As a student of kinesiology, (the study human movement) and a massage therapist I am often asked what causes hip pain. In my experiences, it is usually the result of an imbalance of the musculature surrounding the hip joint. This imbalance therefore places undue stress on the hip joint, slowly deteriorating the cartilage.
This cartilage is like a Teflon disk that sits in the space between the head of the femur (thigh bone) and the joint socket of the hip. It is principally for lubrication and shock absorption. Without it, the bones would grind against each other and this is what causes hip pain.
Right hip joint pain is probable the most common. Why? The answer is simple. Most people are right handed therefore the right leg is used much more than the left. I played soccer, and I preferred to kick with my right leg over my left. Well guess what, now my right leg had signs of arthritis. This is not a death sentence and can be reverse. And I did correct it on my own.
There are plenty of other reasons for hip pain such as impact injuries like falls. However, in most cases, hip problems are those caused by repetition of a particular movement. These are chronic, in which they occur over long periods of time. Not to worry because you can fix it. Time and effort is what is needed.
When massaging the hip area it becomes quite obvious which muscles are the underlining causes of the pain. These muscles are stiff, ridged and often have hard lumps of spastic tissue. These tight muscles grow short and actually shrink in length. Short muscles pull on bones causing an uneven wear in the cartilage. If this situation is allowed to persist, then that hip joint pain causes additional complications such as inflammation and joint deterioration. This is bad news!
However, there is hope for those suffering with this infliction, and you can do it yourself. One of the treatments is as simple as stretching the tight muscles around the hip. Touching your toes or a hurdlers’ stretch are some examples of this. Massage is another great way of relieving joint pain. This can be expensive but very good for so many aliments. Both of these methods will lengthen muscles.
Supplements are also quite effective in doing more than just alleviating hip pain. It has been proven that glucosamine can actually rebuild worn cartilage. Fish oil is also very effective. I personally know roofers who couldn’t do their job if it wasn’t for fish oil relieving joint pain. To them it’s like a miracle drug. Drinking plenty of water is sometimes all it takes to fix what causes hip pain.
Hip joint pain causes many to seek a pharmaceutical answer it their problems. This, in my opinion, is the least desirable. First is the price factor. Unless you have good medical benefits this alternative can break the bank. Second, prescription medications are plagued with side effects that are often worst than the problem itself.
Painkillers are probable the least favorite way of solving hip joint pain. They just cover up the problem. You don’t know how many people I have seen that got hurt on the job. So what happens? They go to the doctor and get a prescription for opiate type drug. At first they feel great and the pain is gone. In time the painkiller losses its effectiveness and more is needed and then more is needed and so on. Before you know it, addiction sets in and life is in decline and even death. Again, not good!
Surgery is sometimes the only option. Surgery has come a long way in the last 20 years. In most cases, surgery is accomplished by cutting tiny holes in the skin and inserting small tools (Arthroscopic surgery). No longer are the days of the huge zipper scars seen in the 70′s.
If you are one with hip pain, I suggest you play out all the safe therapy options first. Learn proper stretching, a professional would help. Massage those tight muscles, and take non-prescription supplements like glucosamine and fish oil. Only use the painkiller and surgery as your final option.
Always seek a medical professional for serious problems!
Keith Null, B.S. kinesiology