Experiencing hip pain is no picnic, but when it’s determined that the source of the pain is tight muscles and tissues in the legs, hips, and glutes and is not structural, there’s at least a silver lining to the diagnosis. Finding relief from aches and pains in the hips and low back can be as simple as rolling specific areas on a tennis ball. How does this DIY hip pain treatment work, and how can you find relief?

The Hip Joint Explained

  • To understand how tight soft tissues might contribute to pain around the hip, it helps to have a little background about the structure itself.
    The hip joint is one of the largest on the body, and is designed to move in 6 different directions.
  • This multi-axial ball and socket joint requires a web of thick and strong muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia to remain stable and functional.
  • If any become shortened or tightened through overuse, injury, or weakness, they can pull on the surrounding structures and nerves and cause pain.

Fascia and the IT Band

Fascia is one of the soft tissue structures that can tighten and cause hip pain. Fascia is similar to tendons, but instead of being shaped like a cord, it’s formed as a thin sheet of tissue that surrounds skeletal muscle and permeates every structure in the body. According to John F. Barnes, PT, an international lecturer that has taught over 100,000 physicians and therapists about myofascial release, tightening of fascia can actually produce tensile pressure of up to thousands of pounds per square inch on pain sensitive structures. The largest formation of fascia in the body, the IT or Illiotibial band, runs from the top of the hip bone to the outside of the knee and is weaved among the largest muscle groups in the body:

  • The IT band can become tight and pull on surrounding muscles and tendons, and even alter biomechanical movement and change alignment.
  • Overuse or underdevelopment of muscles in legs, buttocks, or those in the hips like the Tensor Fascia Latae (TFL) can create points of hypersensitivity and pain called trigger points.

The DIY Hip Pain Treatment

Using a tennis ball as a massage tool is a simple, effective, and inexpensive method for finding hip pain relief. With the weight of your own body and some strategic maneuvering, the tennis ball will provide the exact amount of pressure you need to release trigger points and find relief:

  • Lie on your side, and place a tennis ball under your hip. The TFL muscle is a great structure to locate, as it’s often well developed in athletes and feels thick; when you bend the knee and lift the thigh, it’s directly behind the outside of the hip crease.
  • With the ball in place, slowly maneuver your hop over the ball. Be warned that this can be painful to start! Whenever you find a very sensitive point, try to relax and let the muscle ease over the pressure of the ball, breathe slowly and deeply.
  • Continue moving through the muscles and tissues in the hips, buttocks, and the outside of the thighs and repeat until you “clean” the entire hip area.

Need Hip Pain Relief?

At Advanced Wellness and Rehab, we take a comprehensive approach to treating your pain, and offer services including chiropractic care, physical therapy, therapeutic massage, and even Myokinesthetic treatments. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you achieve the active and pain-free lifestyle you need!