What Causes Hip Pain and How To Help Relieve It

What Causes Hip Pain and How To Help Relieve It


For many, the potential for hip pain relief sounds like music to their ears. Our hips need to flex and move both when we sit and when we walk, so it makes sense that hip pain is a common issue. On the bright side, all hope is not lost when you start experiencing hip pain.

Since our hips are engaged whether we're sedentary or active, it is important that we do what we can to protect them. As a result, iwi life is here to give you some insight into some of the main causes of hip pain and what you can do to relieve it.

How Can You Tell If the Pain Is in Your Hip?

You may experience slight discomfort from time to time, but if you experience chronic or seriously debilitating pain, it may indicate an issue that needs to be addressed.

Hip pain is often mistaken for back pain. Hip and back pain can be very common, especially as we age. It is important to tell the difference as each type of pain may need a slightly different approach for relief.

Hip pain is often felt around the hip joint, which makes the source obvious, but you may also feel pain in your groin, thigh, or knee. In fact, groin pain is one of the most significant signs of a problem with the hips because of the location of the hip joint. If you experience any of the following, your hip may be the source of your pain:

  • Your pain becomes worse while standing or walking
  • Resting provides relief
  • You experience stiffness below your belt line
  • You limp while walking

Meanwhile, lower back pain is distinguishable when the pain resonates in the back or buttocks. You can also determine whether your spine may be the perpetrator if the pain shoots down your leg and when it worsens after sitting or bending.

Once you can determine that the pain is in your hips, you can use a targeted approach to relieving it. Unfortunately, it is not always clear why your hips are in pain. We recommend seeking the guidance of a qualified healthcare professional to asses the causes of your discomfort.

What Are Some Causes of Hip Pain?

Hip pain can result from many different causes, and pinpointing the issue can help you tailor your response to address the source of your issue. Some of the most common causes of hip pain include:

  • Osteoarthritis- This condition is probably the most common cause of hip pain. Osteoarthritis is a medical condition caused by the cartilage in your joints wearing down and providing less cushion for the movement between the bones.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis- This form of arthritis is an inflammatory disease where your immune system mistakenly begins to attack your own tissue, such as your joints.
  • Bursitis- Bursitis affects parts of your joints called the bursae. Bursae are fluid-filled sacs that provide cushion for the joints, as well as the muscles, tendons, and bones. This condition can cause stiffness and pain since it inflames the bursae. The hip is one of the most commonly affected areas.
  • Hip fracture- You can fracture your hip as the result of a fall or a strong impact. A fracture is not a complete break of the bone, but it is enough to cause pain and discomfort in the joint. If you experience hip pain after one of these situations, you should contact a medical professional to discuss the next steps.
  • Osteoporosis- Osteoporosis is a condition that causes the bones to lose mass more quickly than the body can make new bone tissue. Osteoporosis is more common as you age, and your body is less efficient at replacing the older bone cells with new, healthy bone tissue.
  • Injury- Injuries to your hip and the muscles or tendons around it can cause pain and discomfort and reduce your mobility.

Each of these causes of hip pain can be addressed in different ways, but there are some steps you can take to relieve hip pain in general. With most of the causes of hip pain, you should expect to find ways to manage the pain more than cure it.

How Can I Support My Hip Health?

What Causes Hip Pain and How To Help Relieve It

Relieving your hip pain is often easier said than done, but a commitment to the right routine can actually make a difference. Even with the variety of causes for hip pain, there are a few general practices that can benefit pretty much everyone. Although you may not see instant relief or complete reduction of your pain, you are likely to see at least some improvement by incorporating a few of the following practices. If you have an injury or medical condition, consult your doctor for advice before attempting to seek relief on your own.


Although it may sound counterintuitive, using your hips more may help relieve pain. When you exercise, you are able to strengthen the muscles around your hips. Strengthening the muscles around a joint helps to provide it with additional support and take away some of the stress of supporting your mobility.

You do not need to try complex or strenuous exercises in order to provide additional support for your hips. In fact, doing some simple exercises each day for an extended period of time can go a long way. Some great exercises for those with hip pain include

  • Side leg raises- Lie on your side on a mat, keep your top leg straight, and raise it straight up, bending at the hip.
  • Bridging- Lay on your back on the floor or a mat, plant your feet, and bring them about a foot away from your buttocks. Push into your feet, tighten your abdominal muscles and buttocks, and lift your hips up until your knees form a right angle
  • Standing leg raises- Stand with your back straight and hold on to either a chair or counter for support. Lift your leg straight out behind you, bending at the knee and raising your heel toward your buttocks until your knee makes a 90-degree angle. Straighten your leg and lower it back down, then repeat.

Try doing three sets of 10 for each of these activities daily. When following this routine, you may start to see some relief over time. Other activities, like swimming or biking, when done carefully, can also provide relief for your hips by engaging muscles like your quadriceps and hamstrings.

Try to avoid high-impact exercises, like running, which can be hard on your joints. Consult your doctor or a physical therapist to determine which exercises may be best for you.


Exercise is great for strengthening the muscles around your hips, while stretching helps to relieve some of the tension around them. Joint pain can hinder your mobility, so stretching is an excellent way to restore some of it.

If you are experiencing hip pain, it is important to stretch your quadriceps, the front of your hips, and your hamstrings. Consider stretching daily to keep your muscles fresh and mobile so that they can contribute to better mobility. Yoga can be a great way to incorporate daily stretching and strengthen your muscles at the same time.

Proper Nutrition

Many nutrients help support your joint function. Although improving your nutrition does not work overnight, staying committed to the process can provide some needed relief over time and support the overall health and function of your joints. Some of these nutrients include glucosamine, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Glucosamine is a compound found in cartilage, which may help cushion joints. Many glucosamine supplements are made from shellfish, but they can also be made in a lab without containing any fish.

Calcium is vital to bone mineralization, which plays an important role in joint health, especially as we age. Over time, the body has a harder time regenerating bone tissue. Since most bone is made up of calcium, a higher calcium intake can help support your body’s ability to regenerate bone. You can get calcium through dietary sources like fish, dairy, and leafy greens, or get extra support from supplements.


Talk to Your Doctor

What Causes Hip Pain and How To Help Relieve It

As highlighted earlier, there are many reasons that you may be experiencing hip pain. The above methods are great ways to help relieve hip pain and support joint health in general, but they do not always address the underlying causes. If your hip pain results from conditions like rheumatoid arthritis or osteoporosis, talk to your doctor to receive more targeted treatment.

Although there is no substitution for good medical treatment, exercise and proper nutrition are almost always great supplements. Your medical provider may even be able to give you a more accurate diagnosis of the issue, allowing you to enjoy even more effective home treatment.

Start Taking Steps To Support Your Hips

Your hips work hard to support you, so you should work hard to support them. With a routine that incorporates exercise, stretching, and proper nutrition, you can promote the overall health of your hips and other joints. Start simple by ensuring you get the nutrition you need to support your joints. 


Oh, My Aching Back — Or Is It My Hip? | Cleveland Clinic

Osteoporosis - Symptoms and causes | Mayo Clinic

Hip Conditioning Program | AAOS

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