Hip Pain Guide
Dr. Ryan Hosler & Dr. Jen Hosler
Your Guide to Hip Pain Recovery
1. We Understand Your Frustration.
Hip pain can be one of the most frustrating injuries to deal with. In fact, if hip pain is not addressed properly, it can linger for months or even years without much improvement.
Being active weightlifters ourselves, we unfortunately have also experienced hip pain early on in our lifting careers. Thankfully, through the education and knowledge we have, we were able to properly rehab ourselves and even “prehab” ourselves to mitigate future hip pain from recurring.
Hip pain negatively affects a lot of your life… It’s not just a physical pain you feel. Being sidelined from your sport or being unable to participate in enjoyable activities can lead to depression and anxiety. Your hip pain may take away from your social life because you’re not able to partake in group fitness classes or go out running with your friends. If you currently have hip pain, you know exactly what we’re talking about.
One of the worst things about living with hip pain is that you may start experiencing low back pain as a result of your compensation patterns. Or you may even start feeling pain in your opposite hip or leg as a result of these compensations. This “small” hip pain issue can slowly turn into something much more serious if it starts effecting other areas of your body.
Not only can your hip pain start manifesting in other areas of your body (like your low back), it also limits your activities of daily living. The “simple” tasks that we take for granted daily, all of a sudden become not so simple. Take for example, putting on your socks. If you have excruciating hip pain, you know exactly how challenging it can be to put your socks on your feet in the morning.
But here’s the thing: hip pain is something you can recover from!
You will get through this! You will not live with hip pain for the rest of your life. You may just need some professional assistance and guidance to help you along the way. And that’s the exact purpose of this guide… To help you along your journey of overcoming your current hip pain complaints and getting you back to the life you want and deserve.
2. Key Factors In Overcoming Hip Pain
Before we get into what a solid hip pain recovery program should look like, let’s first discuss some key factors in overcoming your hip pain.
First, you must rule out that your low back is not the actual cause of your hip pain.
That’s right, your low back could potentially be causing your hip pain!
In fact, we’ve had a few handfuls of patients report to our office with unresolvable hip pain for months or years who have been to various medical providers without much success.
Some of these providers used traditional Western medicine methods (drugs, surgery, etc.) and some of these providers utilized physical therapy and chiropractic care. Some of these providers even utilized similar treatment approaches as ourselves for treating hip pain!
But there was one problem… They were all treating the hip when the problem was actually a low back issue!
That’s right, these patients’ hip pain was a result of a low back problem. You can utilize all the correct tools and treatment methodologies, but if they’re applied to the incorrect area of the body, they won’t work. Unfortunately, that’s what happened to those patients that eventually came into our office.
You see, the lower back houses part of your spinal cord. And from your spinal cord, a ton of different nerves exit and travel into your hips and legs. Even if you don’t have any back pain, these nerves can still cause hip pain. This is similar to sciatica symptoms… Many sciatica patients don’t have any lower back pain at all, but do have leg/foot pain.
Ruling out that your low back is not the cause of your hip pain should be your number one priority. If you’ve been to several medical providers for your hip pain without much success and they didn’t examine your low back, it’s time to find a new doctor.
Here are a few signs that may indicate that your hip pain is coming from your lower back:
- You currently have hip and back pain.
- You had a history of back pain around the same time your hip pain started.
- You have hip pain that also radiates down your leg.
- You experience pain in the back of your thigh or calf.
- You have “electric,” “burning,” or “tingling sensations in your leg
Secondly, you must figure out what movements and positions are causing your hip pain.
What positions regularly cause your hip pain? This may seem like a silly question, but most people overlook this.
You can’t just expect your hip pain to go away if you don’t remove the causes of the problem in the first place. This is what we call “breaking the pain cycle.”
What exactly does breaking the pain cycle mean? Let’s explain…
So how do you break the pain cycle?
Initially, you have to avoid movements that are causing your hip pain. When you start experiencing less pain, you interrupt the pain cycle and your body’s alarm returns to normal. It’s that simple once you identify the movements that are contributing to your pain.
Here are some common movements that we hear cause our patient’s hip pain:
- Every time I do back squats my hip pinches.
- Every time I move my leg like this, ouch!
- Every time I bend over to tie my shoes my hip hurts.
- My hip doesn’t hurt during leg day, but the next day I can barely move!
Identifying movements and positions that flare up your hip pain is essential so you can remove those aggravating factors while your body heals and desensitizes.
Thirdly, you must find movements that you can perform pain-free.
Finding out what movements don’t aggravate your hip symptoms and cause pain is crucial. These movements are what will keep you active throughout your rehab and recovery process.
This step is just as important as the previous step of finding movements to avoid! This step will help you feel like you have your life back. Like you’re in control and powerful.
In this step, you should find modifications and regressions of various movements and daily activities. This way you’re able to complete your daily tasks in a pain-free manner as well as stay active doing the things you love while not setting your pain alarm off again.
Finding pain-free movements is empowering and instills confidence in your hip again. If your current healthcare provider isn’t working with you to find pain-free movements to keep you active and enjoying your life, then it’s time to find one who will help you. We’re here for you!
The fourth step is finding specific movements that reduce your hip pain.
This step is another challenging step for many people. Especially with the abundance of exercises and movements being posted daily on YouTube and Instagram. While social media is fantastic in many ways, information overload is also a terrible problem and leaves you thinking, “What exercises do I need?!”
Here’s the thing, these exercises don’t need to be overly complicated. They just need to work. And they need to be simple enough that you can do them on your own throughout the day without supervision.
