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  • Writer's pictureJesse Lewis

How to Deal With Hip Pain

If you’re dealing with hip pain, it can be more than just a pain in the butt.


We’ve helped hundreds of people with hip pain so we know it can be pretty frustrating. Your hip is involved in so many different parts of your day. Whether it’s affecting your workouts, walking, sitting at your desk or driving, or another part of your day, it can be tough to deal with it.


On top of that, most medical advice is super negative and will tell you that you have to rest it or it will get worse, you should stop running or exercising, or some other negative message that doesn’t make you feel good about recovery. Or, maybe you’ve had an MRI that looks scary or you’ve been told something scary about your hip. We’ve heard this over and over again from people we’ve helped. The good news is that you don’t have to live with hip pain!


Everyone’s hip is completely different and needs a very individual approach. But, there are some general tips and answers to questions that we’ve found to be helpful to a lot of people dealing with pain. Some of these might be very different from what you’ve heard before, but it’s all backed by research and also by all the stories of people with hip pain who have recovered. 


It’s not always about your glutes


Glutes are the “it” thing right now. Everyone talks about glutes and how you need better activation, they’re turned off, they’re inhibited, or they’re weak. Here’s the truth - if you’re able to walk and go up and down stairs, your glutes aren’t turned off. We’ve seen a bunch of people who have worked on glute strength for two years come in and tell us that all they need is better glute strength and their pain will go away. It’s already been two years! Instead of just focusing on your glutes you’ll want to make sure you’re working hip flexors, inner thigh, and make sure your hip is well balanced rather than your glutes working too hard. We’ve helped more people than we can count get out of hip pain when they haven’t had success elsewhere because we don’t just focus on glutes.


Your hip flexors might not be tight


Most people think their hip flexors are tight. Some people actually do have tightness. But, a lot of the time, it’s actually weakness that’s the problem. So people will stretch and stretch and not actually feel any looser. If a muscle is weak it will work extra hard to try and do its job. If it does that long enough, it’s going to end up feeling tight. You can stretch it and it might feel better temporarily, but it’s not going to fix what the actual problem is. A lot of times we are able to completely get rid of any tightness by actually strengthening a muscle rather than stretching it. So you always want to make sure you’re identifying the real source of the problem rather than just treating the symptom.


Your MRI doesn’t determine your future


If we take an MRI of everyone’s hip that we meet on the street, we will find something “wrong” in about 70% of people. Almost everyone will have arthritis, a labral tear, inflammation, or something else that shows up. But, the huge majority of those people don’t ever have hip pain. So what does that mean for you? If you’ve had an MRI that shows a tear, arthritis, or something else it doesn’t mean you are destined for surgery or a lifetime of pain. I can’t even tell you the number of people we’ve helped that had something show up on an MRI that are completely out of pain and back to running, tennis, lifting, yoga, or a bunch of other types of exercise. No matter what your MRI shows, there’s hope!


There is so much more that can be done about hip pain, but since your pain is different from every single other person’s hip pain, it needs a different approach and there is no one size fits all answer. These are some of the most common tips that we give, though. While all three probably don’t apply to you, I’m hoping that at least one is helpful.


If you learn nothing else, I hope you learn that your hip pain can get better and that you don’t have to live with it, let it stop you from doing what you want to do, or think that it will be a lifelong thing. It can get better!


If we can help in any other way, please feel free to reach out anytime. Our company mission is to keep people in the DC area active and exercising and to take the fear out of pain so if there’s a way we can help you do that, we’d love to!


If you're looking for help with hip pain, we're here for you! Feel free to email us at info@districtperformancephysio.com, contact us here, or text/call us at 202-922-7331.

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