Have you ever thought about how you stand? Or how you hold a transducer? Or how you position yourself over your patient? Incorrect positioning in any form could increase your risk of pain and injury. Here are three easy exercises sonographers can do—even on the job—to reduce anterior pelvic tilt.
- 90/90 Hip Flexor Stretch
On a mat, kneel down with the front leg up, with the knee at 90 degrees, the back leg is on the ground, but also bent at 90 degrees. Make sure to tightening up the abdominal area. Then move your hips forward, maintaining shoulders back. You are looking for a stretch in front of the hip.You will feel the stretch in the front of your hip and the thigh. You are looking for a light stretch. You are not trying to rip the muscle apart. Hold that for about 20 to 30 seconds twice on each side, first the right leg, then the left. Alternate back and forth for the two sets.
- Side Lying Quad Stretch
Lying on your side, reach back and grab the foot of the top leg with the same arm as the leg you are bending (i.e., right hand grabs right foot). As you grab the foot, bring the heel towards the butt. The key here is not to just pull the heel to the butt, but bring the thigh back a little bit in order to intensify the stretch in the front of the thigh and the front of the hip.Think: Hold for 20 seconds as a light stretch and do it twice on each side alternating. Right leg first, then roll to the other side and do the left leg. Repeat.
- Deep Squat Stretch
Stand up tall with a wider stance than shoulder width. From that position, squat down with hips below the knees. In the bottom position, place the elbows between the knees and then push the knees out with the elbows. You are looking for a stretch in the inner thigh and hips.This position and pressure will end up changing the position in the lower back and in the pelvis from an anterior tilt to a posterior tilt. Doing just like the other stretches: 20- to 30-second hold, twice.
No matter what your occupation, a certain level of stretching and regular exercise will help reduce your risk of injury. This is especially true for sonographers. Please consult your physician (even if you are one) before beginning an exercise program.
What stretches do you do? How do you improve your posture? Comment below or let us know on Twitter: @AIUM_Ultrasound.
Doug Wuebben BA, AS, RDCS (Adult and Pediatric) is a registered echocardiographer and also a consultant, national presenter, and author of e-books in the areas of ergonomics, exercise and pain, and injury correction for sonographers.
Mark Roozen M.ed, CSCS*D, NSCA-CPT, FNSCA, is a strength and performance coach and also the owner and president of Performance Edge Training Systems (PETS).