The Best Ways to Manage Hip Pain
If you’ve experienced some hip pain you may have found that getting relief on your own is difficult. Sometimes rest helps, sometimes exercise helps... and the hip area is not an easy area to stretch or strengthen properly. Your best bet to start with would be to see one of our chiropractors or physiotherapists at Yellow Gazebo. In the meantime (or in addition to), you can try some or all of these suggestions and see what helps. Whatever you do on your own though, please be careful with! Being shown in person with one of our experts will always help more than just reading and trying it on your own.
1. Glute Bridges. This exercise can really help teach your gluteal muscles to “activate,” something that is often an issue with people experiencing low back or hip pain. To do this exercise, lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet hip-width apart. Press down through the heels of your feet and lift your hips off the ground, until your knees, hips and shoulders form a straight line (but don’t arch your back). Hold this position for a few seconds and then slowly lower down before repeating, up to about 20 times. You can also find a demonstration of the glute bridge exercise (as well as some other good exercises to prevent hip pain) in this video.
2. Heat. I always recommend heat for pain, though if you find ice really does help you find relief, then please alternate between the two; i.e. 20 minutes of ice, then 20 minutes of heat, and so on. For most people though, heat is a better alternative to ice. Heat brings blood flow to the area in pain, allows the muscle to relax, and helps your body’s natural healing process to do its job.
3. Strengthen Your Inner Thighs. Especially when it comes to hip pain on the outer part of your hip, strengthening your inner thighs can often bring a lot of relief. This has to do with the theory of antagonist muscles working together - one “opposite” muscle group contracts while the other relaxes. So in theory, by repeatedly contracting your inner thigh muscles you should be able to help the outer thigh muscles relax and offer you some relief. To strengthen your inner thighs, lie on one side with your bottom leg slightly in front of your other leg. In a very small movement, lift your bottom leg repeatedly, using the inner thigh muscles of that leg to do the work. Repeat up to about 20 times and then switch legs. You can also find this exercise in the video for the hip exercises above.
4. Figure-4 Stretch. While I always advocate strengthening as more helpful than stretching, it’s still often helpful to add in the right stretches (and in the right way as well). The Figure-4 Stretch (also known as the Tailor Stretch or the Piriformis Stretch) is a great way to stretch your hips, and can also help with low back pain too. To do this exercise, lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Lift your right leg and rest your right ankle over your left knee (see accompanying picture for the correct position and watch this video starting at 4:44). Now “thread” your right hand through the “hole” you’ve created, and using both hands grasp your left knee. Gently pull your left knee towards your chest for 2-3 seconds, then repeat approximately 10 times.
5. Avoid Certain Exercises. Some common exercises such as running, squats with heavy weights, leg lifts with heavy weights, and also deep lunges (or any exercise that involves moving the legs far from the midline of your body) can contribute to hip pain. Avoiding these exercises or modifying them can often help a great deal. For example, doing squats with no weights can actually help relieve most types of hip pain but doing them with weights can make hip pain worse. Click here to watch a video on how squats without weights can be done to help relieve low back pain and also hip pain.
If you’d like some more information, would like to book a free consultation or would like to go ahead and schedule an appointment at Yellow Gazebo, please give us a call at 416-909-2334, email us at email@example.com, or use the online booking link below. We’ll be happy to help you get on your way to optimum health.