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How Can a Chiropractor Help Relieve Hip Pain?

Do you suffer from hip pain while running? Do you feel hip pain when you’re sitting, walking or sleeping at night? Wonder if a chiropractor can help?

I can’t emphasize this enough:

Hip pain is a common complaint, especially in today’s technological age of sitting 10 to 12 hours a day. Most people think of the hip as located on the side of the leg, but classic hip pain typically presents as a pinch in the groin near the bikini line and causes pain to radiate around the side of the hip and into the lateral gluteal muscle. (In other words, the butt.)

The hip bone is one of the body’s largest weight-bearing joints, a “ball-and-socket” joint that includes the top of the femur, which is the thigh bone, and the acetabulum, the socket located on the pelvis that the femur fits into. Strong tissue called ligaments connect the ball to the socket to stabilize the hip. A thin membrane called synovium lines the area to lubricate the joint, and fluid-filled sacs called bursae provide cushioning. Muscles surround the hip to allow for movement and nerves and blood vessels run through the hip.

Hip pain can be caused by activity, such as running or lifting weights, which can lead to pinched nerves or strain in a tendon or sprain of a ligament. Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) can also be a cause of hip pain. In this condition, extra bone – called bone spurs – grows along the hip joint, typically along the upper edge of the acetabulum, creating an irregular shape that leads to friction, pain and limited movement, usually external and internal rotation of the hip joint.

runner hip stretch

Hip pain can also be caused by a labral tear, which is a tear in the ring of cartilage in the hip joint socket. FA Impingement almost always occurs with labral tears. Piriformis syndrome, an common neuromuscular issue can cause compression of the sciatic nerve and can lead to hip pain as well.

That’s not all.

Sometimes, hip pain occurs simply from sitting, since hip flexors get tight and contracted from prolonged sitting. The hip becomes compressed and instability in the hip joint leads to grinding. Nowadays, so many of us sit upwards of 12 hours a day, often with poor posture that causes tension and pain in the joints. As a result, we overcompensate for injury or improper form, causing strain on other muscles.

As you can see, there’s a lot that can go wrong with the hip! But with chiropractic, there’s a lot that can go right, too.

How a Chiropractor Assesses Hip Pain

At Urban Wellness Clinic, we use Neurokinetic Therapy® (NKT) to uncover the root cause of your hip pain. Certain muscles, usually the hip adductors, hip flexors, and hip rotators will get short and tight and take the femoral head and compress it up into the socket.

The best part?

In NKT, we use hands-on muscle testing to pinpoint the source of the problem, what muscle is overactive, and what muscle is inhibited, to then determine the best treatment and correct form so that you can move pain-free. The muscles that get weak with hip compression usually include gluteus maximus and the same side quadratus lumborum or QL for short.

NKT is a neurological physical therapy that helps your brain reconnect with your neurological-muscular signals. It helps release patterns of pain and dysfunction that addresses when an injury causes some muscles to become inhibited, forcing other muscles to overcompensate.

That’s because hip pain and other types of injuries get stored in an area of the brain responsible for learned motor control and can’t be released with simple massage. Though you may feel better for a little while after a massage, the brain remembers that the hip or other area is weak and vulnerable, and signals to surrounding muscles to compensate for the weak ones.

At Urban Wellness Clinic, we don’t just look at the area where the hip pain is occurring, instead checking you head to toe. We look at old injuries, such as an ankle sprain or knee injury, that can cause the hip to lock down. Instability in weak joints can make the hip compensate for them, leading to hip pain.

Therapies for Hip Pain Relief—without Surgery 

Most people will opt to jump straight to surgery for hip pain relief, but we find that performing a hip scour test lets us know if surgery is necessary or if rehabilitation can help. In this test, you lie flat on a table while the therapist flexes and adducts the hip, presses down on the thigh and pushing the leg into the hip joint. If resistance is felt, it could mean there is an adhesion, a restriction or a labral tear. This is important, because a labral tear can often be missed on an MRI, especially if the MRI is not ordered with contrast.

If it’s determined that surgery is not necessary at this time, we use NKT to help rehabilitate the hip. We apply light pressure that you resist, helping to evaluate a muscle’s strength or weakness. NKT helps retain the muscles to release overcompensation patterns. We also use ART to release compressed nerves that cause pain to radiate into the hip. We perform ART on the iliacus, the uppermost part of your pelvis. The iliacus muscle flexes and externally rotates the thigh bone. Together with the psoas muscle, they are the strongest hip flexors in the body.

We strengthen the muscles around the hip joint. Typically, this includes the gluteus maximus, the gluteus minimus and the deep intrinsic core muscles which provide stability.

Hip Pain Stretches


If you’re looking for hip pain relief, consider chiropractic care. Contact us today about the NKT or ART for hip pain relief. Call us at 212-355-0445 or email us at We’re here for you!


Best in health,

Dr. Emily Kiberd