“I have issues with my right hip that is not explained by very mild osteoarthritis and includes both sciatica and femoral nerves. What specific exercises will help with pain management?”

There are many people who have mild osteoarthritis and have no pain. There are people without osteoarthritis who have chronic pain. As this person suspects, his discomfort can’t necessarily be solely attributed to osteoarthritis.

When sciatica and discomfort in the femoral nerves (nerves in the pelvis that go down the front of the leg) are present, from a Somatic Education perspective – one that looks at the way one moves and functions – we would suspect that there is a habituation of the Trauma Reflex taking place.

This could be the result of an accident, one-sided repetitive tasks (like holding a baby on one’s hip or carrying a heavy shoulder bag on one shoulder), surgery, or long-term imbalanced posture.

The Trauma Reflex can cause one to tilt slightly to one side. If this becomes our habit the brain senses tilted as straight, balanced, and normal.

Over time we may begin to sense chronic tension all the way down into our pelvis and leg. This low-level contraction can also create less space in the joints. With sciatica, there is a habituation of both the Green Light reflex (tension in the back muscles) as well as the Trauma Reflex. This creates the twist and rotation in the pelvis one often feels with sciatica. It also pinches the sciatic nerve.

Somatic Movements and pandiculation are a safe and effective way to restore balance in the center of the body, “untwist” the pelvis and allow the legs to move the same way from one side to the other.

Our suggestion is to learn the basics (you can learn everything you need to know in one of our Fundamentals Course weekends) and then explore more nuanced movements for the legs and hips: shoulder and hips circles, invert and evert, Steeple Twist, and the Propeller, all available in our Pain Free Legs & Hips Video Lesson.