Hip pain can be caused by a range of conditions from muscle spasm, through congenital complications to osteoarthritis.
Wear and tear
One of the most common conditions, affecting a large part of the aging population, is hip osteoarthritis. If you are aged above 50 and complaining of deep pain in the groin, side or buttocks, stiffness in the morning, and pain after long walks you might be experiencing wear and tear of your hip. Your symptoms may worsen with cold humid weather and changes in the air pressure. In a healthy hip joint the pressure is distributed widely, but the weight distribution can be altered by degeneration occurring with age, congenital deformities, pelvic torsion, leg length discrepancy or postural tendencies. This causes degeneration of the articular cartilage, muscle spasm and wasting, inflammation and pain. If the condition worsens into a later stage of hip osteoarthritis you may require a total hip replacement. Your osteopath can help you reduce the symptoms and slower the degenerative processes by relieving muscle spasm, reducing inflammation, improving the mobility of the hip and the surrounding joints, so you can be walking for longer and pain free.
Muscular strains and spasms
Hip pain can be also caused by something less serious – as muscle strain or hyper contracture. The muscles of the pelvis and hips are in a constant coordination to be able to provide the needed mobility and stability of the lower limbs. Trauma, repetitive injury or pelvic torsion can cause muscular imbalance, spasm and fibre tears. So if you are experiencing pain, on walking, in the buttock or thigh you might be suffering from groin or hamstring strain. Another muscle causing hip pain in a chronically tight piriformis. A postural or muscular imbalance can cause this deep muscle of the buttock to be chronically tightened and in turn impinge your sciatic nerve. Thus, you might be experiencing sciatica symptoms – pain and pins and needles in the buttock and leg. Osteopathy can help relax the tight musculature and address any underlying pelvic or postural torsions.
If you are an athletic person complaining of pain on the front to the side of the hip– you might be suffering from hip impingement. With this condition the pain is worsened after prolonged sitting, leaning forwards, getting in or out of your car or pivoting on your leg when doing sports. The hip joint, shaped like a ball and socket, is stabilized by the labrum – a wedge shaped cartilage that deepens and cushions the joint. This labrum can get pinched or compressed against the head of the femur. Your osteopath can help alleviating the impingement by decompressing the hip, reducing the tightness of the muscles causing the compression, improving the circulation to the area, and getting the surrounding joints to move better and thus reducing the demand on the particular hip. This would accelerate your recovery and prevent the condition exacerbating to a tear of the labrum.
Referred pain and adaptation pain
Osteopathy aims to resolve the cause of the pain, not just the symptoms. Thus, in order to resolve hip pain, your posture, the mobility of your neck, shoulder and back joints, would be addressed. Sometimes, when a joint is not moving well, it may remain silent and pain free, but increase the demand on another joint and provoke pain there. The sacroiliac joints and the lower spine can also refer neurological pain to a healthy hip.
New-borns and toddlers also can suffer from hip conditions. Often the reason is a congenital malformation of the hip joint, or lack of sufficient blood supply to the head of the femur resulting in degeneration. Any observed asymmetry or reported hip pain by your children should be considered and consulted with a specialist.