Not long ago, I took a course on muscle energy of the pelvis and lumbar spine. Throughout my athletic therapy career the most common injury I’ve come across are low back injuries. In my experience, hip alignment has a huge impact on the occurrence of low back pain because it can cause different types of imbalances and weakness. Hips can come out of alignment from either your daily posture combined with a weak core/glutes, or it can happen with a sudden stress to the back. An example of daily posture could be a soccer player who only kicks with their right foot, is always rotating and stressing their body in the same way, or sitting with your legs crossed in the same way. On the other hand, a sudden stress to the body could be a fall, slipping on ice, or stepping off a curb awkwardly, to name a few.
Muscle energy is a manual therapy technique that involves bringing the patient into a position of joint realignment followed by a muscle contraction. This muscle contraction helps realign the position of the joint. Therefore, if someone is presenting with an anterior rotation in their pelvis (i.e. the hip is rotating forward) it would be important to get the person in a posterior rotated position (rotated backward, such as knee to chest). I would then ask the patient to contract their hamstring by pushing down towards the ground, which would cause the hamstring to help put that anteriorly rotated hip back to its normal alignment. Keeping the hips in proper alignment is very important for the low back because if they are not aligned the body is putting more stress on the low back. It may also cause glute and inner core weakness, which could mean the individual is unable to correctly brace themselves from external forces. Realigning hips is very important in rehabilitation of the low back, however, in order to get rid of your back pain you also need to focus on home exercises. Examples include glute activations, inner core strengthening, and stretching. Pelvis alignment was a major focus during this course, however I also learned about the alignment of the sacrum and lumbar spine, and the application of MET for them!
Book your appointment with Phoebe to find out more and experience the benefits of Muscle Energy!