Yoga Exercises and Diet for Hip DysplasiaBy Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

Hip dysplasia is a misalignment, or deformation, of the hip joint. It may be a congenital condition, or it may be acquired over time. A person may have hip dysplasia in both hips – bilateral dysplasia, or in one hip – unilateral dysplasia.  The condition is very painful, as anyone who suffers from it will confirm the pain he or she experiences from Hip dysplasia. The hip joint takes the force of three times one’s body weight. If a person weighs 160 pounds, the hip is handling 480 pounds of force and pressure. With this consideration, the need to be gentle with a painful hip joint becomes very clear.

The process of Yoga is to stretch and strengthen muscles. When considering Yoga for hip dysplasia, or any hip pain, be mindful of the method of Yoga you choose, in addition to being attentive to the individual Yoga moves. It’s important to move slowly and gently when building the muscles to support hip joints. Therapeutic Yoga, restorative Yoga, gentle Yoga, basic Hatha Yoga, or Anusara Yoga are examples of styles that hold postures. Unfortunately, Power Yoga, Flow Yoga, and Vinyasa, with their focus on a faster paced movement, are not advised.

The following are Yoga exercises to reduce pain, and possibly, help the hip joint heal. Do these poses slowly and mindfully. If there is pain, back out of the movement. Always consult with your family physician or medical specialist before beginning an exercise routine. He or she knows the specifics of your health, and each of us is unique.

Cat and Cow Poses

On hands and knees, with shoulders above wrists and hips above knees – that is to say, knees are hip distance apart, slowly and gently lift the head and chest up, and the tailbone up, stretching the belly, while inhaling deeply. This is cow pose and is classified as a backbend.  Reverse the pose into an angry cat, bringing the tail bone down, contracting the belly, and rounding the back up, navel to spine, gently curling the head and neck in, exhaling gently, but deeply.  Do six to ten cat-cow movements, slowly.

Extended Child’s Pose

Relax into child’s pose by exhaling and lying your torso onto your knees, with your arms outstretched in front. You can also modify this asana by spreading the knees out to the sides of your mat. In this way, you can breathe as deep as you like, while your spine is in a linear position. This modification also brings one into deeper states of relaxation.

Leg Extension and Knee to Chest

On hands and knees (in Table Pose), with shoulders above wrists and hips above knees, extend one leg back, to hip height. Gently curl knee and head with the thought, “knee to nose.” Repeat with the other leg. Do six to ten on each side. Afterward, you should relax into modified Extended Child’s Pose.

Anti-inflammatory Diet

A healthy diet, focused on anti-inflammatory components, might contribute to your hip healing. There is a need for more formal studies on this subject. However, it is believed, among proponents of this school of thought, that a diet, which is rich in different colored vegetables, such as broccoli, spinach, yellow squash, and carrots will reduce inflammation. Strong anti-inflammatory components include: turmeric, garlic, ginger, green tea, flaxseed, omega-3 fatty acids, and cinnamon. Consult with your family physician or medical specialist before changing your diet, and inquire to find out if the anti-inflammatory diet is right for you.

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