When it comes to the human body, an issue in one area can contribute to problems elsewhere. For example, one study found that three-in-five patients with femoroacetabular (hip) impingement also suffer from clinically significant low back pain, and increased disability in one location is associated with greater disability in the other. When it comes to managing a patient with a musculoskeletal disorder of either the hip or low back, it’s often important to incorporate exercises that promote trunk stability, core strength, and hip muscle function.
In a 2021 study, researchers compared various exercises to identify which work best promote muscle activation in both the trunk and the hips. With the aid of surface electromyography, they identified two exercises that aren’t usually considered as part of a hip/low back rehabilitation program that may produce better results than the standard plank and abdominal crunch:
- Half-Kneeling Self-oblique: Perform a standard lunge by stepping forward with your left leg and bend the knee and hip 90 degrees, resting the right knee and lower leg on the floor behind you. Next, place your right hand on the inside of the left knee and apply inwards pressure against your hand. Repeat this on the opposite side.
- Supine Self-oblique: Laying on your back, bend your left knee 90 degrees with your left foot flat on the floor. Cross your right ankle over your left knee and apply pressure with your left hand against your right knee. Repeat this on the opposite side.
The authors recommend starting with about 20-50% maximum voluntary contraction for about three-to-five seconds and then gradually increasing the pressure and repetitions over time.
Depending on your fitness level and other factors, your doctor of chiropractic may recommend modifications to these exercises so they are easier to perform or so that they can be done while seated when you’re in public or at work. Exercises like these are typically part of a multimodal approach that can include spinal manipulation, mobilization, soft tissue therapy, physiotherapy modalities, and nutrition recommendations.