For the last several years I’ve been dealing with increasingly painful and bothersome issues in my left hip/pelvis/low back/groin. That hip has a long history of trouble and I’d injured the psoas a few years before, with little success at healing it. So I carried on as best I could under a lot of tough circumstances, doing the yoga and Robert Masters exercises I’d used for years.
But the problem wasn’t going away and I started to look into other solutions, which led to realizing a series of issues in that area have come together and, as far as I can tell, impacted every muscle, ligament and tendon in the area. A combination of injuries, repetitive motion, and much-reduced exercise schedule created an area-wide problem.
It took quite a while to realize the many threads that brought me to this point. It happens more than people realize with muscles and western medicine is lousy at coping with muscle issues, so most people don’t know how easily one problem can become two and then five, so I thought I’d give some info on this particular journey.
I was born with my left leg twisted so muscles on that side were out of place and pulling on others from the beginning. Years later a car accident created a bit more of a twist and my left hip started going out of joint all the time. The pain from that led to sitting with more weight on the other side while squeezing the muscles on the left hip as tight as possible to numb the pain. That created one hip being quite a bit higher than the other.
There were already profoundly twisted back muscles extending into that area and the psoas was so tightly wound many practitioners commented about never having seen one so bad… They’re all in the same area so the patterns interacted. A great deal of that has been dealt with and as far as multi-patterns everywhere else, most of my body is holding the releases.
With years of yoga and concentrating a lot on hip and psoas stretches as well as the usual forward bends for back, a lot improved and I could mostly control the hip issue though it was never gone. Bodyworkers made big strides into all of it as well and when I added regular practice of the Robert Masters’ triggers of release, everything worked pretty well. Though the worst of the muscle patterns were still there, they improved enough to keep pain largely at bay.
Then I injured the psoas in a too-long hold on a yoga posture and struggled to get it to heal. Because the psoas is so central to movement, the pain meant my years-long habit of walking went by the wayside. A lot of other exercises and poses became tough to do so a lot of postures I normally rotated through went off the roster.
In the meantime, difficulty keeping my hip from going out when sitting in any chairs led to creating a set-up on the floor where my hips could be held firmly in balance. But floor sitting generally means bending the low back. It took years, but the position slowly took a number of muscles out of alignment and left the sacroiliac area locked tight.
All of that was still going on when my mom fell and broke her hip. Hours in some NOT ergonomic hospital chairs brought the hip issue back, worse than it had ever been because of interaction with the psoas and sacroiliac issues. Covid hit and the extra hours it took to take care of groceries, the caretaking for my mother, etc. left me struggling about exercise.
With less time to spend and pain dictating what I could do, my practice dwindled to mainly doing postures/triggers that directly impacted the areas of pain plus riding an exercise bike several times a week. Through that time to now, Mom wound up in and out of the hospital several times with a couple of skilled nursing stays as well and my dad died, so many more things filled my schedule and reduced time spent on yoga, etc.
The forced move after my mother’s death added more layers of issues as I heaved boxes, moved furniture, etc. Then the exercise bike was too big for my condo, so it didn’t get moved and yet another many-years-regular exercise fell away. All of these things combined to mean these first 5 months in my new locale have been riddled with pain issues.
Regular practice of the hip/psoas poses and releases meant I could keep reducing the pain but every time I try to go back to finishing the process of clearing my dad’s stuff from the condo and unpacking mine it goes out again. It’s not crazy about long grocery shopping trips, vigorous cleaning or cooking that involves a lot of standing either.
The Universe popped a video by chiropractor Dr. Rowe (see top video) for opening the sacroiliac joint into my path and it was a game changer. He has dozens of videos on YouTube and I’ve been making my way through all the ones that relate to muscles in the hip, pelvis, low back, groin region. Some of them overlap and some exercises that help several muscles in the area show up on numerous videos so it becomes easy to memorize a few and start integrating into your routine without having to watch a video every day.
As far as I can tell pretty much every muscle in there is either twisted up or weak from underuse and/or connected to one or more of the painful patterns operating in there. Plus on the “good” side, some muscles are over-strong because they’re doing most of the work for both sides. I’m particularly focused on the piriformis, iliotibial band and psoas/hip flexors on the bad side. If you spend a lot of time sitting, you should probably be doing something for those muscles too.
I’ve also been working with some of the online videos provided on the Silver Sneakers site. There’s a Restorative Yoga one up right now (they rotate) which, while unlike any other RY I’ve done, happens to concentrate a number of nice easy long holds on muscles in the area I’m addressing and it has REALLY helped.
Since I’ve been watching/doing a lot of videos for this area, naturally the internet is constantly showing me more, which is how I found this gem, with exercises quite different than the others I’m doing and very helpful. The final two for psoas are really making some inroads on the psoas issue.
A lot of people don’t realize the degree to which muscles can go off slowly and over time nor how much they interact with each other. When someone says an exercise could cause an injury, in many cases it’s not that something so dramatic will happen that you’re off to the ER the first time you do it wrong.
Generally it’s means you’re using a muscle or impacting a joint in a way that slowly over time will cause muscles to tighten or the joint to become sore. You might not know you have a problem until several years after you quit doing the exercise. And by that time the impacted muscle(s) will have pulled off some others.
As I’ve noted before, Western medicine is remarkably obtuse/uneducated in muscles, how they work, and how central they are to so much in our lives. And when a muscle is sore they’re more likely to prescribe a pain killer than point you toward something that would actually heal the muscle.
So if you are in an accident or have a fall, etc. it’s up to you to either demand a referral for massage therapy and/or chiropractic adjustments and/or physical therapy and really up to you to look into exercises YOU can do on your own to keep the muscles from freezing in the pained position caused by the accident.
In this case, a perfect storm of injuries, interconnected patterns, reduction of movement/exercise work and straining the area all came together over the course of a few years and threw the whole area out of whack. I’m aware enough of how muscles work to realize it was starting to pull nearby muscles in my leg and back out too. Fortunately the yoga and Robert Masters work I’ve done throughout prevented those areas from staying twisted.
The exercises are making inroads. The main things I’m noticing are that my posture is generally better because it’s easier to hold the low back in proper position and I’m also more able to sit in a healthier position. The worst of the painful muscles are still pretty painful though the exercises are giving me periods of relief.
I’m still working out a rotation, trying to do one or two of the new exercises every day, feeling into which I should do more often and trying to make sure my regular yoga practice, which I designed to cover a lot of basics, stays in the mix. I’ve also added several new exercises from the Restorative Yoga video and several of Dr. Rowe’s into my regular routine.
No idea how long it will take. And that’s another thing western medicine doesn’t prepare you for. Actually healing issues instead of throwing some pills at it that eliminate symptoms while doing nothing to heal, isn’t really part of their practice. And healing takes time.
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