woman stretching to help with hip flexor pain
Health and Wellness

Chronic Hip Flexor Pain Treatment to Find Relief

May 18, 2023

Within an incredible design of nature called the “human body” lies a group of muscles that come together to connect the pelvis, lower back, hips, groin, and thighs. These muscles are what you call hip flexors. They spread across the front of your upper thigh and work in sync to unlock flexion – the tightening and movement of muscles that keep your hip joints flexible. In a healthy body, these muscles extend and press together to stabilize the spine and ensure the body moves with ease. 

Any issue (from mild to severe) within your hip flexor system can cause hip flexor pain, which is often what causes lower back pain you might experience. We discuss what causes pain in the hip flexor and what a hip flexor pain treatment looks like below! 

What Causes Hip Flexor Pain?

Pain in the hip flexor manifests when you overuse your muscles and tendons or when you pull them beyond their limits by performing sudden movements like sprinting or kicking. On the other hand, tightness in hip flexors occurs when you either avoid warming your body up before a workout or fail to include exercise in your routine. 

Incidents of trauma, such as a car accident or a fall, are other causes of hip flexor pain. Trauma causes a strain – a type of tear that emerges in the muscle tissue – which triggers pain and injury when your muscles tense up to brace for impact. Cyclists, runners, and martial artists often deal with strains due to constant kicking movements that put their quadriceps to work. 

Finally, a sedentary lifestyle (working at your desk for long hours, for instance) leads to back pain from sitting and poor posture, a common factor that contributes to hip flexor pain. From mild aches to sharp pains, a hip flexor health hiccup carries symptoms such as:

  • Hip flexor pain when walking or running
  • Cramping and muscle spasms
  • Tenderness in thighs, groin, and hips
  • An increase in pain when you bend your leg toward your chest
  • Pain when stretching hip or thigh muscles
  • Muscle tightness after resting
  • Bruising or swelling in the area with the pain 

Hip Flexor Pain Treatment At Home

Can hip flexor pain treatment be performed at home? The answer is a massive “yes.” Here’s your quick guide to self-treating the pain. Remember, always talk to your doctor before starting an at-home therapy regimen to determine if it is right for you.

Deploy the RICE Method

The RICE – Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation – hip flexor pain treatment method is often the simplest way to ease muscle tension and alleviate the pain in hip flexor.

  • R: Rest as much as you can to prevent any further muscle damage.
  • I: “Ice the pain away” by applying an ice pack on the pain site several times a day.
  • C: Compression is great for your hip flexor, and you can use braces or elastic banding to achieve your desired level of compression. It reduces swelling and helps to stabilize the leg.
  • E: Elevate your hips above your heart to keep swelling to a minimum and drain excess fluid that may be causing the swelling. 

Perform Hip Flexor Stretches

A 2021 study found that hip flexor stretches not only increase the range of motion but also reduce tightness around the muscles. They help lower hip flexor pain and keep future injuries at bay. Two of the best stretches to aid your hip flexor pain treatment include:

  • Seated Butterfly: This pose requires you to sit upright while keeping your legs folded in front of you. Start with stabilizing your spine by “bracing” your abdominal muscles. Next, exhale gently and slowly bend forward towards your hips. Make sure you maintain a flat back posture and keep your head aligned with your spine. Finally, continue to bend forward only to the point of tension during the stretch. Return to your previous position to relax for a few seconds and repeat the process up to four times a day.
  • Pigeon Pose: For this pose, you can start with a downward-dog position. Let your left knee settle on the outside of your left elbow. Remember to let your shin slowly oscillate towards your right hip. Next, slowly place your right knee on the ground behind you. Lean forward until you feel the thin muscle in the buttocks that allows your hip to rotate begin to stretch. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds, then switch sides. 

Other low-impact stretches, such as leg raise and lunges, can help extend the muscles in the hip flexors and release tension. To avoid further damage, make sure you put on your shoes and take a quick little stroll to warm those muscles up first! 

Massage the Hip Flexor Pain Away

The benefits of massage are numerous, including targeting localized pain and relieving strained muscles. When it comes to treating hip flexor pain, three kinds of massages can be highly effective.

  • Deep-Tissue Massage: Deep-tissue massage applies a combination of light to moderate pressure on flexor muscles, including the quad and psoas muscles. The sore spots are detected, and pressure is applied to the problem areas. Deep tissue massage can either be performed by a therapist or with a massage chair.
  • Myofascial Release Massage: This technique deploys mild to moderate pressure to lower tension and stiffness throughout the lower back and hips. It also relieves pain in the abdomen and pelvis areas.
  • Trigger-Point Massage: Here, your therapist infuses continuous pressure to specific muscular knots to both reduce stiffness and boost muscle health.

Additional Treatments for Chronic Pain in Hip Flexor

When your chronic hip flexor pain refuses to go away, it might be your cue to see a doctor. Whether you have a severe tear, a strain, or an issue with your bones, tendons, and ligaments – a specialist will help identify the root cause of your chronic hip flexor pain. 

Based on your condition, they may either suggest a physical therapy program for pain alleviation or recommend a physical therapist to help you strengthen your muscles, increase your range of movement, and boost hip flexibility. 

How to Prevent Hip Flexor Pain from Getting Worse

Nobody enjoys frequent visits by hip flexor pain, and maintaining healthy flexors demands a little bit of work. If you’re leading a sedentary lifestyle, it’s time to break out your workout clothes and make exercise a part of your day. Exercise will not only prevent flexor muscles from becoming tense, but it’ll also shield you from hip flexor injuries. If you often face tense hips, exercising to strengthen the muscle can make a massive difference. 

Frequent or chronic pain in hip flexor demands additional and consistent treatment. Given our fast-paced lifestyle, most of us can’t typically catch up with the frequent appointments and costs associated with massage and physical therapy. This is where the benefits of investing in a massage chair vs. human massage become a necessity. 

With several customizable and professional massages available, the power of a massage chair doesn’t end at healing one specific health problem but extends to the entire body. Compare massage chairs to find the best fit for you.
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