Hip Pain: How To Avoid Making It Worse

Hip Pain: How To Make It Worse

Illustration by Alexandra Gordon, Verywell

The thing that drives a lot of people crazy when it comes to hip pain, is it never seems to fully go away. No matter what they’ve tried, it seems to linger in the background, and worse, it seems to change location all the time. Then they feel like they’re just chasing the pain with a combination of massage or foam rolling and stretching. They end up being frustrated, and figuring they will just have to live with it. 

That’s where Haley was when we first met her. She had tried to figure her hip pain out on her own several times but it just kept coming back. Unless she went to get a regular massage it ended up always being in the background. Eventually her hip pain started to affect her ability to focus, and she felt like she couldn’t be 100% for her family. The pain was not severe, but it was just enough to make her feel exhausted from constantly dealing with little aches and pains. 

During our first meeting with Haley we were able to identify 5 things that she was doing that were making her hip pain worse. When she stopped doing these things, she quickly noticed a difference in her hip pain. With her hip pain lessened, we were then able to pinpoint  exactly why she had hip pain in the first place. It is typically due to an imbalance between different muscles in the hip. Certain ones do too much, while others do too little. Here’s the secret to solving hip pain for good. Avoiding the 5 things Haley was doing can relieve hip pain, but keeping it gone involves strengthening the right muscles in the hip, so the others can relax. 

Let’s take a look at the things we had Haley avoid: 

1. Avoid crossing your legs: Every time Haley would sit down she would cross her legs. It’s something she has done for years and never gave any thought to it. It’s alright to do if your hips are healthy, but crossing your legs when you already have hip pain can make it stick around much longer. It ends up pulling at the muscles in the back of your hip, and can also cause pinching in the groin area. 

2. Avoid sleeping on your side without a pillow between your legs: When you sleep on your side without a pillow between your legs, it puts your leg into a similar position as crossing it. This can cause pinching in the joint (typically felt in the front) as well as strain the muscles in the back of the hip. 

3. Avoid sleeping on the painful hip: Haley was a side sleeper, so she would toss and turn between her hips. But sleeping on the painful hip would almost always cause her to wake up in the middle of the night with pain along the outside of the hip and down the leg. If you’ve experienced that, it’s likely that there is inflammation happening while you sleep that’s causing the pain to stick around. You’re also not getting a full nights’ sleep which is best for healing. 

Bonus: If you want to know what else you can do to make sleeping better as possible, read through our “7 Tips For Neck & Shoulder Pain“.

4. Avoid sticking your hip out to the side: For Haley in particular this was a big one. She had a habit of carrying her 4 year old on one hip and sticking that hip out to the side. This can cause a lot of pressure in the hip, not to mention the lower back. 

5. Avoid ignoring it and hoping it will just get better on its own: It’s completely normal to fall into the trap of thinking “I’m too busy to take care of this right now, and it’s not yet bad enough for me to get help.” Waiting to get the right help is often what makes it take longer to heal. The longer that joint pain persists, the higher the likelihood that someone might need surgery years down the road. It’s best to get it fixed right. 

As we mentioned, these 5 tips helped Haley get some quick relief from her hip pain. But how do we make it STAY gone? Often times, this is where you need a specialist. Not a “specialist” in the sense of a surgeon. A specialist in movement, someone who knows how to identify muscular imbalance, and correct it. Working with a specialist can help you get out of bed without stiffness, sleep better, and be more active without worrying that your hip pain will come back. 

How Can Working With A Specialist Physical Therapist At DPT Help? 

  • Your treatment plan is tailored to your lifestyle to get you to be able to do the things that are most important to you. 
  • You’ll learn about the body, the muscles, and how everything is connected. 
  • You’ll understand how to take care of yourself so you can continue to enjoy being pain free and active well into the future. 
  • You’ll understand everything that’s contributing to your hip pain, and have a plan to get it corrected.
  • Your DPT team understands where you are at, and designs a plan to help you get to where you want to be in as few, or as many steps as it may take.

If you’re ready to get back to a life where you don’t have to worry about hip pain, and you can be as active as you like, click the button below and fill out our form to see if you qualify for a complimentary Discovery Visit with our expert team.

Request A Free Discovery Session