When Your Hip Pain Is Not A Muscle Strain

That Pain Is Not A Muscle Strain

I put this topic on my ‘To Write’ list a few months ago when one of you posted something on your Facebook page about ‘straining both hamstrings during dynamic warm up’.

I knew you well enough to know that there was nothing crazy going on in the warm up, so I knew there was no way anyone should strain anything doing a proper warm up.  So I asked a few questions – – like I said it was a few months ago, so I cannot remember the exact answers, but it was enough to tell me that a strain is very, very unlikely.

I have seen it time and time again and here is how it presents itself…

  • There is no real mechanism of injury (sleeping funny will not give you a muscle strain, nor will picking up a t-shirt off the floor)
  • Often it is hip pain or pain in the hip that radiates down into the leg
  • It may come and go with different positions

This is not a muscle strain.

A muscle strain will have a mechanism of injury; the pain will not radiate or shoot like electricity.  Now if you have really pulled a muscle it will hurt like crazy, so I am not saying it won’t be painful, but it won’t shoot zappers down your leg.

If you are getting zappers or there was no mechanism of injury, I would be very, very suspicious that something is going on at your back or with your pelvis.

I know your back doesn’t hurt…

It doesn’t matter if your back is not the site of pain.  The nerves to your lower extremity exit the spinal column through openings between the vertebrae and if your back gets a little wonky, these nerves can get pinches or entrapped and that can be what is sending the pain signal to your hip or shooting down your leg.

So what to do about it…

Not to sound like a broken record here, but rest may make it ‘feel’ better, but very likely will not address the underlying issue of your wonky back or pelvic alignment, so your very best bet is to get in to see a good sport physiotherapist who can evaluate your hip, but also your back.

Note: if you go to any practitioner with hip pain that did not have a definite mechanism of injury (like,  ‘I went for a kick save and felt my groin tear’) and they only spend time looking at your back…find a new practitioner.

The best physios (in Canada at least) have done continuing education that allows them to use techniques like muscle energy and in some cases specific manipulations to restore your alignment if necessary.  They should also be giving you exercises to help your body maintain that alignment.

Hope that helps – have an awesome day!

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