Chiropractic Hip Pain Treatment
Your hips play a key role in a wide range of everyday movements, from walking and running to sitting and bending. The importance of your hips for performing these common motions can become even clearer if your hips start to hurt or ache due to injury or a chronic condition. Luckily, if you are experiencing chronic hip pain, help is available. A skilled chiropractor can help diagnose the underlying condition responsible for your hip pain and create an effective treatment plan.
Can chiropractic treatment help hip pain? Here are just some of the hip conditions that chiropractic treatment can help resolve:
Also referred to as femoroacetabular impingement (or FAI), hip impingement is a condition in which extra bone grows along the bones that create the hip joint. The asymmetrical hip shape that results causes the bones to wear irregularly against the hip joint; over time, this added friction can cause damage to the hip’s cartilage and result in accelerated hip joint degeneration.
Hip impingement can result in significant pain as well as decrease your range of motion. What’s more, it can lead to osteoarthritis in the hip joint if left untreated. Luckily, there are a range of chiropractic techniques and treatments that can help alleviate symptoms and prevent joint degeneration.
First, chiropractic manipulative therapy can help patients achieve better joint motion in the pelvis, lower back and hips. Corrective exercises can also be employed to help strengthen the set of gluteal muscles as well as the muscles that connect to the spine; this helps maintain proper and fluid motion at the hip joint in order to avoid further damage.
If scar tissue has already formed due to long-term hip impingement, sport massage and myofascial release techniques such as Graston instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization and Active Release Techniques (ART) can be effective in resolving scar tissue. Such treatments can also loosen up tight muscles attached to the hip, thereby improving range of motion and blood flow to speed healing.
Twisted Pelvis and Hip Torsion
A twisted pelvis–also known as a rotated pelvis or hip torsion–occurs when one hip rotates or shifts out of its standard position. Luckily, twisted pelvis is not typically a serious condition. However, it can still cause inflammation and significant discomfort or pain, particularly if the hip is allowed to stay in this position. Without treatment, twisted pelvis will tend to get progressively worse as the hip bone (also known as the ila) increases its torsion and moves away from the body.
Twisted pelvis can have a number of causes. Your hamstring is the long muscle that connects the bottom of the knee to the back of the hip; if you pull your hamstring, the back of your hip bone will also get pulled. Pulled hamstrings are a common sports injury, but they can also occur without physical contact by running or moving.
Rotated pelvis can also be caused by tight hip flexor muscles. When these muscles become overly tight, they can pull the hip forward from the front. This can also result in a hamstring strain. Lastly, certain kinds of physical injuries can lead to hip torsion. For example, automobile accidents can cause a twisted pelvis due to the blunt force of the impact.
Whatever the cause, a twisted pelvis or hip torsion can be properly diagnosed and effectively treated by a chiropractor. By helping to guide you through exercises that can help return your pelvis to normal health, a chiropractor can help resolve your rotated pelvis issues. For example, core-building exercises such as plants, leg lifts, bicycle crunches and lunges can help improve core strength and pelvic alignment.
Hip Flexor Pain and Strain
Your hip flexors are the group of muscles that help lift your knee towards your body. Included in this group of muscles are the psoas major and iliacus muscles (also referred to the iliopsoas), the rectus femoris (which makes up part of the quadriceps), the sartorius and the tensia facia lata. You can determine if any pain that you feel in this area is located specifically in the hip flexors by palpating the area one to two inches below the bony point at the front of the pelvis; any unusual tenderness in the tissue in the area is a strong sign that an issue with your hip flexors are the cause.
When the hip flexor muscles or the tendons that attach these muscles to the front of your hip bones are overworked or overused, they can become strained. Of course, not all pain in the hip flexor area is a result of a hip flexor strain, and the first part of treating any hip flexor pain is determining the cause. Hip flexor strain typically results after exertion, such as that involved with sprinting or kicking. That’s why hip flexor stain is extremely common in soccer and football players. A hip flexor strain can also result from chronic stress as a result of repetitive exercises; for this reason, long distance runners are also prone to hip flexor strains.
On the other hand, pain in the hip flexor area can also be caused by tight hip flexors. Overly tight hip flexors can result from a lack of use that causes the muscles involved to become shorter and tighter. People who have to sit for long periods of time (such as the typical office worker) are prone to tight hip flexors for this reason.
Luckily, there are effective chiropractic treatments for both hip flexor strain and tight hip flexor muscles. In the case of strains, a period of rest may be needed for severe cases in order to reduce inflammation. For milder strains and tight hip flexors, the treatment is often similar: manipulation of the hip to provide dynamic stretching for the hip flexor muscles, frequently coupled with manual therapy treatment such as Instrument-Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization or Kinesio tape application. An ongoing stretching program is also key.
Hip Adjustment for Improved Mobility
Sometimes, hip pain and decreased function are not caused by an acute injury but rather by a lack of mobility in the joint. This can take two forms: diminished hip internal rotation and reduced hip external rotation.
Internal rotation is the movement at your hip that twists your thigh in from the hip joint; this motion is important for effectively walking, running, squatting, crouching and crawling and for completing more complex movements like stepping into the bathtub or putting on your pants. If you lack sufficient internal hip rotation, your gait may be affected; for example, the soles of your feet or your knees might point inward. This can increase your risk of injuring other parts of your lower body.
External rotation is–as the name suggests–the opposite of internal rotation; it involves the movements required to rotate your leg outward and away from your body. Everyday actions such as getting into a car or stepping sideways require free external hip rotation, and a lack of strength in the muscles that are responsible for external rotation (particularly the gluteus maximus in the hip/buttocks area) can affect your stability while walking or standing. Lower back pain and knee pain are common symptoms of weak hip external rotators.
In both cases, the cause of reduced capacity for internal or external hip rotation can be as simple as too much sitting; this reduction in mobility can also be a result of injury or hip surgery.
Whatever the cause, chiropractic treatment can help. Chiropractic hip adjustments (also known as chiropractic manipulation) can restore the mobility in the hip joint that you are currently lacking. Other chiropractic treatments such as manual stretching, dry needling and Graston technique IASTM can also be effective. Your chiropractor may also create a rehabilitation program of corrective exercises for you to help improve your balance and prevent the issue from recurring.