Years ago when I first began my massage career, I developed a chronic lower back issue that persisted for months. Throughout my day, I would develop a dull ache that seemed to originate right at my SI joint and radiate outwards towards my hips.
It was annoying, as I did massage during the week and was still bartending on the weekends, two jobs that can inherently exacerbate back pain.
Getting massage and adjustments would help, but not long after, the pain would creep back, and I felt like those treatments were just preventing it from getting worse.
At this point, I sought out physical therapy. My PT’s approach was very hands-on, so she ran me through some muscle testing, palpated the muscles around my hips, and informed me it was exactly as she had thought: My left gluteus medius was stronger than its right-side counterpart (apparently, it's a common problem).
She did a couple of muscle activation techniques, gave me a simple list of exercises meant to strengthen the left side and stretch out the right, and that back pain that had been persisting for months literally never came back after that day.
The gluteus medius overlaps with its larger counterpart, the gluteus maximus, and covers the upper portion of your butt just below the hip bone. It moves your leg from side to side, turns your leg outwards, and plays a major role in stabilizing your pelvis when you walk or run. When it’s out of whack, it can cause pain in the lower back, hips, and knees, and even affect your gait (the way you walk).
If you're having serious lower back issues, such as what I described above or worse, I do recommend seeing a practitioner in-person before pursuing a self-prescribed treatment you found on the internet. However, if you know your gluteus medius is prone to getting angry and want a way to take care of it at home, check out this gluteus medius self-care routine below...
Gluteus Medius Self-Care
To stretch your gluteus medius, here are two different options for you.
The first is Pigeon Pose. Pigeon pose is a great hip opener and in addition to gluteus medius, also stretches gluteus minimus, piriformis, and hip flexors.
There are different variations of this pose, depending upon your level of flexibility. If you don't feel comfortable in pigeon pose, try the next stretch for something a little easier.
For this next stretch, grab the back of the closest chair. Using it to balance yourself, cross one ankle over the opposite knee. Sink your hips down as if you're going to sit down.
This third exercise is to strengthen your gluteus medius, and it's called a clamshell. Lying on your side, stack your knees and ankles bent at about ninety-degrees. Contracting your glutes, open up your top knee. I recommend doing three sets of twenty-five on each side.
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