible, it could have some negative consequences on your health and lead you to injury. A common injury I see a lot in yogis is SI pain or back pain. Why?Because yogis are extremely flexible, but their bodies don’t know how to support all that movement. This extreme flexibility does not allow for our movements to be very efficient, stable, or strong. All that energy is lost and it ends up putting more stress on certain joints.
So if you're interested in long lasting injury prevention and strength, and if you want to fix the root cause of your tight spots (not just the symptom), consider Pilates. At Empower, we want to make sure you are confident in your choice. So if you're interested in trying Pilates but still have a few questions, try us out first - for free!
Apply for a free 30 minute Pilates taster with one of our experts right now.
We can't wait to get you started toward your goal of feeling young forever!
When it comes to the CORE, most of us need to go back to the basics.
This is especially for YOU if you're athletic...
You have probably heard of the core and been told that it should be a part of your workout routine... right?
I find this to be true for the most of the people I see.
Everyone is aware that they need to add core strengthening or ab workouts into their life. However, most of them are doing exercises that are not beneficial (that’s for another post) and might even be harming them in the long run....
So we’ve heard about the core and we know we should do something about it...
But do we truly know what it is, why it's important, how to connect to it, and what is the most effective way to strengthen it?
As a physical therapist and Pilates instructor I have a lot of people coming to me for low back pain, running injuries, pelvic floor dysfunction, and shoulder or knee injuries.... and the common factor with MOST of these clients is that they have some sort of dysfunction with their “core”.
And usually it starts with a lack of knowing what the core actually involves (hint: it's not your six pack), how to truly connect with it, and what exercises are best for it…
"What do you mean, don’t I just crunch??” Not exactly...
Ok, so what is the core?
The core consists of four muscle groups: your diaphragm, your transverse abdominis, your pelvic floor, and the muscles along your spine called the multifidi. Together these all work together and form a cylinder-like system, kind of like a soda can. This is your inner core.
Your inner core system is responsible for regulating your intra-abdominal pressure as well as providing support, control, and stability to the spine and pelvis. In other words, this system is protecting you and preventing you from getting injured or suffering from back pain, hip pain, even knee or ankle pain.
And because most of us aren’t aware of the inner core, our brain isn't telling it to do it’s job... at least not well. This results in other muscles jumping in to “help out” and provide extra stability and support when those core muscles aren’t.
And this is no good - this compensation just leads to poor form, overworking certain muscles (maybe that “tightness” that you are feeling possibly in your hip flexors?), and eventually... pain.
Ok so I hear you already asking, “Why should I care about this, I’m doing just fine with my workouts/running/daily activities?”
Everything might be all fine and good now, but months or years from now all of this compensation may catch up to you.
If you have even minor back pain, hip “tightness”, any other aches or pains, had a baby, or had abdominal surgery.... there is a high likelihood you have a crack in your foundation.
But no worries, this is something we can help you determine really quickly.
If you're concerned your aches and pains might be caused by a dysfunction in your core - apply for our FREE 30 min Discovery Session (in person or virtually). In this session, you get to sit down with one of our specialist and get all of your questions and concerns answered - and there is zero commitment!
Just click here to apply.
Do you find yourself wondering how and when you got so old?
Are you waking up each morning finding it harder and harder to get out of bed?
Does it take you a while to get moving in the morning or after sitting too long?
You’re not alone!
This happens to a lot of people as they enter into their 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s.
So why does this happen…
There are 2 big reasons so many people experience joint stiffness or pain as they age.
As we enter into each decade of life we are compounding years and years of less than optimal posture, bad habits, and lots of wear and tear on our joints.
We enter into our 20’s and 30’s and begin careers and families that take up most of our time and usually lead to us being much less active. We run our kids around and sit behind desks for 8-10 hours a day. Even if we are engaging in regular exercise (which is of course good for you), our muscles do more sitting than moving and therefore they are not as cooperative as we need them to be during that run or weight lifting session.
This leads to compensation and a host of other problems.
Our muscles become less and less supportive of our joints and that’s when they begin to yell and scream each morning or throughout the day.
Another big reason for joint stiffness that the traditional healthcare system won’t tell you about is that our diets and environments have become more toxic than ever, leading to excessive and chronic inflammation in the body.
That inflammation in our joints does not feel good and leads to stiffness and pain.
The average American's diets consist of processed foods including chemicals, dyes, and sugar... foods that lack any real nutrients. This all-too-common diet is also full of inflammation-causing foods like gluten, dairy, and meat.... with far too few nutrient-dense foods like fruits and vegetables.
All of this puts stress on our body’s immune system creating chronic inflammation throughout the body. The problem is, most people just accept this as a fact of aging and think that they just have to live with it!
And I’m here to tell you that is absolutely NOT the truth.
Here at Empower, we help people every day to learn how to move better, stay active, and create healthy lifestyle habits which promote quick recovery and renewed vitality.
In fact, let me tell you about my client Mike.
He was experiencing joint stiffness every single morning. This stiffness had gotten so bad that he had to take a hot shower and spend a few minutes stretching just to get moving in the morning. He has an active job and an active lifestyle but had to be very careful not to push his limits... or else he would pay for it for days and sometimes weeks afterward. He began avoiding the things he had previously loved - like hiking 14ers and running - because of this.
After working with us, not only does Mike no longer need to stretch AT ALL to get going in the morning... but he is more active for longer periods of time (with NO pain the next day) than he was 10 years ago!
So my question is, are you going to be one of those people that just accept pain or stiffness as a part of aging?
Or are you going to be like Mike - searching for a real solution NOW, so that you can enjoy the life you imagined for years to come...
If you have a little bit of hope and believe that you have more active years ahead of you - and want to really enjoy them - then I would love for you to apply for our free Discovery Session. We will answer all your questions about Physical Therapy, learn more about you and the lifestyle you want to lead, and together create an individualized plan to get you there.
It's a quick 30 minute session with an expert Physical Therapist, it's FREE, and you can schedule a virtual session too - no commute necessary!
There's no reason to wait. Apply for your Free Discovery Session today.
Pilates is one exercise that can really make a difference in your health without taking a toll on your body.
Pilates is a form of exercise involving a series of movements that concentrate on core strength, posture, balance, flexibility, and control.
Pilates was developed by German-born Joseph Pilates, who believed mental and physical health were closely connected, and practicing Pilates has been proven to improve overall wellbeing as well as general fitness.
Here are just a few of the benefits and reasons why Pilates could transform your health
If you said “YES, I WANT THAT!” to any of these or all of these, then Pilates and working with our specialists just may be for you.
Apply for our Free Pilates Taster and discover how Pilates can help you reach your goals. Or give us a call 720-722-0685 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
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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