Niki Vetten

Adductors, the Pelvic Floor and Lower Back Pain

Pelvic floor contractions are used in Yoga as part of Pranayama practise – Mula Bandha. The pelvic floor also has an important stabilising function, as it controls the forward and backward movements of the Sacrum – these movements are also called Nutation and Counter Nutation. If the pelvic floor is tight and inelastic, the Sacrum remains tucked (Nutated) in all movements, which can contribute to lower-back pain because a lack of movement here can flatten the natural curve of the…

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Reciprocal Inhibition and the Hips

Reciprocal Inhibition is a process that the body uses to create movements. All movement is controlled by opposing sets of muscles, called Agonists or prime movers, and Antagonists that create the opposing force which returns the part being moved back to its original position. Movement is also aided by other surrounding muscles, called Synergists, and they mostly function as stabilisers, so that movement can occur in a controlled way. For example, if you wish to extend your knee, the Quadriceps…

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How Hip Problems Cause Knee Pain

Pain felt at the outer or inner sides of the knees is often directly related to the hips and can have a variety of causes, which need to be assessed and treated by a specialist. As explained in Knee Injury and Pain in Yoga, the Gluteus Medius stabilises the pelvis in a horizontal plane and when the Gluteus Medius is not functioning, other muscles take over. Hip stabilisation then occurs via the Tensor Fascia Latae (TFL) muscle, which is connected…

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Knee Injury and Pain in Yoga

Knee injury in yoga usually involves tearing the Meniscus, a double ring of cartilage between the Femur (thighbone) and the Tibia (lower leg bone) – either through carelessness – by practicing asanas with the feet and the knees pointing in different directions, or in Padmasana. It is also possible to overstretch the supporting ligaments at the sides of the knees. People also experience pain behind the knee, on the outer side of the knee, on the inner side below the…

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Lateral Pelvic Tilt in Yoga Practice

When the hips are can’t be held level in a horizontal plane while standing on one leg, lateral pelvic tilt occurs, caused by weakness of the Hip abductor muscles, especially the Gluteus Medius. The pelvis tilts down to one side and the head of the Femur is pushed outwards. This is called Trendelenburg sign by physical therapists. The Gluteus Medius acts a hip abductor but it is also a very important knee stabiliser: if the knee is bent when standing…

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Pain at the Kneecap

Knee pain that occurs around the kneecap is usually called Patellofemoral pain and can be caused by tightness in the Rectus Femoris muscle or an imbalance between the Quadricep muscles that stabilise the patella. One way that this occurs is through weakness of the Gluteus Medius in the hip. The Tensor Fascia Latae muscle is an internal rotator of the hip so if it compensates for a weak Gluteus Medius, The knee sways inwards towards the centre-line of the body,…

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Knees and Padmasana

Padmasana can cause various problems for yoga practitioners. Meniscus tears usually occur as a result of falls and accidents but in yoga they can be caused by incorrect functioning of the Popliteus and Semimembranosus (inner hamstring). Both of these muscles control rotational forces in the leg. The Popliteus muscle retracts the lateral meniscus, while the Semimembranosus retracts the medial meniscus, preventing the meniscus from being compressed and torn when the knee is flexed. Swelling or pain in this area can…

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