Hip pain can be one of those symptoms that is hard to describe. It’s difficult to know exactly where the pain is located, or what it feels like. Hip pain can feel very deep—like it’s affecting the joint, but it doesn’t always ache when you move.
Some types of hip pain are worse when sitting. Some increase with activity. Maybe your hip hurts, but the pain is also shooting down into your knee or your groin is aching. Maybe your toes even tingle! All you really know is that you want relief fast. What’s causing your hip pain and can a chiropractor relieve your hip pain?
What causes hip pain?
To understand hip pain, it helps to know some basic anatomy. Your hip is a joint that connects your leg to your torso. It’s a ball and socket joint, which means the head of your thighbone, or femur, can swivel inside the joint socket. The hip socket is made up of your pelvic bones.
Pain is a symptom of inflammation, along with warmth, redness, and swelling. Hip pain can be due to inflammation in the joint itself, but many other structures surrounding the joint can also cause pain. Or pain can be referred to your hip from other areas of your body, like your spinal column. Certain activities lead to increased inflammation, which causes increased pain.
Hip pain from walking
Many conditions that cause pain in the hips originate in the spinal nerves. The spinal nerves branch off from the spinal cord in between the vertebrae or backbones.
If a nerve is pinched between two vertebrae in the lower back or compressed by a muscle, pain occurs. Hip pain increases while walking because as you walk, movement in the vertebrae or muscles irritates the pinched nerve even more.
Some of the conditions that increase hip pain while walking include:
- Sciatica: This is caused by inflammation of the sciatic nerve. Sciatic pain usually starts in the lower back and radiates into the buttocks and to the side or front of the hip and thigh. Because sciatica is due to nerve inflammation, it can cause a variety of painful symptoms including numbness, tingling, and burning. The symptoms of sciatica can follow the path of the nerve down into the lower leg and foot. Hip pain in sciatica is often worse when the knee is straightened because this stretches the sciatic nerve. This makes walking painful, and makes it hard to stand up from a sitting position. Chiropractors can help relieve hip pain from sciatica.
- Piriformis Syndrome: The piriformis muscle runs from the sacrum across the middle of the buttock area to the hip joint. The sciatic nerve exits the pelvis area in this same area, and if the piriformis becomes irritated, tense, or swollen, it can pinch or compress the nerve causing symptoms like sciatica. As the muscle moves with activities like walking, more inflammation occurs, increasing hip pain.
- Bursitis of the hip: Hip pain due to bursitis is caused by inflammation in the tissues of the trochanteric bursa. The bursa is a small sac of fluid on the outer side of the hip joint. Its job is to protect the tendons and muscles as they slide over the hipbone, or trochanter. Movement of the hip joint, the tendons, and muscles increases inflammation of the bursa and leads to increased pain.
Hip pain while sitting
The same conditions that cause increased hip pain while walking can also make your hip more painful when you sit. This is especially true if you sit for prolonged periods.
The numbness, pain, and tingling of piriformis syndrome and sciatica are often intensified by sitting too long in one position, and muscles and tendons that become tight and tense due to inactivity are more likely to increase the pain of bursitis.
Other conditions that can lead to increased hip pain while sitting include:
- Osteoarthritis: This condition causes pain and decreased mobility due to wear and tear damage to the hip joint. Arthritic pain and stiffness in the hip is usually worse after prolonged inactivity and feels better once the joint is moving, but as activity increases, so does the pain.
- Sacroiliac joint pain: The SI joint is located between the sacrum at the bottom of the spinal column and the pelvis. This joint is prone to injury and people who sit for extended periods are likely to have more hip pain here due to tight ligaments and muscles.
- Overuse Injuries: These produce hip pain due to inflammation of tendons, muscles, or ligaments. They can be caused by a single strenuous event or by routine daily activities that over-stress the hip joint. Inflammation in the band of tissues called the iliotibial band can also cause hip pain. This band stretches from the pelvis down the outer thigh to the knee. Initially, resting overuse injuries is recommended, but in many cases, hip pain increases if activity is not gradually resumed.
Can a Chiropractor help with hip pain?
Many conditions that cause hip pain can be successfully treated by a chiropractor. This is because many times, hip pain originates in the spinal column and the nerves. A chiropractor has the education, experience, and equipment to determine whether the pain is directly related to the hip joint, or is due to a pinched nerve or other conditions of the muscles, tendons, or ligaments.
Goals of chiropractic treatment for hip pain focus on decreasing inflammation and muscle spasms, strengthening your muscles, and improving joint mobility and stability.
Once the cause of the pain has been identified, a treatment plan can be personalized for you that may include:
- Chiropractic adjustments
- Exercise or physical therapy
- Strengthening and stretching
- Massage therapy
- Postural instruction or advice
- Coordination with other healthcare professionals
Chiropractic Hip Adjustment in Redondo Beach
Chiropractic hip adjustments have helped relieve sciatica, symptoms of piriformis syndrome and pain related to SI joint dysfunction. Chiropractic hip alignment is beneficial for some people who suffer from osteoarthritis of the hip. In fact, in one study, over 80% of osteoarthritis patients had decreased pain and increased mobility after only nine visits, which included chiropractic hip alignment when appropriate.
To learn more about available treatments for hip pain that don’t involve the risks and high costs of surgery, contact us to request an appointment. Chiropractic for hip pain can give you relief and get you moving again sooner than you think!