Hip pain or sciatica?

Understanding the source of pain is the key to recovery.

Why this matters:

When clients tell me they have pain in their hip, I often ask a follow up question in regards to location. “Is it on the outside of your butt or your groin?” The response will help us determine the source of pain and the intervention to address it.

Outer butt pain is often due to low back issues and possible irritation of the same nerve roots that make up the sciatic nerve. The best way to address this is to focus on the low back positions that reduce the pain (forward/backward bending, side/side bending, or rotation). Another component to look at is how the pelvis (the bones your bladder sits in between) is aligned when walking. They should rotate and have a little sway, but not enough that you are hip checking the person next to you. We need to have a stable pelvis to reduce the stress on that outer hip.

Groin pain is a different story. Groin pain is often due to a higher lumbar nerve root T12 and L1, an anteriorly rotated pelvis, hip arthritis, or a combination of them all. So not only are we looking at what low back positions can we achieve to improve the pain, but also look at how the hip joint is actually moving.

Action steps:Hip pathologies and low back issues all follow a very similar treatment pattern. Focus on what feels good, and avoid what feels bad. A couple helpful tips for hip joint limitations include rolling out the quadriceps, 90/90 breathing, and a deep lunge stretch. Remember, when you’re dealing with pain, everything you do should be focusing on reducing that pain. Whenever you do an exercise, ask yourself “how does this serve me?”


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