Many medical professionals advocate strengthening to reverse hip pain. This doesn’t make sense, and here’s why:

If you have a muscular pattern of compensation that you’re not aware of (which Clinical Somatic Education refers to as Sensory Motor Amnesia) and you strengthen the muscles of that compensatory pattern, you’re merely making that dysfunctional action pattern even stronger. 

You will literally “strengthen your pain”. If muscles are contracted and causing pain, they need to be relaxed and released, symmetry needs to be restored, and then strength training to maintain that muscular balance will be beneficial.

Here’s the first step in relaxing and releasing muscle tension: 

Stand facing a full length mirror. Close your eyes and sense how you’re standing. Do what comes naturally. Now open your eyes and notice:

  1. Are you standing with your weight centered over both feet or are you tilting slightly to one side?
  2. Are your shoulders level, or is one shoulder slightly lower than the other?
  3. Put your hands at your waist, on top of your hip bones, and see whether or not one hip is sitting higher up than the other (look back at the client photo in this post).
  4. Now feel the waist muscles on both sides. Is one side of your waist tighter than the other? If so, is it on the same side as your sore hip?

If you are “out of kilter”, then the core muscles that attach to your hips are working harder on one side than the other. This can cause hip pain. The good news is that it can be reversed through patient sensorimotor retraining of the muscles that have learned to stay tight and “frozen.”

Click here for a video version of the movement described above.