Guide to an Effective Hip Flexor Massage
Hip flexor massage is a great way to relieve the pain and stiffness that can accompany tightness of such a large muscle group, which wraps around the hips. However, if left untreated and simply "deal with" day-to-day by tolerating the discomfort and attempting to work through it, hip flexor tightness can lead to more serious issues - especially as you get older. While massaging your hip flexors yourself may be possible on occasion or in between regular visits to your health professional, there is no better or more efficient way to relieve the pain associated with these muscles than by having them professionally and regularly worked on by an expert. If you're new to having this type of treatment done (or otherwise unfamiliar with what it's all about), have a detailed outline of what a hip massage entails:
How Massage Helps Tight Hips
As humans, we're comfy creatures. Once we get too comfortable on the couch, or in our office chairs, our hip flexors can get stiff, and it often throws the rest of our body out of alignment. This is a problem, because it will stress other parts of our body to try and compensate for the misalignment that we've created by being too relaxed.
It's like when you have a day where you're off your game sitting at your desk - your body compensates by giving you back pain and hunger pangs later that night when you go to bed. You could be strong as nails, but if there's one thing I've learned from growing up in a runner household – many people have suffered injuries simply through not warming up before they start their days!
Because the hamstrings attach to the pelvis, when they are tight or sore, there is often a shift of the pelvis. This can lead to weakness and misalignment in other parts, such as the low back, due to some attachment points being connected. When this misalignment occurs, it can create unnecessary strains on your spine.
The body tries its best to compensate for these weaknesses by creating new muscular tension and pain. We recommend you live an active lifestyle, which will reduce friction and help combat pain early on, so that massage therapy treatments won’t be as heavily relied upon later on.
3 Techniques for an At-Home Massage
Self-massage is a great option for addressing any tight spots you’re feeling in your hip flexors. Not only is it low cost, but you can also decide how much pressure and what spot is right to apply pressure to. You also have the advantage of squeezing in massage treatment when you have a spare moment during your busy day. This go-to solution will help soothe sore muscles without leaving too much a dent in your wallet. Try these specific techniques to address tight hip flexors with massage.
1. Myofascial Release
Myofascial tissues connect all the muscles of our trunk into a stable system that distributes force throughout the body. Apply pressure deep into your myofascial system through the hips, low back, and upper body to help decrease stiffness throughout these areas, as well as several others that connect along the pelvis and abdomen. Alternate between moderate pressure with slow movements from sore spots in any of these zones, such as along your thigh muscles or abs. The most important part is to relax while you apply pressure here, sending calming energy to any areas you may be having trouble with to heal them.
2. Deep Tissue Massage
Deep tissue massage begins by identifying the underlying cause of muscle pain, then slowly kneading out the sore spots until you feel relief. When massaging your quad and psoas, try using strong pressure downward along these large muscles. Your quadratus lumborum, iliotibial band, piriformis, gluteus minimus and other deep membranes will release tension as you work down these muscles. Slow massage of each of these areas is key to relax into your tension and allow it to melt away. Get a professional deep tissue massage once a week, because after hard workouts and long hours at work, they help relieve stress and soothe aches.
3. Trigger Point Therapy
Trigger point massage improves muscle health and reduces stiffness when applied to a specific muscle knot or trouble spot.
Simply use your fingertips to apply pressure against sore muscle and hold. The pressure should be strong enough for you to feel, but not so hurtful. Hold for about one minute, the longer the better. You should notice a gradual decrease in discomfort with time.
If you’re feeling unsure or want to leave your pain relief to an expert, and you haven’t found a chiropractor yet, consider seeing either a massage therapist or physical therapist. They are specifically trained in human anatomy and therapeutic massage techniques to provide you with the most relief possible. One way they can offer additional support for managing stress caused by muscle tension is to perform different types of trigger point therapy, such as acupressure (using finger pressure), myofascial release, or deep tissue massage. The difference between these methods is based on where the treatment is delivered. You can count on professional expertise in the following areas:
- Sports massage
- Heat therapy
- Full body massage
Maximizing Your Massage Experience
Follow these simple tips to feel your best after a self-massage or professional massage:
To further promote relaxation, you can try stretching the joint with yoga and pain relieving with herbal heating pad or cold therapy pack before and/or after getting a massage.
You should rest easily and deeply breathe during the entire massage process, so as not to distract your body from properly relaxing!
If you’re tensing up, reduce your pressure or adjust your position and try again.
There are many massage therapists in the area. If you're seriously considering improving your health by getting massages, I would recommend contacting an area therapist who can provide a complete package of care, including evaluations and follow-up therapy.
Massage with Care
Getting a massage is ideal for hip flexor issues if you’re in pain and cannot perform daily activities without experiencing significant discomfort. A licensed massage therapist can provide a series of therapeutic stretches and movements that will help secure your muscles, relax your body, and relieve your symptoms.
Shouldn't be painful – Massage isn't supposed to hurt at all! Make sure you ask your potential masseur or masseuse how they plan to heal your injury, as well as how they focus their efforts. Just because they're good at massaging doesn't mean they're necessarily an expert when it comes to back injuries. It's important that you know what the root cause of your injury is before any treatment begins!
One last thing – There's absolutely no shame in asking someone if something hurts during this process. This only keeps things professional, so you don't feel judged for being honest about the pain levels you might experience during any given stretch or movement!
DONT FORGET that if you don't notice a change in symptoms after 2 weeks (your hip flexors) or if your pain progresses, consult your doctor or physical therapist for further recommendations ̶ or to rule out other issues!