top of page

What is hip pain?

Many patients attend the clinics fairly regularly describing pain and stiffness in and around the hip joints. Hip pain can cause discomfort, aches and pains which often cause difficulty undertaking everyday tasks. Suffering from hip pain can also limit your mobility and affect the way you stand and move, preventing you from living a full and able life. Hip pain describes pain in regions from the lower outer back and buttocks, as well as groin pain and pain in the thigh or knee. It can occur from a wide range of conditions and possible causes. Some of which can be treated by an osteopath. These include: 


  • Referred pain from the lower back or from sacro-iliac joints often causes pain in the upper, outside thigh.


  • Muscle tightness, strain or imbalance (often including the iliopsoas, gluts or piriformis muscles) can be as a result from an injury where the muscles or ligaments have been strained or overused.


  • Hip osteoarthritis (wear and tear) is the result of a narrowing of the space within the joint and damage to the cartilage. With hip osteoarthritis you may experience pain in the groin that goes down the legs towards the knee. Whilst osteopathic treatment cannot cure arthritis it can be successfully managed and help reduce the symptoms whilst preventing progression of the wear and tear by gently massaging the hip muscles because they are having to work harder than usual around the stiff joint, stretching the hip joint to improve the function and movement of the joint and releasing secondary problems in the back, knees or ankles. The aim of this is to reduce the load placed on the arthritic joint and in turn reduce the pain you are experiencing. 


  • Labral tear is caused by a tear in the type of cartilage that surrounds the socket of ball-and-socket joints. A degenerative tear is an injury that occurs as a result of repetitive use and activity. Degenerative labral tears are seen early on in the stages of hip arthritis whereas a traumatic hip labral tear is usually as a result of an acute injury. With labral tears, sudden, twisting movements cause immediate pain in the hip.


  • Trochanteric bursitis is inflammation and swelling of the bursa, a fluid filled sac found between the bones and muscles and tendons around a joint, normally as a result of too much friction. Usually, these sacs allow the muscles to glide over the bones to allow the joints to move as freely as possible. However, injury and repetitive movement such as running can irritate these sacs if too much pressure is placed upon them. The pain with bursitis is often worse when lying on the painful side and is generally worse in the mornings. Osteopathic treatment uses soft tissue techniques to reduce inflammation and pain around the area. Ice packs are also advised to reduce inflammation and exercises are recommended to continue with at home.


  • Pelvic girdle pain (PGP) affects up to 1 in 5 pregnant women to some degree. In most cases it resolves after giving birth which decreases the load on the pelvis. PGP is a term used to describe pain, discomfort and instability in any of the pelvic joints, the sacroiliac joints at the back and or pubic symphysis at the front. Osteopathic treatment uses gentle techniques to improve joint mobility and ease the supportive muscles making sure your left right and left side are balanced. Any tension or restriction in the rest of the body that may have been present before the pregnancy which may have predisposed you to pelvic pain will also be addressed.


  • Hip flexor tendinopathy or ‘snapping hip syndrome’ which is where hips ‘click’ with the feeling of a tendon ‘pinging’ causing pain due to the overuse and/or shortening of the hip flexor muscles. 

hip pain relief in London
WhatsApp Image 2020-05-24 at
Image by Jesper Aggergaard

How does osteopathy help? 

Osteopathy is a system of diagnosing and treating medical conditions that focus on the structure and the functioning of the whole body. It’s based on the idea that your overall health and wellbeing depend on your musclo-skeletal system (bones, muscles, ligaments and soft connective tissues) all working together coherently and inter-related rather than addressing a specific illness or symptom. Osteopaths are trained professionals who focus on detecting, treating and preventing health problems mainly by using joint movement, mobilisation, stretching and massage. 

What will happen during the appointment?

During your initial consultation we will take time to discuss your case history, how the pain is affecting your life, how long you’ve had it and what activities make it better or worse as well as conducting a thorough physical examination to identify the source and cause of your pain. From there we will talk you through our findings and devise an appropriate treatment plan. Treatment approaches soft tissue massage, articulation, stretching and gentle manipulation where appropriate. The treatment aims to increase mobility of the joints, relieve any muscle tension, balance tensions around the tissues, enhance blood supply to the tissues, alleviating pain and helping the body to heal naturally. Many people choose osteopathy because the treatment does not require medication and is considered a more natural approach than conventional medicine.

Part of the treatment can be to offer management strategies and advice to prevent your problems from returning. This may also involve teaching you exercises to continue with at home and using techniques such as hydrotherapy (hot and cold packs). Most hip pain caused by strains, sprains, problems with ligaments and muscle imbalances can be treated effectively with osteopathy. However, sometimes an osteopath may need to refer you to your GP for further tests or scans.

Please feel free to contact us to discuss your hip pain.

bottom of page