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Causes of Hip Pain
       Hip pain disorders are rapidly becoming as commonplace as low back disorders. No longer is hip replacement surgery being employed in just the elderly, as more and more people in middle adulthood are having this procedure done. Unfortunately, many of these procedures could be eliminated or postponed if the modern medical establishment recognized the role that trigger points play in hip pain and dysfunction syndromes. Many hip pain disorders occur as unnecessary secondary conditions to mismanaged low back pain disorders. Damage to the hip joint itself is a condition that frequently develops from chronic trigger points in the muscle groups of the hip region.

The Muscles and Trigger Points that Cause Hip Pain
      There are three muscle groups that can contain trigger points that refer pain to the hip joint, though trigger points in a few other muscles groups may also impair the proper functioning of the hip joint, but not refer pain directly. The three muscles typically involved are:
  • The Quadratus Lumborum
  • The Tensor Fascia Latae
  • The Piriformis
       The Quadratus Lumborum muscle group is composed of several small muscles that are located deep within the lower back muscle mass. It attaches to the lowest rib, at several spots along the lower (lumbar) spine, and along the pelvic rim. The Quadratus Lumborum contracts to help stabilize the spine, and to flex the trunk to either side. This muscle group can contain up to four trigger points that refer pain to the low back, groin, hip, and gluteal regions. The trigger point that is located right above the rim of the pelvic bone is responsible for directly referring pain to the hip joint.
       A person with active Quadratus Lumborum trigger points will typically experience severe pain when their trunk is in an upright position. Often they will instinctively brace and support their upper body with their arms to avoid this severe pain. Referred pain from Quadratus Lumborum trigger points may also activate other trigger points in muscle groups that function to move the hip joint, causing hip pain dysfunction.
        Learn more about the Quadratus Lumborum trigger points with this article from Dr. Perry >
The Quadratus Lumborum Trigger Points: Masters of Low Back Pain
     The Tensor Fascia Latae (TFL) is a small muscle located above and slightly in front of the hip joint. It attaches to the front outside rim of the pelvis, and travels downward to join into a long, flat tendon sheet called the iliotibial tract. The iliotibial tract runs down the outside of the thigh and attaches above and below the knee joint. This muscle contracts to help stabilize the pelvis and knee during walking. The trigger point in this muscle refers pain and soreness (tenderness to the touch) to the hip joint and sometimes down the thigh to the knee. This pain and tenderness usually prevents the person from sleeping on that side. Many people with TFL trigger points are mistakenly diagnosed as having trochanteric bursitis.
      The Piriformis muscle is a short, small muscle that is located deep in the buttock region. It functions to rotate the thigh, and helps to stabilize the hip joint during walking. This muscle lies next to a major nerve (the Sciatic Nerve) and blood vessels. Trigger points in this muscle can cause it to become tense enough for it to entrap or compress the nerve and blood vessel, producing systems such as pain, numbness, and swelling that travel down the leg from the gluteal region. When this entrapment occurs, it is termed Piriformis Syndrome. Additionally, the Piriformis trigger points may refer pain to the buttock and hip joint regions. The outside trigger point is primarily responsible for referring pain and tenderness to the hip joint.
Important: The following content is provided for information purposes only. A proper diagnosis of any condition requires a physical examination by a licensed doctor.