That’s right… you’ll need to do these movements throughout the day. Performing them several times throughout the day will help break the terrible pain cycle that we discussed previously.
This is also empowering as you now have movements in your toolbox to combat your pain on your own. No more relying on your healthcare provider to get you out of pain!
If you need assistance finding pain-reducing movements/exercises, reach out to us for a consultation. After all, this is our expertise! We will find movements and exercises for you to perform that help reduce your hip pain.
The final step to overcoming your hip pain is staying as active.
This may seem impossible at the moment since you probably haven’t applied the above steps yet, but…
- You identified what movements are painful.
- You identified what movements are not painful.
- AND, you identified movements and exercises to get you out of pain.
Once you figure out what’s painful, what’s not painful, and what reduces your pain, you have a clear path to staying active. In fact, the best and most researched way of overcoming any musculoskeletal pain is through exercise and staying physically active.
It’s important to realize that your game plan and rehab process may have ups and downs (good days and bad days). This is a totally normal part of healing and overcoming your hip pain, but it’s important to take note of what may have aggravated your symptoms. It’s also important to not that you now have the tools to calm the pain down if you experience any flare-ups. There’s literally no reason you should just be resting on the couch and hoping your hip pain goes away on its own.
If you’re frustrated with your current hip pain and aren’t as active as you’d like, it’s time to reach out to us for a consultation.
nWe’ll get to the root causes of your hip pain and get you back to living the active lifestyle you want and deserve.
3. What Your Exam and Assessment Should Entail.
If you found solid healthcare professionals like ourselves, you should be taken through a very thorough clinical examination and physical assessment.
This will include a detailed medical history, past and current injury history, physical examination, and comprehensive movement assessment.
Common questions that should be asked in the medical history:
The medical history is your story. The story of your current hip pain complaint and all your previous injuries that may have caused in this complaint to manifest.
It’s said that 80% of the time a diagnosis can be formulated from the history taking process alone. So if your healthcare provider didn’t spend time with you in the history taking process to really dive deep into your complaint, it may be wise to find a new provider who will take the time to have a conversation with you.
If you’re feeling rushed during this process or your provider isn’t paying full attention to you, you may be in the wrong place.
Here are some common questions you should be asked in the history taking process:
- Where exactly is your pain? Point to it.
- How intense is your pain on a scale of 1-10?
- What is quality or your pain (i.e. sharp, burning, stabbing, achy, etc.)?
- When did the pain originally begin?
- Was there a certain mechanism of injury or was it a gradual onset?
- Does the pain radiate/travel anywhere?
- What movements aggravate your pain?
- What movements alleviate your pain?
- Is the pain constant or does it come and go?
- Do certain medications make the pain better or worse?
- Have you seen anyone else for this complaint previously?
Taking a solid medical history is an art. And it takes time. You can expect to spend 20-30 minutes in our office just conversing and going through the thorough medical history alone.
Following the history taking process, we then move into our clinical examination and comprehensive movement assessment. The examination and movement assessment is where we spend the other 30-40 minutes of our time.
Throughout this process, be vocal. Ask questions and make sure you get answers to those questions.
4. What To Look For In A Healthcare Provider.
You should look for a few things when trying to find the right healthcare provider for you. Especially a rehab provider to help you overcome your hip pain.
These are the qualities we possess ourselves and feel that all healthcare providers should possess as well.
- They should spend plenty of time with you to find a solution.
- They focus on your concerns, priorities, and goals.
- They actually perform physical tests.
- They allow you to be independent.
- They find ways to keep you active and moving.
- They continually progress and modify your rehab game plan as you improve.
5. What We Expect From You.
If you’re reading this hip pain guide, we hope you’re already our ideal patient, especially if you’ve made it this far through.
We expect all of our patients to be invested in their health. If you’re experiencing hip pain, you need to prioritize your health above all things. We can only do so much as your healthcare and rehab provider to help you overcome your hip pain.
To get the most out of your rehab (and actually achieve your goals), you have to be invested fully in the rehab process as well. We must work as a team and you must hold your own with your at-home homework and lifestyle modifications. After all, there are 168 hours in a week and you will only be spending 1-2 hours with us each week… That’s only 0.6-1.2% of your weekly time spent with us!
Therefore, you have to put in the work. You can’t expect us to “magically” fix you. You must be invested in the process. And if you’ve had hip pain for months or years, you must not expect it to magically disappear after 1-3 visits. It’s just not plausible for a long-term strategy.
6. What To Expect From Us.
You can expect everything that we’ve covered in this guide thus far to be covered at your initial visit with us. Additionally, we’re here for you along your entire rehab journey.
From the moment you walk through our office door for your initial assessment, you’ll be with us one-on-one for at least an hour.
Following the history and physical assessment, we’ll educate you on the causes of your hip pain and formulate a game plan to get you back to living an active, pain-free lifestyle.
We will also provide you with an estimated number of visits (and time frame) for you to completely resolve your hip pain. This will include the number of visits you need per week, which is typically never more than 1-2 times per week.
Your treatment and care will be individualized to your personal goals, wants, and needs. Often, this looks like a mixture of hands-on manual therapies, stretching, joint mobilizations and adjustments, and of course, corrective exercises.
Following your initial visit with us, you can expect 30 minute or 60 minute one-on-one follow-ups with us. Spending this amount of time with us in an intimate, one-on-one setting is how we get the results and outcomes you’re looking for.
7. Final Thoughts.
Thank you for taking the time to read our hip pain guide! We’re here for you to help you overcome your hip complaint and live a stronger, more resilient life.
If we can be of any assistance along your rehab journey, we hope you give us a call or email us. We’re here to get you back to living the life you want and deserve.
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