Tension, discomfort and pain in the hip area can have many causes. I’ll have a look at some of those in this post. I will also share Jin Shin Jyutsu self help exercises for the hips that have worked for me.
The hip joint is fabulously designed
As I researched information about the hips online, I came across an interesting quote. It was by Steven Stuchin, MD and Director of Orthopedic Surgery at the Hospital for Joint Diseases of NYU Medical Center:
“The hip joint is one of the best mechanically designed things that we’ve got. It is a round ball in a round socket, and nothing is better equipped to deal with stress and motion. For most, hip pain is not a product of ageing — it is a product of injury or disease.”
More than just the joint
However, the hips are also made up of bones, cartilage, muscles, tendons, ligaments and bursae. Unfortunately, they can all cause pain in the hips.
Some reasons for hip pain
Injuries, accidents and certain conditions all affect the health of our hips. I have outlined some conditions below. Of course, if you suffer from hip pain that won’t go away or gets worse, do consult your doctor.
Osteoporosis, for instance, affects bone density where bones become brittle and fragile. Osteoarthritis, is when the cartilage around the bones wears down.
Very tight or inflamed muscles cause absolute misery, as they can affect the structure of the body and pinch nerves. From my own experience and what I have seen in my practice, I refer specifically to the Piriformis, Psoas, Sartorius and Hamstring muscles.
Tendons and ligaments
A long tendon, the iliotibial (IT) band, is a thick band of fascia (a large sheet of connective tissue). It runs along the outside of the thigh from above the hip to the knee. It can become inflamed, especially in runners.
Four other tendons reinforce the hip joint. Three are attached to the bones of the pelvis and one to the femoral head (highest part of the thigh bone).
An inflamed tendon is super painful. Called tendonitis, it occurs when a muscle is overused and pulls on the tendon that attaches it to the bone.
A special type of ligament forms a unique structure inside the hip called the labrum which is a small rim of cartilage. It can be injured and cause pain and clicking in the hip.
As a matter of interest, a tendon connects bone to muscle, helping to move the bone. A ligament, on the other hand, attaches bone to bone to hold structures together and keep them stable.
Bursae are small, fluid filled sacs located throughout the body, acting as cushions between bones and soft tissues to help reduce friction.
Bursitis is inflammation of the bursa. There are two major bursae in the hip. One is found above the top of the thigh on the bony point (greater trochanter). You’ll know when you’ve found it as it can be quite sore!
And then there is another bursa located on the groin side of the hip. When it becomes inflamed, the pain is located in the groin area.
Keeping the hips free of tension
Whew! Considering how much work the hips have to do every day, it’s not surprising that tension can take hold. It’s amazing how much tension we carry round in the hip area without realising it. In many cases, the tension builds up over time, but the funny thing is that we get used to it!
Jin Shin Jyutsu self help for the hips
If you suffer from tension and pain in the hips, then here are some exercises you can do daily to relieve and release the hips.
In these exercises, we are using two energy sites.
Found on the back, at the top of the hip bones, is Safety Energy Lock (SEL) number 2. I call this my personal chiropractor, as it helps to align the hips and the spine.
Found on the front in the groin areas, is SEL number 15. It helps release tension in the pelvic girdle and helps the energy move down the legs.
You can do these exercises lying, sitting or standing – which ever is more comfortable for you!
Right side Position 1 (shown)
Place the right hand on the right lower back, on the top of the hip bone (SEL 2)
Place the left hand on the right groin (SEL 15)
Hold for 10 minutes or longer
Right side Position 2 (shown)
Keep the right hand where it is (SEL 2)
Move the left hand to the left groin (SEL 15)
Hold for 10 minutes or longer
Leave left hand on left groin (SEL 15)
Move right hand to right groin (SEL 15)
Reverse the hands for the left hip.
So the left hand on left SEL 2
Right hand on left SEL 15, then move
Right hand to right SEL 15 then move
Left hand to left SEL 15
You may also like:
(where I show you a variety of Jin Shin Jyutsu exercises with videos and notes)