It is fairly common to experience hip pain, whether due to pregnancy, a sports injury, aging, or an underlying condition. When the joint has difficulty gliding as intended, it can cause not only pain but a limited range of motion. Often, this presents as a feeling that your hip is “out of place” or misaligned and needs to be cracked or popped back into place. It may even make a cracking sound on its own as tendons glide across the joint. While you may be tempted to try and pop the hip into place on your own, it is important to seek medical care such as physiotherapy in order to address the underlying cause of the issue.
Your Hips and Their Alignment
One reason it can be hard to identify problems with the hips is that they are the largest, most complex joint in the body. Your pelvis contains two joints, each of which is the meeting point of three bones, along with some cartilage. Small disturbances to this system can lead to problems or the simple feeling of being “off”.
If you suspect your hip is misaligned, you can perform a simple standing test at home, in which you try and stand straight with no discomfort or vertical imbalance.
Should I Crack My Own Hip?
Sometimes a simple movement can cause your hip to pop, or a stretch can make it feel better, but this does not mean you should manage the problem on your own. Misalignments of the hip can be caused by a range of issues, from sleeping in an odd position to underlying serious conditions or injuries. Without a good understanding of what is happening in your body, trying to crack your own hip could worsen the problem or lead to more serious injuries.
Whether you are feeling hip pain or just the misalignment, it’s important to pick a good chiropractor or an orthopedic specialist. In addition to asking about your symptoms and medical history, they will be able to perform a physical examination of the spine and even diagnostic imaging in order to better understand the cause. This can also help them rule out serious conditions that may need to be addressed in addition to your misalignment.
Causes of Misaligned Hips
Often, a hip is “out of place” because of a simple problem like an odd sleep position or movement that was not natural. Many causes are behavioral and occur over time, such as poor posture during the day and sitting for extended periods of time. Other behavioral causes of hip misalignment are:
- Carrying a heavy bag on one shoulder, causing uneven pressure on the pelvis
- Wearing shoes that lack support
- Lifting incorrectly
- Walking, running, or other repetitive motions that put stress on the joint
- Crossing your legs
- Standing and leaning on one leg
If these factors are not the cause, there may be an acute injury, especially if you play sports or participate in other physical activity. A joint dislocation, pinched nerve, bursitis, or hip labral tear can all be acute causes of these problems.
Doctors will also look for underlying conditions that impact the hips, like arthritis or congenital disorders.
Professional Treatment for a Misaligned Hip
Once a specialist has been able to determine the cause of your misalignment, they can develop a plan to work towards alignment. This is usually primarily made up of chiropractic adjustments, in which your spine and hips are manually moved in order to encourage alignment, along with physiotherapy. In physiotherapy, a series of stretches and exercises will be used to strengthen the muscles supporting the hips and increase mobility.
While it is important not to strain an injured hip, physiotherapy will work specifically around your injury to maintain strength and encourage recovery. The practice can also be designed to address behavioral problems that may have led to the issue and build better habits. While much of physiotherapy will be performed in-office with a physiotherapist, it is often accompanied by stretches that can be done at home during recovery, as well as methods for prevention in the future.
If symptoms persist, more invasive treatment could be recommended. Corticosteroid injections are often used to reduce inflammation and pain, especially if arthritis or lower back problems are suspected. More serious cases and conditions may necessitate surgery, though this is rare.
At AICA Lithia Springs, we have specialists in everything from diagnostic imaging to physiotherapy. These teams work together to determine the cause of your pain or discomfort and develop a personalized treatment plan just for you. Don’t hesitate to get started and call our office today!