Martha Peterson found Clinical Somatic Education due to chronic pain from years of dancing and performing. Here’s what happened:

“As a former professional dancer, I have suffered several injuries that cause me to adapt my movement to compensate for my injuries. Over time I developed two labral tears in my right hip – the result of unequal weight bearing over the course of many years. What happened to me is a common occurrence.”

A labrum is a cartilage that surrounds the ball and socket joint in either the shoulder or the hip. It provides stability. Labral tears are more common than many of us realize and, as my orthopedist admitted to me, there’s not a lot of science about what to do about them. There is also a hesitancy about surgery when it comes to labral tears. Many professional athletes undergo labral tear surgery in order to get them back in the game, while other “normal” people are advised to “wait and see”. 

Sometimes labral tear surgery isn’t the magic pill many of us would like, while for some this kind of surgery, combined with post-operative Clinical Somatic Education and functional strengthening can be a winning combination.

What is at the root of hip pain – especially when it’s predominantly in one hip and isn’t the result of a genetic abnormality?

Over time, too much compression on joints can cause serious structural damage – like labral tears or worn out hip sockets. Even sitting too much at a computer or in a car can cause habituated muscle tension that simply won’t go away.

Here’s the missing link: those habitually contracted muscles that won’t relax and are compressing the hip joint are most likely in a state of Sensory Motor Amnesia (SMA for short).

This means that the muscles have learned to stay chronically contracted (in order to compensate for your accident or injury) and the brain (the control center of the muscles) has simply forgotten how to relax them. 

What is needed is a re-educating of the brain-to-muscle connection – which is what we teach in Clinical Somatic Education. Teach the brain to relax the underlying full body pattern of tight, compensating muscles, and the muscles around the hip joint will relax, muscle balance and strength will be restored, and your pain will “magically” disappear.

Here’s a movement you can try at home to relieve hip pain. Remember to go slowly and pay attention to what you feel. Roll onto your back and relax completely after doing one side, before turning over and exploring the second side.