Are your hips causing your neck pain?

Shakira may have misled us all with “Hips don’t lie” because a hip problem can disguise itself as knee, leg, or shoulder pain.

An imbalance of the hips may cause neck and back pain. But how does that happen? When your hips, lumbar spine (lower back) and pelvis are out of alignment, your head, neck, and shoulders compensate for the problem. Think about it – every single joint is connected to every other joint. If one is out of whack, it affects the whole chain of joints.

A joint connection

Your joints allow movement and flexibility, and support all the bones in your body; preventing you from being unstable. The hip is the body’s second largest weight-bearing bone after the knee. It’s a ball-and-socket type joint where the thigh bone (femur) meets with the three bones that make the pelvis. The thigh bone has a ball-shaped knob on the end that fits into a socket formed in the hipbone. If the movement of this joint is a bit stuck, or perhaps you had an old injury in the hip – this can affect any joint up or down.

At times, pain and tightness on one side of the neck could be related to the hip. This is because of the difference in leg length or the weakness of muscle in the hip, which may eventually cause the pelvis to tilt and compromise your neck in the process. Your hips are the usual suspects because the hip joint is near the spine.

Other causes of pain

  • Rheumatoid arthritis can cause stiffness and pain in your joints.
  • Joint pain may also be caused by bursitis (an inflammation of the fluid-filled pads (bursae) that act as cushions at the joints).
  • Injury and bone fractures can also cause hip pain.
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Exercises and treatment

Stretching can keep any pain at bay when done correctly. You can treat neck and shoulder pain with anti-inflammatory medication. Depending on the source of pain, muscle relaxers may be helpful too. When your spine and nerve roots are involved, it will be best to check with your doctor.

Neck relief

  • Do 10 shoulder rolls backward and down. Follow with neck rolls where you tilt your head slightly to the right and slowly forward to the chest and to the left (making a U shape). Repeat about five times. Avoid rolling your head to the back as this just increases pressure on your spine.
  • Bring your ear to your shoulder 10 times on each side.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together 10 times.
  • Sit up straight and push your head backwards into your car head or chair, rest and hold for 30 seconds.

Un-hunch your shoulders

An ice pack can ease inflammation by slowing down blood flow to the painful area. You can also gently squeeze the shoulder muscles and apply pressure, relieve pain, and encourage blood flow. Do massage therapy daily, until the pain subsides. If your shoulder pain is more severe, your doctor may recommend or prescribe anti-inflammatory medication or painkillers.

Getting to the root of the problem

The best way to address the problem, is by fixing the cause. To figure out if your neck-pain is coming from your hip, or somewhere else, visit a biokinetic. They will be able to assess your whole movement, and give you the best exercises to solve the problem.