Myth #1 – Your hip pain is due to arthritis
Sometimes hip pain is due to severe arthritis, very often it’s not.
When you go to a doctor with hip pain their job is to give you a diagnosis because this is what most people want. Unless you are given an X-ray, which proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that you have arthritis, the doctor has no way of knowing whether your pain is due to arthritis. I was once told that, due to my age, I had arthritis. The doctor, despite not bothering to take an X-ray, insisted he was right when, in fact, he wasn’t. Arthritis is often a “garbage pail diagnosis” – in reality, your hip pain is often caused by tight muscles that are in a state of Sensory Motor Amnesia.
And sometimes you can have arthritis but be moving well with no pain.
Myth #2 – Your hips are weak
It’s time to retire this myth in particular. Those coming to me with hip pain have very little movement in the center of their bodies. Their hips don’t sway, and their gait isn’t smooth and fluid. The problem is not weakness, but tightness.
When muscles learn to stay tight (due to stress reflexes), they lose their full function. They can no longer contract and release fully as a healthy muscle should. Muscles in a state of Sensory Motor Amnesia (SMA) have lost their physiological ability to release. They are far from weak; they are, in fact, so strong that they cannot relax!
Doctors frequently pescribe physical therapy due to “weak muscles.” Strengthening muscles that are in a state of SMA only makes them worse, as I discuss in this post about Tiger Woods’ back injury.
Myth #3 – Surgery is the only option for hip pain
The medical profession looks at tight hip joints and sees a structural problem. Somatic Educators look at tight hip joints and see a functional problem. Doctors don’t look at movement and patterns; they focus on separate body parts in an effort to “fix” them. Somatic Educators look for what’s not moving when someone walks, and teaches them to improve sensory motor control of the muscles in order to create more release in the center. This can create space and more movement in the joints. Most one-sided hip pain is due to an habituated Trauma Reflex; this reflex also causes an imbalance in the somatic center, altering one’s gait and ability to maintain proper balance.
Long term muscle function can result in structural damage, however. Labral tears, osteoarthritis can result from decades of muscle dysfunction. Wouldn’t it be a good idea to learn to take back control of your muscle function and coordination, your balance and your ability to sense and move yourself before jumping into surgery?
In this video I share a wonderful variation of the Side Bend, one of the most important and helpful Somatic Exercises you could ever do for hip joint pain. Try it and see how it feels.
Click here for my Pain-Free Legs and Hips DVD, which has plenty of helpful Somatic Exercises to help you release, relax and control the muscles that move your legs and hips.