The hips have a major effect on the functioning of the back and posture. It is essential that for normal functioning, the hips remain aligned. Hip misalignment means that the hips are uneven. In simpler terms, it means that one hip is higher than the other. It is a condition of extreme discomfort. This condition can occur at any age irrespective of gender.
What is Hip Misalignment?
Three bones form the hip are the ilium, ischium, and sacrum. These bones are joined together and function to provide support. They also allow the passage of normal fluid movement of the body. When hip misalignment is caused, it leads to restricted movement in the person. It also causes excessive pain.
Symptoms of Hip Misalignment
Below are the common symptoms of hip misalignment:
- Knee pain
- Foot pain
- Ankle pain
- Upper back pain
- Lower back pain
- Pain in the hip
- Nerve pain
- Tense muscles on one side of the legs
- Tense muscles on buttocks
What is normal hip alignment?
The following aspects should adhere to a normal hip alignment.
- The hips should not lean backward or forward
- The pelvis should be parallel to your shoulders
- The pelvis should be parallel to the ground
- Horizontally, the hips should be on the same level
In very layman’s terms, uneven hips mean that one hip is higher than the other. In other words, it can be said that the pelvis is tilted if you have uneven hips. Medically, it is called a lateral pelvic tilt.
The reasons for uneven hips can be
- Due to certain injuries
- Degenerative changes in the body
- Abnormalities in the musculature, tendons, and ligaments
Causes of Misaligned Hips
With misaligned hips, the pelvis becomes titled. A few of the causes of misaligned hips are mentioned below
- Pinched nerves
- Joint dislocation
- Inguinal hernia
- Hip labral tear
- Congenital disorders
- Muscle imbalances
- Old injuries
This medical condition can also occur due to some behavioral reasons. They are listed next.
- Crossing of legs
- Leaning on one leg while standing
- Excess pressure on the hip joint
- Use of shoes that don’t provide the sufficient support that you need
- Carrying a heavy bag on one shoulder which can lead to uneven pressure on one side of the pelvic joint.
- Poor posture while sitting
- Wrong lifting techniques
Treatment for a Misaligned Hip
Your doctor may decide on one or a combination of the following treatments for a misaligned hip. It is a time taking process. You should not expect instant positive results.
Chiropractic procedures: Chiropractic procedures are very effective to treat a misaligned hip. Take the services of a registered chiropractor.
Massage: Regular massages can help to even the uneven hips. Always take the services of a trained masseur.
Splinting: Hip splints help to align the hips properly.
Weight loss: Maintaining a proper height-weight ratio helps in keeping the hips aligned.
Changes in lifestyle: This includes changes in the way you conduct your daily activities. Examples: Sitting in the position, standing straight, and not leaning.
Surgery: Surgery will be the last resort if the other methods of treatment do not bring positive results.
How Can a Misaligned Hip be Prevented?
A misaligned hip can be prevented by regular stretching. If done regularly, it will help to strengthen the hips, legs, and back.
Hip Alignment Exercises
If you are wondering how to fix uneven hips, we mention few exercises if done regularly can prevent hip misalignment.
Straight Leg Hip Twist
A common exercise for hip alignment i.e. when the hip is out of place is the straight leg hip twist.
- First, lie down on your back keeping your legs and feet straight
- Spread your arms to 90 degrees away from your body. Your palms should be placed downwards
- Next, place the right heel on top of the left foot. Both feet should be flexed at all times during the exercise
- Then, contract the quadriceps on both legs. After this start to lift the right hip off the floor.
- Keep twisting until the right hip points up
- Now, turn your head in the opposite direction. Do this while keeping your upper body relaxed.
- Conduct this procedure for a period of 30 seconds to 1 minute
- You should breathe deeply during this procedure.
- Come back flat on the floor
- Reverse the legs and conduct this procedure with the other leg
Another exercise for this condition is the 90-90 stretch.
