Thread: Back Problems
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Old 08-23-2006, 07:14 AM   #26
Carol Shifflett
Location: PA
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 53
Re: Back Problems

Ahmad Abas wrote:
Only thing missing there is the hurdle stretch which to my mind would help the hip abducters right?
The antidote to strained, shortened ABductors is ADduction. I really can't think of any standard Aikikai exercise that specifically addresses hip abductors. Closest would be the standing hip circles (stand while leaning hips out and around in a circle). In Judo it would be the action of leg sweeps. But let's be clear on meaning of "hip abductors."

Stand with your back and heels firmly against the wall. If you move your heel away from your body, but keeping your heel in contact with the wall, you are ABducting the leg (taking the leg AWAY from the body -- think "ABsent.") Naturally you're using your hip abductors to do that. If you raise your arms, staying in contact with the wall, you are using your arm abductors -- hip abductors are the equivalent of your deltoids, etc. Unfortunately, neither of these get stretched much -- the body's in the way. So we tend to ignore them in favor of the easy and obvious like hamstrings. Somehow we tend to think mostly in terms of the front/back plane (flexion / extension).
Could you mention and desrcibe a few for me to start off with? I would be familiar to some of the more general exercises, but if its too obscure I'll just look it up.
Simplest is to:

1. Lie on your side on the very edge of a firm bed or bench.
2. Drop your top leg over the edge. Keep leg as close to the edge as possible, don't kick it out. (You're trying for ADduction in the same plane as the ABduction that caused the original problem).
Just allow a gentle passive stretch w/ gravity -- and notice the feel of it. This approach has the advantage of using your already strained and overworked adductors.

You might also have a therapist work out any adhesions or fascial shortening that will probably also be there restricting function and effective stretching. (BTW, think "gentle lengthening", never "strain".) There's a really good standing stretch that I won't describe as live demo -- or experimenting until you can reproduce the feel of the bed stretch -- is best.

You haven't mentioned knee pain, but if this situation propagates on down the ilio-tibial band and adductors (already being strained to compensate), you can expect that next. There's a standard medical superstition that knee pain comes from weakness / imbalance in quads and hamstrings. (There's that easy and obvious front/back thing again). It's great nonsense, but you really do NOT want to be the proof of that. Best to stop trouble before it starts by getting everything working properly -- and that should help your back as well.

Carol Shifflett
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