Hip Pain

Hip pain is one of the top ten complaint that bring patients to our office.  Many things can cause hip pain, and knowing the exact location and nature of the pain can give clues to what could be causing it.  For instance, pain coming from the joint, itself, is often felt in the groin.  On the other hand, pain on the “hip bone” itself, or around the buttock region is more likely to be coming from the soft tissue surrounding the hip or from the low back.  Let’s take a look at a few of the ways that problems with your soft tissue could be causing your hip pain.


Hip bursitis, also known as trochanteric bursitis or greater trochanteric pain syndrome, is a condition where the bursae around your hip bone, called the greater trochanter, get irritated.  A bursa is a little water sack that sits between the tendons and / or the bone.  These little water sacks both act as padding and lubricate the tendons of your gluteal muscles as they slide over each other and over the bone.  

Sometimes, a bursa can get irritated and inflamed.  This can happen from acute injuries, such as sudden twists or from in impact, like a fall or getting tackled in football.  More often, it is a chronic overuse injury.  It can also happen due to long standing tightness in the gluteal muscles or trigger points. 

Symptoms of hip bursitis include pain with walking or squatting, pain when standing up out of a chair, extreme local tenderness over your hip bone.  It usually hurts to press on or near the point of your hip bone.  The pain may be worse at night and keep you from sleeping, especially on the side where the bursitis is.

If this sounds like you, I have some good news.  Most of the time, hip bursitis responds well to conservative treatments, like acupuncture and dry needling.  Advanced electro-acupuncture techniques can help reduce inflammation around the bursae and the tendons where your gluteal muscles attach to the bone.  Dry needling helps to relax tight muscles, release trigger points and address other changes to the muscles that attach to your hip.

Trigger Points

So what are trigger points?  Trigger points are spots in tight bands in your muscles. Normally, they shouldn’t be there. Injury, infections, stress, over training and about a hundred other things can cause them to form. They’re different from regular tight muscles. Trigger points are basically little inflammation factories. What’s even weirder, trigger points can cause pain and other symptoms in totally different parts of the body – away from where the real problem is. This is called referred pain.

There are a few ways that trigger points can cause hip pain.  For one, they are a constant source of tension on the tendons that attach your glutes to your hip bone.  Over time, this can irritate both the tendon and the underlying bursa.  What’s more, trigger points in your glutes, your thigh muscles, and your low back muscles can all refer pain to the area around your hip bone.  Many of the symptoms are the same as bursitis.  However, there are some small differences. 

For one, if your pain is coming from trigger points alone, the area around your greater trochanter (hip bone) will probably not be nearly as tender.  If the trigger point is in one of your glutes, sleeping on the opposite side will often still be painful.  This is because laying on your side stretches the muscle that has the trigger point, causing pain.  If this is you, you’ll probably find that you need to sleep with a pillow between your knees at night.

The good news is that Dry Needling Acupuncture quickly relaxes these tight bands. Even more importantly, it has been shown to quickly reduce the production of inflammatory chemicals. This relieves pain and restores function.