Hip to It
Q: What’s the largest joint in the human body?
A: The hip joint.
As such, it’s no surprise that the ball-and-socket hip joint can be the cause of numerous health problems. Children and adults alike can be plagued by these difficulties. To understand how they happen, it’s important to take a look at the structure of the hip:
- The ilium. This is the uppermost part of your pelvis, which flares out and is the widest and largest of the three parts of the hip.
- The pubis. Also called the pubic bone or pelvic girdle, the pubis is at the front of the body and below the abdomen.
- The ischium. Beneath the ilium and behind the pubis, the ischium is in the lower and back portion of the hip.
The hip is stable, but since it bears the weight of the body, it’s likely to develop problems from the pressure. This is indicated by symptoms such as pain in and around the hip, including the groin, and referred pain into the thigh and knee. Limping, stiffness and an inability to bear weight on one side of the body may also indicate a hip problem.
The Many Conditions that Affect the Hip
When it comes to the hip, there is no shortage of different issues that can affect this joint. Listed below are some of the most common.
Arthritis. This is the most common reason that hips start breaking down. The types of arthritis include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and traumatic arthritis.
Bursitis. There are fluid-filled sacs called bursae in the hip joint. When bursae become inflamed, stiffness and pain can result.
Developmental dysplasia. When a newborn baby has a hip that easily dislocates, it is caused by having a shallow hip socket. The ball joint can then easily slip in and out.
Fracture. Because bones tend to weaken with age, hip fractures happen mostly in older populations. They typically require surgery followed by rehabilitation.
Perthes disease. Affecting children from ages 3-11, some bone cells experience a reduced blood supply to the thigh bone. The bone then deteriorates, causing pain in the hip.
Irritable hip syndrome. Also affecting children, this syndrome develops when the lining that covers the hip joint becomes inflamed and irritated.
Soft tissue problems. The soft tissues on the outside of the hip can be injured or defective. That can result in discomfort in the area, or referred pain to nearby areas.
Slipped capital femoral epiphysis. The ball portion of the hip joint can become separated from the thigh bone, resulting in this condition that occurs in children.
Sprain/strain. When a hip strain occurs, the muscle that supports the hip tears. A sprain is when a ligament that supports your hip gets stretched beyond its intended capabilities. Both may result in leaving you unable to move your hip as usual.
Could It Be Related to Your Spine?
Chiropractors have expertise in the entire musculoskeletal system, which includes your hip joint. The nerves in the lower part of your spine influence how your hip area may feel. Getting an accurate diagnosis for your hip pain is essential. If you’re having hip problems, it’s time to visit us for a full evaluation. After, we will be able to make recommendations about whether chiropractic might be helpful for you.
Are You Breathing Like You Should?
Our bodies are incredible, working constantly to keep us alive and functioning. One of the vital functions the body performs without needing any guidance from you is breathing. Though you may not often think about your breath, you certainly notice as soon as it is affected.
The signs of poor breathing include:
- Holding your breath
- Feeling short of breath
- Needing to take long breaths
- Running out of breath
- Taking rapid, shorter breaths
What Happens When We Breathe
Each time you breathe in, the muscle at the bottom of the rib cage called the diaphragm contracts and moves downward. That way, the lungs have room to expand. The muscles between your ribs contract to pull the rib cage both outward and upward. Air is taken in through the nose and mouth, then travels down the trachea to the lungs.
After passing through the bronchial tubes, the air reaches a point where the oxygen is passed into your bloodstream. As you exhale, carbon dioxide is expelled from the body. This process is repeated tens of thousands of times each day.
Why Does Breathing Matter?
Though it may seem trivial, your breath matters more than you might think. Oxygen is required by the cells of our bodies to produce energy. Without proper breathing, that won’t occur as it should. Plus, breathing allows the body to get rid of waste products and toxins. If those remain and stagnate in the body, vital functions may be affected.
By breathing as you should, you can experience a greater feeling of well-being, more relaxed muscles, lower heart rate and blood pressure, have better control of your emotions and feel more present in your life.
How to Breathe More Effectively
As with anything else in life, practice makes perfect when it comes to breathing. To learn how to breathe and get the many benefits of proper breathing, you can use some easy, simple exercises.
- Sit on a chair, relaxed but with proper posture, or lie down – whatever feels most comfortable for you.
- Place your hand on your stomach.
- Breathe in through your nose for a total of four seconds.
- Hold that breath for two seconds.
- Breathe out through your nose for a total of four seconds.
- Repeat several times.
The hand on your stomach will remind you that more than just your chest should move when you breathe. This deeper form of breathing is also called diaphragmatic breathing. Make sure your neck and shoulders remain relaxed the whole time, with no tension present in the body.
Pursed lip breathing
Another effective breathing exercise is called pursed lip breathing.
- Take a seat, relaxing shoulders and neck.
- Breathe in through your nose for two seconds.
- Purse your lips as if you’re going to whistle, breathing out for four seconds.
- Repeat several times.
This method helps you to not only relax, but to see how taking a correct breath should feel.
Breathing exercises can be particularly useful in times of stress or when you experience anxiety. Give it a try next time you need to ease your mind and see how it works for you!