USA - Orange County,
2664 Newport Blvd.,
COSTA MESA, CA 92627
1 949 631 5226

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Are your glutes activating?

This posterior chain is a linkage system on the back of you legs that aids in stabilization of your pelvis and the transfer of power from the ground up into the rest of the muscular system and eventually out to your baseball bat, golf club, lacrosse stick, or surfboard.

 If your glute muscles do not “fire” it could be because they are inhibited or being prevented from activating. This can occur if the muscles on the other side, the front side of your hip,  are too tight. There needs to be a balance between the length of the muscles in the front and back of your hip so that they work together, creating stability and more efficient movement. To use running as an example, when your right hip and knee are lifted and you are preparing to land on your heel, the front of your left hip is stretched as that hip and leg move behind you. Looking at the runner in the image above, you can see that the front of her left hip is being stretched as the leg extends back. If the hips cannot move through their proper range of motion, the glutes become inhibited and fail to completely contract and fire.  

These types of muscle imbalances in the hips are common, and cause the lower back to take over for what the hips are not doing.  This leads to a constant state of fatigue in the lower back,  setting you up for a lower back injury. Unfortunately,most people can not feel this happening in their bodies until they simply start having lower back pain. In order to properly evaluate someone with lower back pain, it is essential to evaluate the hips to see if the lower back pain may just be compensating for poor functioning hips. The classic way we see these scenario happening is with patients who sit a lot. Prolonged sitting causes these hip flexor muscles to shorten over time thereby getting in the way of the glutes firing.  

 One way that we can evaluate you for proper glute contraction is by watching you move through certain exercises and poses.  As you can see in the picture below, the first image shows proper contraction of the glutes and hamstrings.  The second image shows a dysfunctional movement pattern, which puts more pressure on the lower back.  

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 Our sports medicine specialists, Dr. Zappala and Dr. Jessie at South West Health Spine & Sport are specially equipped to evaluate your hips to see if they could be the ultimate cause of your lower back pain. So stop sitting on your butt and give us a call today 949-631-5226 to see if your glutes are activating!

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