If you've ever gone on a long trip, you probably understand the simple pleasure that is stopping to stretch your legs. You feel agitated, your body is a bit stiff - and perhaps you've even established a muscle cramp or discomfort from dropping off to sleep in an odd position. Some fresh air and a good walk around a parking lot feel excellent.
An exit sign for a truck stop is not just a welcome break for you. Your psoas and iliacus muscles are about to be a lot happier, too.
These are the two muscles that have been quietly holding you up in your seat throughout that long drive. Or, if you're the driver, the two muscles that have been enabling you to step on the gas pedal or brake at a traffic signal. Together, they are called your iliopsoas and assist comprise the network of hip muscles - or "hip flexors" - that link your thigh bones to your pelvis.
If you're like the majority of people, you most likely aren't considering your psoas and iliacus muscles throughout the day. That is, up until you begin to experience hip tightness, hip pain, sciatica, low back discomfort, or any other aches that do not feel quiet.
So, what does that relate to your journey?
Well, prolonged sitting - like you carry out in your car - is one of the typical offenders and causes of hip, back, and tailbone discomfort.
Tight psoas muscle pulling on the hip joint and spinal column
It's not just appropriate for those times when you know you have a long trip ahead of you. The majority of us are clocking method more time in our vehicles than we realize. And we have established tight hips as a result.
The relationship between driving and hip discomfort
Did you understand that 95% of American homes own at least one car and truck?
This stat comes from the US Department of State. Though the introduction of ridesharing and a green push toward strolling or riding bikes has decreased the number over the last few years, it's still accurate to say that most of us discover ourselves sitting behind the wheel regularly.
In fact, for a large bulk of us, long commutes and heavy traffic are just normal parts of a hectic morning. According to another report from the National Household Travel Survey, we're investing an average of one hour daily on the road.
Depending on where you live, that number might even feel low.
However, if you add that up, it equals more than 10 complete days each year that we are sitting in our automobiles.
And, though being in your cars and truck may feel like a passive activity, you are straining your muscles. Ask anybody who requires to drive for a living, and they'll probably have the ability to speak with the toll that it can take on your feet, hips, lower back, and neck.
Your hip flexors are at the core of that.
When you take a seat, your psoas and iliacus muscles contract to stabilize your hips and spine. Much like the hip pain you may experience from sitting, those same muscles can "freeze up" and form painful knots when you're in the automobile. Unlike sitting in a typical chair, though, you're engaging your psoas and iliacus muscles, even more, when you're driving, especially so with your driving leg and a lot more so with a manual transmission.
When we're sitting behind the wheel, we are using our hip flexors to hold us upright. We're likewise engaging our psoas and iliacus muscles to move our foot on and off the pedals or release the pressure off the pedal. That pedal foot has a constantly contracted hip flexor because that leg requires it to be all set to move on a dime. Include difficult driving conditions which is a typical reason for stress in the pelvic area, and you have a triple whammy.
Left uncontrolled, this can end up being a disaster for your hips.
How to minimize hip pain while driving throughout day-to-day commutes
Unlike sitting in your chair at work, or perhaps on a long journey when you can take regular breaks to carefully extend your hip flexors, day-to-day driving makes it much harder to offer our muscles some remedy for their contracted position.
So, what can you do to prevent hip pain while driving?
For beginners, try to find a healthy sitting position. No more slumping over with the windows down and one hand on the wheel - your hips will thank you for it!
Spend a long time sitting in the motorist's seat of your automobile moving the seat around. A lot have automated controls that let you move the seat up or down, from front to back, change the angle of the seatback, and even manage the tilt of your seat.
Ideally, you wish to find a position where your knees are at simply over a 90-degree angle, your feet can rest easily on the flooring, you can reach the pedals without completely aligning your leg and the guiding wheel is in front of your chest. A slight tilt forward, bringing your hips above your knees, will help take some of the stress off your hip flexors, too.
After you feel comfortable in the driver's seat, you can prepare your iliopsoas muscles for an early morning commute with a gentle stretch.
This does not need to be a huge production.
Doing hip circles or a quick lunge stretch for 15 seconds before you hop in the car may help your psoas and iliacus muscles unwind a little.
And, after any drive, it's always a great idea to take a short walk or stretch out your iliopsoas muscles once again. Even if it's just parking at the back of the lot to include a little bit of a walk to the store or taking one flight of stairs at your workplace.
Any of these will encourage tight hip flexors to release their hold after driving
Keeping your hips pain-free when you aren't drivingThe reality is that it's most likely not possible for many people to give up their cars and truck - or stop every 30 minutes for a hip flexor stretch.
So, when it pertains to hip pain from driving, you can probably do more to look after these muscles that are oh so tight from driving.
That's when a tool like the Hip Hook could make a huge impact on your daily comfort. Particularly if you've currently begun experiencing pain from driving. This simple tool assists you target the source of your hip discomfort and applying gentle, continuous pressure to your psoas and iliacus muscles. Incorporating a simple extending exercise into your morning and nighttime regimens is a great practice to begin.
If you're simply starting your journey towards comprehending your hip pain, keep in mind that there probably is no one cause. While driving alone can overstress your psoas and iliacus muscles, there are probably other activities that you do each day to compound the issue. Sitting, overstretching, working out, and driving - are all regular (and even healthy) activities that can add up to some persistent hip tightness and pain with time.
The next time you get all set to hop in your car, remember your hip flexors!Take just a few seconds to let them stretch out before you get in the motorist's seat and check your seat position once you do. It just may help you prevent more serious hip, tailbone, and pain in the back while driving.
Frequently asked questions about hip discomfort while driving.Can driving cause hip discomfort?
Driving, together with excessive sitting in other places, can be a contributing element to hip pain. Remaining in a seated position for numerous hours each day may lead the hip flexors and other muscles around the hips to tighten up, which can develop compression, reduce the range of movement, and trigger discomfort in/around the hips.
Is driving bad for the hip flexors?
When driving, the hip flexors are placed into a shortened position (just like sitting at your desk or on the sofa) where they can tighten up and end up being weaker. This can later result in experiencing hip discomfort if the hip flexors are never able to genuinely relax and completely extend. You may think about adding in some workouts to extend and launch tension in the hip flexors to decrease the likelihood of establishing hip discomfort while driving.
How do I stop my hips from harming when I drive?
When taking a seat and driving for long periods, the muscles surrounding your hips are not being used and might tend to tighten up and cause pain. If you experience hip discomfort while driving, it can be a great idea to stop and take a break once in a while to extend and walk around. You may also discover it valuable to launch the tight muscles in your hip flexors and your glutes, as well as perform supporting strength and mobility workouts.