You might have tightness or pain in parts of your body that is actually a result of having tight hips. Here are a few ways that tight hips can negatively affect other parts of the body:
Lower Back and Poor Posture
Tight hips can lead to discomfort and pain in the lower back, as the lower back muscles become overworked in compensating for the lack of mobility in the hips.
Think of when you feel tight in a forward fold, or lifting objects from below waist height, your back has a tendency to compensate resulting in stress on the lumbar, thoracic, and cervical parts of the spine.
Tight hips, usually tight hip flexors, can lead to poor posture and alignment in the lumbar spine in particular, which can further contribute to discomfort and pain throughout the body.
Here is a great hip flexor stretch to relieve back pain.
Knees and Ankle Pain
Tight hips can affect both the knees and ankles, as the lack of mobility in the hips can cause these joints to compensate and become unstable or overworked. For example, when the hip abductors (the muscles that move the hip out to the side) are tight, the knees may be forced inward during activities like running or jumping, which can place undue stress on the knee joint and increase the risk of injury. Here is a great hip abductor stretch for knee and ankle pain - just be sure to double up the mat anywhere you need more cushion.
Neck and head pain
When the hips are tight, the hip flexors tend to pull your hips into an anterior pelvic tilt, which is when the pelvis tilts forward and causes the lower back to arch excessively.
This can cause the upper body to compensate and balance this enhanced spinal arch by rounding the shoulders and jutting the head forward. Your head sitting forward puts pressure on your cervical spine (the 7 neck vertebrae) and causes strain, stiffness, and commonly headaches.
Find yoga classes for happy hips of any length or intensity here