3 Ways Acupuncture Can Help Hip Pain

For those who have not had hip pain, it can be a real pain in the glutes.

Hip pain can feel, at times, debilitating. Chronic pain can affect our mood, energy, and quality of life.

Hip pain is caused by various factors, some of them overlapping or intermingling over time. Luckily, acupuncture has been shown to be effective in relieving hip pain. Everyone’s case is slightly different and the path to healing will be varied depending on how long the pain has been present along with other factors like, diet, age, stress, how they use their bodies daily, and so on.

We love treating hip pain.  It is one of the most respondent pain conditions to acupuncture treatment, we get results fast! 

How does Acupuncture Help with Hip Pain?
  • 1. Relaxes Tight Glute Muscles
    • A common cause of hip pain and tension is called Piriformis Syndrome. The piriformis muscle is a deep-set muscle within the hip. This muscle is actually very close to the sciatic nerve and can mimic sciatica-like symptoms such as pain radiating down the leg. Interestingly, in an unfortunate one third of people, the sciatic nerve actually runs through the muscle itself. In this case, when the muscle becomes tight, the sciatic nerve becomes compressed, and this is where the pain begins. Acupuncture is an effective treatment as it helps to reduce the tension within the muscle. When an acupuncture needle enters into a tight band of muscle, the muscle elicits a twitch response and the muscle “releases”. For acupuncture patients, this can help restore proper functioning of the muscle tissue and help to relieve pain and tension in the hip. Concurrently with acupuncture treatment, it is important to avoid behaviors such as prolonged sitting and to focus on stretching every day.
  • 2. Reduces Inflammation Near Hip Joint
    • Hip Bursitis is another common cause of hip pain. This is commonly seen in those who run or climb stairs as it is caused by repetitive micro-trauma or friction to the bursa of the greater trochanter within the hip. This may feel like pain when running or may be worse at night when sleeping on your side. Research has highlighted acupuncture’s ability to reduce inflammation locally and systemically. This is especially important in conditions like bursitis as it stems from inflammation.
  • 3. Increases Natural Pain Killers
    • Acupuncture is a wonderful choice for those who cannot take traditional pain relievers due to stomach issues or those who wish to take an integrative approach to reducing their pain. Research suggests that acupuncture treatment increases your own natural pain killers and also reduces pain sensations by hijacking the way your brain receives pain signals. This can be further enhanced by use of electroacupuncture. This treatment involves an electrical current that is passed between two needles using small clips attached to the tops of the needle handles, which is then attached to the electroacupuncture machine. Emerging research shows enhanced pain relief than just regular acupuncture alone. Additionally, electroacupuncture can elicit a continual twitch response from the muscle tissue which thereby reduces muscle tension and pain. Most patients describe this sensation as a relieving sensation, a massage-like sensation, and that it’s “really getting in there”.


Start Feeling Better

We want to find you the best care possible.  If needed, we also may suggest seeing a physical therapist to make sure we are addressing all aspects of healing including how you move your body. We may offer cupping, electro acupuncture, diet, or supplements to enhance your care. Ultimately, your acupuncturist wants to make sure they are doing all they can to get you feeling better and out of pain quickly.  Generally, a course of 4 to 6 acupuncture treatments can show remarkable improvement to hip pain.

If you are experiencing hip pain it is important to keep your inflammation low, stick to your treatment plan, and avoid behaviors that flare up their pain such as sitting or repetitive motion. This will give your body a chance to heal.

At home self-care is very important and should be adhered to between your acupuncture treatments. Your acupuncturist will find ways that you can help to reduce inflammation at home between treatments using a combination of supplements, food suggestions, or herbal formulas.

If you are interested in learning more about how acupuncture may help your hip pain we encourage you to set up a free consultation by giving us a call at 651-224-6678 in St. Paul, or 952-303-4115 in Edina, or you can also book online. 

Katie Steffensen LAc

Photo by Lucas Lenzi on Unsplash