Almost all of the patients I have treated with back pain or fibromyalgia have evidence of Hip Rib Impingement. As previously mentioned most people under estimate how low their ribs are and how high their hip bones ( iliac crest ) are. The smaller the gap between the ribs and the hips, the more likely they are suffering from Hip Rib Impingement. The amount of muscle they have in the area is also significant as the more muscles they have between the bones, the less likely that they will suffer from impingement. This muscle can be loss very easily as prolonged illness such as the flu, prolonged bed rest or prolonged inactive holidays ( laying on the beach for more than 7 days ) can cause a significant muscle loss. This may be why work related injuries are more likely to occur after holidays.
Common daily activities that often cause Hip Rib Impingement are prolonged sitting, sitting on a low/soft chair, sitting twisted, getting out of a chair, bending, lifting, weeding and house work. Apart from modifying the postures and movements during these activities as described in my book, performing the Air Bag Technique may help the patient avoid impingement and so reduce the chances of exacerbating their back pain.
It is a simple technique, the person has to simply take a big a breath as possible and hold it for the duration of the activity. by practicing the Posture Breathing before hand ( previous blog and also described in the book ), the person is able to hold their breath more effectively and for longer to prevent impingement.
A classic example is when a patient gets a severe pain or leg weakness when they get up form a chair and has difficulty taking the first few steps. This occurs because with poor technique getting out of the chair, Hip Rib Impingement has occurred causing lateral abdominal and gluteal pain and trigger points which in turn causes weakness and stiffness of the muscle. By performing the Air Bag Technique while getting up from the chair, the patient is able to prevent impingement and an exacerbation of their pain while performing this common task.
In this scenario, the Air bag Technique also prevents falls as patients commonly describe getting out of a chair or bending over as a common incident just before they fall or break their hip. Commonly, patient have described that performing the Air bag technique gives them strength to get up from a chair or the bed and thereby improving their mobility as well as reducing their pain.
Performing the Air Bag Technique is the simplest way a patient can improve their back pain or fibromyalgia pain through out the day. It is quite easy to teach the patients at the end of a consultation even if they have poor English.