Why Clinical Somatics is the most effective way to relieve snapping hip
The movement and level of contraction of our muscles is controlled by our nervous system. The way that our muscles move, and how much we keep them contracted, is actually learned over time by our nervous system.
Our nervous system learns certain ways of using our muscles based on how we choose to stand and move each and every day. Our nervous system notices the postures and movements that we tend to repeat, and it gradually makes these postures and movements automatic so that we don’t have to consciously think about them.
This learning process—that of developing what we refer to as muscle memory—allows us to go through the activities in our daily lives easily and efficiently. Unfortunately, if we tend to repeat harmful postures or movements our nervous system will learn those too. Our automatic neuromuscular learning process doesn’t discern what is good or bad for us—it just notices what we tend to repeat, and makes it automatic.
So if you flex, abduct, or rotate one or both hips over and over, your hip muscles can easily become chronically tight, leading to snapping hip syndrome.
As your nervous system gradually learns to keep your muscles tight, gamma loop activity adapts. This feedback loop in your nervous system regulates the level of tension in your muscles. As your brain keeps sending the message to contract your muscles, gamma loop activity adapts and starts keeping your muscles tight all the time. Meanwhile, your proprioception (your internal sense of your posture, muscle tension, and movement) adapts so that you’re not aware of the increased level of tension in your muscles.
Static stretching doesn’t have any lasting effect on muscle tension because it does not change the learned messages that your brain is sending to your muscles to stay tight. It can even make your muscles tighter by activating your stretch reflex. Physical therapy exercises may involve strengthening, which can make tight muscles even tighter.
Clinical Somatics uses a movement technique called pandiculation that gently contracts and releases muscles, sending accurate biofeedback to the nervous system about the level of tension in the muscles. This allows for retraining of learned muscular patterns and resetting of gamma loop activity. Pandiculation is by far the most effective and efficient way to release chronic muscle tension and retrain posture and movement. To learn more about pandiculation, read this post.