There are individuals who walk with a limp or tilting their hip to one side. This mostly happens when a person tries to avoid pain in the lower back. Initial experiments with medicines such as local application of an analgesic ointment helps temporarily in case of such patients. Long term effective treatment requires accurate diagnosis to pin point the cause.
In normal healthy spine, there are three curves:
* Cervical inward curve at the neck.
* Thoracic outward curve in the middle.
* Lumbar curve at the lower back.
These curves are visible while looking at an individual from the side. The shape of the spine is such that it enables us to walk, run, shit, stand without exerting any stress on the muscle / ligaments of the body. Spine is stabilized in the normal position by the abdominal muscles on the front side and on the back. In situations where alignment of any part of spine is altered, the areas like the hip, the buttocks and the legs have to bear the load. Lumbar lordosis or swayback is cause by excessive weight, pregnancy, low back problems like lumbar canal stenosis , sitting for extended periods performing desk jobs, driving car, etc. Lordosis can be confirmed when standing aside a mirror. He curvature of the lower back will be pushed inside with protruded abdomen and hips swayed backwards. Individuals with lordosis look unattractive and often complain of pain during prolonged standing sitting, walking etc.
In case of people with pot belly or pregnant women , the lower back curvature is increased which stretches the abdominal muscles, making them weak. This enhanced curvature exerts undue pressure on entire back particularly muscles, ligaments and discs causing pain and discomfort. Certain muscles around spine and buttocks become tight and some becomes weak and stretched, creating an imbalance.
The muscles which become often tight and require stretching are the following:
* Low-back extensors (Quardratus lumborum, erector spinae)
* Hip-flexor- iliopsoas muscle
The muscles which become weak and require strengthening are abdominal muscles and hip extensor-hamstring and gluteus maximus.
Certain tips, if practiced, can lead to good posture:
* When you are standing for an extended period, rest one leg on a step/stool to support/relax the back.
* When you are sitting, place a small pillow at the hollow of the back for support with your fleet flat on the floor.
* It is not advisable to lock the knees while standing.
* When you are sleeping on the back, place a pillow under the knees.
* Wearing shoes with heels of less than one inch. High heels tend to pull the spine for ward, leading to instability of the back.
* Avoid sitting in a static position for prolonged periods. Get up every 20 or 25 min.
Exercises are required to stretch the tight muscles and strengthen the weak ones.
Pelvic tilt- Lying on the back with knees bent; tighten the abdomen muscle to flatten the back. Hold for a count of 10 and repeat 10 times. Hip flexor stretch- While standing, place one leg forward. Bend the front leg and push the hip of the back leg forward. Stay in the position for a count of 10. Return back and repeat five times. Lower back stretch- Lie on the back and place your feet on the floor. Slowly pull your knees into your chest. Stay for a count of 10. Repeat 10 times. Spine hip extension- Lie on the back, place fleet flat on the floor with the arms on the sideways. Squeeze the gluteus muscles and lift the buttocks of the floor and hold in the position for a count of 10. Repeat five times.