Tip: The Cure for Hip Tightness & Immobility

Back pain? Hip mobility issues? This quick fix is for you.

Hit the Target

Many things like foam rolling and stretching have fallen short of eradicating the problem of chronic hip tightness and immobility. Sure, spending time decreasing tone of the glutes, hip flexors, and adductors is a great starting point, but to truly make an impact on functional transference you need to target more exact areas.

With trigger point release, we're going after the spots where multiple muscles and nerves interact with one another locally.

Caution first and foremost. Though you'll be sensitive to many of these techniques, you'll need to practice this one with restraint to avoid flaring up the region. (This area is near bigger neurological bundles such as the sciatic nerve and peripheral nerve roots of the spine.) So the tool to use is a softer trigger point ball that allows some give – NOT a hard lacrosse ball.

The outside of the hip is another anatomically complex area because of what it does: coordinate stability and mobility around the hip joint and connect the pelvis and spinal complex to the lower extremities.

The lateral hip is also a commonly neglected area of self-treatment, as the glutes and hip flexors get all the attention since they're larger, better known muscles of the body. The smaller muscles of the lateral hip – largely the tensor fascia lata, the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus – surround two key nerves, the superior and inferior gluteal nerves. To access these areas, you'll also be addressing the gluteus maximus which attaches onto the lateral hip as well.

By targeting acute neurological trigger point work into the posterior lateral aspect of the hip (which creates a muscular notch that can be easily palpated) you can alleviate pain and regional tightness around the hip complex.

In a side-lying position, place the ball directly under your gluteus minimus located in that muscular notch right above and behind the greater trochanter – an easily palpable bony portion of the femur at the outside of the hip. Place your bodyweight (not all of it) on the ball and achieve no more than a 6/10 relative perceived pain.

From this position, you'll be manipulating the motion of the hip to move both into flexion and extension, and also slight internal and external rotation to place tension and relative motion through the muscular movers and nerves being targeted.

Since these muscles are largely tonic stabilizers of the hip, very little motion will actually be happening here, which is the reason for moving into both rotation and flexion/extension. Spend 30-60 seconds with slow and deliberate hip movements, and make sure to retest hip stability with a balance-based test, as featured in the video, along with detecting whether or not pain was alleviated.