Hip Degeneration: Cause & Effect from a Postural Perspective

Hip Degeneration: Cause & Effect from a Postural Perspective

Happy New Year Achieving Pain Free Life and Living!  Welcome to our first NEW blog post of 2013.  Today I have a must share YouTube video prepared by Brian Bradley (Vice-president of Therapy Protocol at Egoscue, Inc.) that explains Hip Degeneration and how Egoscue Approved Postural Therapy can undo the damage.

Let's start with some background prep work.  Perhaps the most common postural imbalance I see in clients who work with us here at Pain Free Posture MN is a hip dysparity.  


Hip Dysparity & Chronic Pain

A Hip Dysparity from a Postural Therapy perspective is simply this:  a misalignment of how the pelvis is sitting in relationship to it's proper position from "blue-print" design


Because the hips joints are unaccessible to palpate, we Egoscue University Certified Posture Alignment Specialists use the position of the pelvis to tell us what your hips are and are not doing.  Long story short if your pelvis is sitting in a misaligned position, there are muscle length-tension imbalances at the hip joint, the pelvis is forced to move out of it's normal place and function.  This has a cumulative effect on your whole musculo-skeletal system, including your spine (including the neck and head).


The spine really has no other choice but to follow the leader and change it's position relative to the pelvis and hips.  The pelvis can tilt (anterior/posterior) rotate (froward or backward) and/or hike (elevate or depress).  

Other postural markers which indicate a hip dysparity are:

  • pelvic tilt (anterior or posterior)
  • increased or decreased lumbar lordosis
  • a lateral shift of the lumbar area
  • femur (upper thigh) rotation (inward or outward)
  • knee hyperextension or over-flexion


Let's take a tilt for example.  Depending on the direction of a tilt, there will be a corresponding tightness and weakness of the iliopsoas and rectus femoris, overly tight or weak gluteus maximus and medius and will create joint dysfunction at the hips and particularly at the L4-L5 and L5-S1 joints.  


Pelvic muscles are disrupted, along with a kinetic chain response that extends up into the thoracic area affecting the scapulo-humeral rhythm and shoulder joint function. [For an excellent and well-written tutorial on the different types of pelvic disruptions we Certified Posture Alignment Specialists see on a regular basis, please read Matt Whitehead's article Understanding Posture - What's Your Pelvis Doing?


Hip Degeneration:  Cause & Effect from a Postural Perspective

When you look at it from this perspective it's much easier to see how hip degeneration can occur, but also how neck or shoulder pain can just as easily result from a hip disparity due to muscular imbalance in all the muscles that act on the hip.


Think you might have a pelvic disparity but not sure how to assess it?  Download our FREE POSTURE ASSESSMENT GUIDE so you can test your posture in the comfort of your own home.


The major point is that each muscle and load bearing joint (including our pelvis and spine) in our body has a specific action and function.  When imbalances occur in muscles and joints, our body is smart enough to figure out ways to compensate around it.  We might not feel physically pain for a time or season, but eventually, these imbalances cause over AND under worked muscular activity which ultimately leads to the most common form of joint degradation (osteoarthritis).


I firmly believe that the human body has a "blue-print" design and function it must adhere to to function optimally.  From a musculo-skeletal perspective, each muscle in your body has a specific length and function.  When the muscle becomes dysfunctional it sets off a ripple effect.  All it takes is for one muscle to lose some of its functional "blue-print" integrity and the ripple effect begins to take place.  


Other muscles are forced to compensate (aren't you glad to know you're not doing this on purpose?) to keep you upright and doing your life.  That's all well and good until the ripple effect turns into a riptide and the compensations get bigger across more muscle groups and affecting more joints.  As more and more muscles lose their proper length-tension relationship, the compensations and dysfunctions continue to grow placing you at risk of joint degeneration.  


Aside from a genetic abnormality or acute trauma, this is the main reason how hip degeneration occurs (as well as spinal disc herniations, meniscal tears, shoulder impingement, and so on and so forth)


So, enjoy this video and remember, "Pain is inevitable.  Suffering is optional" -~ Pete Egoscue


Hopefully after reading the commentary and watching the video you have a better idea why Egoscue Approved Postural Therapy is DIFFERENT.  We identify, treat and restore the ROOT CAUSE of your pain versus chase your symptoms.  Symptom chasing is what I call the chronic pain cycle.  You might temporarily feel better for a time and/or season, but if you do not address the ROOT cause of your pain, it will only return.  

If you've been given the diagnosis of a degenerate hip(s) I pray that you know can better understand that your hip joints and muscles that act on your pelvis both above and below the site are not working correctly.  


No matter where you are at in your progression, Postural Therapy using The Egoscue Method is a medication, manipulation and surgery free option to try.  It's never to late to restore proper function through the power of a corrective exercise program with a trained pro.  Let us know how we can help you!  We're in this together and I am here to help!