- Keep your left side tight sit on the floor with your right leg in front of you. It should be at a 90-degree angle. Your knee and ankle should be placed on the floor
- Align the knee with your hip
- Your right leg should be bent at the knee at a 90-degree angle.
- Take your left hand and push your left hip away from it.
- Repeat it for the right side
Quadratus Lumborum Stretch with Leg Split
- Sit on the floor. Spread your legs apart as far as possible
- Reach out for your right hand to touch the left foot. It is not necessary to touch the foot.
- Do the same with the other hand, i.e. stretch your left hand to reach the right foot.
- Continue this for at least 10 minutes
- Lie on the floor on your side with your feet together.
- Get up with your forearm below you on the floor.
- Align your elbow underneath your shoulder.
- Contract the muscles of the abdomen. Lift your hips next. The body should be in a straight line in this step
- Stay in this position for at least 15 seconds. Increase the time each time.
- Repeat this procedure with the other side.
- Lie on the floor on your stomach
- Now, extend your arms out towards the front
- Simultaneously extend your legs behind you
- Lift your arms and legs to about 6 inches above the floor
- Contract the muscles of the abdomen
- Reach out as far as possible
- Stay in this position for around five seconds
- Relax your legs and arms back to the floor
- Repeat it after a few seconds.
Child’s Pose with Hand Reach
- Sit back on your heels. Move your forehead towards the floor. Your head should be in a low position. This is the child’s pose.
- Lift one arm and reach out as far as you can go in front of you.
- Repeat it for the second hand too
- With your arms outstretched, move your hands over to one side. The lower back and hip will move towards the other side.
- Stay in this position.
- Breathe in and out as your stretch
- Come back to the original position
- Repeat it on the other side.
Can a Chiropractor Help with Hip Pain?
You might ask if a chiropractor can help with hip pain. The answer is yes, they can do it. This form of help comes under the manual mode of treatment for the condition. After a complete diagnosis, your doctor might suggest treatment by a chiropractor. Chiropractors will conduct a proper examination before the start of the treatment. It includes
- A full health consultation, inclusive of the previous account of any injury or accidents
- Diagnostic imaging
- Varied orthopedic tests and spinal tests. This is to determine if the existing hip pain is due to a certain structural imbalance.
Recommendation to Keep Hips Aligned
A common exercise that is recommended to keep the hips aligned is as follows:
- Lay on your back with your feet against a wall
- Press one leg towards the wall
- Simultaneously, press your hip down with your hand
- Hold on for about 10 seconds and release
- Repeat for the other leg
- Repeat it for around 10 minutes
How Does a Hip Misalignment Affect Daily Life?
Having hips that are not aligned can affect you in certain ways. A few of them are listed below.
- Prominent Shoulder Blade: Your shoulder blade might be placed outwards on the side of the lower hip.
- Uneven Shoulders: The side with the lower hip will have a higher shoulder. Hence, the shoulders will be uneven.
- The difference in the Length of the Leg: When the hips are not aligned properly, there will be a difference in the length of the leg. The higher hip side of the leg will look longer than the normal hip side leg.
- Curved Spine: When the hips are misaligned, the spine might look like it’s curved in the shape of a C or S.
- Noticeable Rib Cage on One Side: When the body is suffering from a medical condition called scoliosis, it can lead to the hips being misaligned. In this condition, the rib cages twist. Consequently, the ribs on the side with the higher hip prominently stick out further than the normal one.
When to See Your Doctor?
If you feel that you are suffering from uneven hips, you see a doctor. It could be due to any of the causes mentioned above. Along with proper consultation, the doctor will conduct certain tests to diagnose the condition if existing. They include:
- Evaluation of the way you walk
- Measurement of each leg to mark any difference in them
- Conduct X-Rays to detect any abnormalities in the bones
- CT Scan. this can detect any abnormalities in the bones or tissues of the leg
- Scanogram. This is a kind of X-Ray that can give accurate measurements of the leg
Among the various hip disorders that can occur, hip misalignment is one of the commonest one.