I see a fair amount of people with chronic low back aches (or that have had low back pain in the past). Something that is fairly consistent with this group of individuals is the inability to differentiate between movement at the hip and movement at the back. For instance, if you are standing, you lift your left leg and your hips remain level, you are flexing your left hip to lift your leg; however, if you hike a hip, roll the pelvis under when the leg lifts, or half of the pelvis moves forward, you are using your back to aid in lifting your leg. When you lift your leg behind you, like you do when running or in barre class, if your pelvis tips forward when the leg goes back, your back is performing the motion; if your pelvis stays level, your hip is doing the movement (and this is usually a much smaller motion). This isn’t to say the pelvis should always stay still or all movement should be isolated at the hips; however, if you can learn the difference between how a back moves the legs and how the hips move the legs, you will have options if you notice your back getting tired. Brooke Thomas said in a recent blog that “we are living during a crisis of embodiment.” A huge part of that crisis is the fact that we have lost touch with how our bodies work. We rarely use them in a variety of ways in the natural world, and we don’t spend much time wondering “if I move this, what happens to that?” or “how can I move that a little more fluidly, with a little more ease?” Be curious about how you move, and if you spend a little bit of time each day exploring how different joints work, you might be surprised at the options that open up to you.
If you want to read more nuggets from Brooke (which you should), check out her website www.liberatedbody.com.