Uneven or misaligned hips can cause all kinds of unpleasant problems throughout the body. Luckily, misaligned hips only have a few key causes and there’s a solution that works for all of them. Read on to find out what you can do to fix uneven hips safely and effectively.
Fixing uneven hips is usually a matter of stretching, exercise, wearing a special brace, or utilizing a heel lift. In some severe cases, surgery is the best answer, but most uneven hips can be corrected with the right conservative treatments.
The Causes of Misaligned Hips
When seeking the proper treatment for uneven hips, it’s important to know the different causes.
a) Functional Leg Length Discrepancy
- This is the most common type of hip misalignment, which includes lateral pelvic tilt which can happen to anyone and is usually the result of tight muscles on one side of the body. This will be the main focus of this article.
- Most common among children or adolescents, this curving of the spine can result in uneven hips and shoulders. It’s often treated by observation, a special brace, or surgery in extreme cases.
c) Difference in Leg Length
- When one leg is longer than the other, it affects the hips, the spine, and the shoulders. This is often treated by a heel insert in mild cases and surgery in extreme cases.
Hip Out of Alignment Symptoms
Having hips out of alignment can be a scary prospect. You may think that one leg has grown longer than the other or that you have scoliosis. However, most hip misalignment’s among adults happen over time and can be fixed with the right stretches and exercises. Most of the time it’s something that can be handled at home or with the help of a chiropractor. Here are some symptoms that your hips are out of alignment:
- Hip pain
- Foot, leg, or ankle pain
- Back pain (upper or lower)
- Tightness in the muscles of the affected side
- Uneven shoulders
- The feeling that one leg is longer than the other
Hip Alignment Test
You can do a simple test at home to help you determine whether your hips are uneven or not. Of course, this is not a replacement for seeing a medical professional but it can give you an idea of whether your hips are really out of alignment.
- Stand in front of a mirror in your bare feet.
- Grab a piece of string, a shoelace, or a workout band and hold one end in each hand.
- Place the heels of your hands directly on your hip bones.
- Check in the mirror to see if the string is tilted. If it is, your hips are likely uneven.
How to Realign Hips?
If you’ve determined that your hips are uneven you have a couple of options as to how you move forward. If you’re an adult who has never been diagnosed with scoliosis and never had serious hip issues before, it’s likely that performing the following exercises at home or visiting your chiropractor will remedy the problem safely and effectively.
1) Self Hip Adjustment Exercises
Uneven hips are often caused by years of favoring one leg, poor posture, improper sitting position, improper lifting techniques, weight gain, and even crossing your legs. As such, these exercises are mainly aimed at stretching and strengthening the muscles on one or both sides of your body to bring the hips back even again.
2) Hip Realignment
- Lie on your back, raise your legs up, and place your feet against the wall so that your knees are at a 90-degree angle.
- Using the muscles of the leg with the higher hip, press your foot into the wall.
- Using your hand, press the hip on the same side down toward the wall.
- Hold for 10 to 20 seconds.
- Repeat 12 to 15 times.
3) Standing Reverse Leg Raises
- Stand up straight with your feet comfortably apart.
- Engage your core to keep your spine and body straight.
- Raise one leg behind you as far as is comfortable without bending the knee and without bending your upper body.
- Bring your leg back down, touching your toe to the floor.
- Perform 12 to 15 repetitions.
- Switch legs and repeat.
- Be sure to use controlled movements and to keep your core engaged as you do this. Avoid using momentum to swing the leg, as this will defeat the purpose of the exercise.
4) 90/90 Hip Stretch
- On a yoga mat or a comfortable floor, sit down and arrange your left leg in front of you with the outside of your knee and ankle on the floor and the knee at 90-degrees.
- Make sure the left knee is in line with the left hip.
- Arrange your right leg out to your right side, also at a 90-degree angle, the inside of the knee and ankle on the floor.
- Keeping your spine as straight as possible, reach forward with your left hand, pushing your left hip back as you do so.
- Hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Repeat 5 to 8 times.
- Reverse the position and do the same for the right side.
These are just a few exercises that help to stretch and strengthen the muscles of your hips. Doing yoga regularly, especially concentrating on moves that involve the hips, can help you to correct any misalignment you may have.
5) Chiropractic Care for Misaligned Hips
If you feel like you aren’t making progress working on your hips at home, or the pain isn’t receding, you may consider seeking chiropractic care. Hip adjustments are a common practice among chiropractors. Plus, a doctor of chiropractic may perform or recommend other treatment options to safely and effectively speed the realignment process. These may include:
- Chiropractic massage
- Posture correction treatment
- Adjustments for sciatica pain
- Weight loss tips
- Lifestyle tips
- Additional exercises and stretches
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How to Pop Your Hip?
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention hip popping in this article. The popping of joints, especially in the back and hips, is common. Sometimes what feels like a misaligned hip simply needs to be popped. Many people complain of a hip that feels like it needs to pop but won’t. Knowing how to pop your hip safely at home can make all the difference in comfort and mobility. But, you should never perform an exercise or stretch that causes you pain.
Seated Hip Stretch
Many people find this to be the best stretch for popping a hip.
- Sit in a chair with both feet on the ground.
- Raise the leg of the affected hip and place the ankle across the knee of the opposite leg.
- Lean forward slightly and press directly down on the raised knee with your hand.
- Hold the position for 5 to 8 seconds.
- Repeat 3 to 5 times before changing sides.
- Stand up with your feet set about twice as wide as the hips.
- Clasps your hands together in front of your chest for balance.
- Lean to the right in a lunge, allowing the left leg to stretch out, placing most of your body weight on the strong right leg.
- Get as low as is comfortable and hold the stretch for several seconds.
- Raise back up.
- Repeat 5 to 8 times on each side.
If your hip doesn’t pop while doing these exercises, don’t force it. Only do as many of these exercises as you’re comfortable with. Seek professional help if the hip doesn’t pop or starts to cause you pain after a week. You should also see a medical professional if you feel pain when the hip pops. If the cause of your uneven hips is scoliosis, the good news is that a chiropractor can help with that too.