Monday, January 9, 2012

Hip Hurt? Trouble Crossing Your Leg?

Lately I have seen a spate of hip injuries. The patient usually comes in complaining of pain the starts on the upper part of the leg but on the side. The pain is usually moderate to severe and the patient can’t sit cross-legged. The pain usually extends from this point down the side of the leg, almost to the knee.
This pain usually does not inhibit the climbing of stairs or getting out of a chair.

In the cases I have seen the patients have been to other healthcare providers and have found no relief. They have taken pain medication and have found no relief.

So what causes this pain and how can I as an acupuncturist and massage therapist help?

The pain usually comes from a tight muscle called Tensor Fascia Lata or TFL. This muscle is situated on the side of one’s torso just above the hip bone (the bulge at the side and top of your leg). The pain radiates down to the knee because of a band of tissue called the Ilio Tibial Band or ITB that is attached to the TFL. When the TFL is tight it pulls towards its center thereby pulling up on the ITB and also pulls on the glute muscles. Usually there is no pain in the proverbial “butt” because those muscles are not used except in certain movements. Don’t do those motions and there is no pain. On the other hand the TFL is a postural muscle and is used all the time to keep you hip & knee in place. Hence it will be the source of the majority of your pain.

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