There are two major problems with hip pain that I have to look for:
The first type of problem – and the easier to treat – is when the hip joint has restricted motion. This can produce local hip pain or cause dysfunction in the lumbar spine/sacroiliac joint or the knee, as a result of these structures attempting to compensate for the lack of movement at the hip joint.
The second type of problem is where the hip joint has an increased amount of movement arising from a lack of control of the femoral head (top of the thigh bone) in the hip socket; you will often feel or hear clicking or clunking, or a feeling of weakness in the region. A failure to correct this lack of control can lead to joint damage and subsequent long-term restriction of movement.
If only it were so simple that we could split the problem into one or other type of dysfunction. However in reality it will often be a combination of the two.
Muscle imbalance is related to two changes in muscle function: (1) a tightening of a “mobiliser” muscle and (2) the weakening of a “stabiliser” muscle.
- So-called mobiliser muscles are those that produce movement; they are often big muscle groups with more fast-twitch fibres. Although they produce high power, these muscles have a tendency to shorten. The hamstrings and rectus femoris (one of the quadracep muscles) are the two main mobiliser muscles around the hip joint.
- By contrast, stabiliser muscles control movement or joint position, often working against gravity. They are smaller, deeper muscles which often have more slow-twitch fibres. They should be well coordinated and have good endurance capacity, though they have a tendency to be under-active and weak. The gluteals are the key stabiliser muscles around the hip joint.
If your hip, scaroiliac joint area, or low back is bothering you, come in and I’ll check to see if this is your cause of the pain. Call 310-473-2911