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Guide to an Effective Hip Flexor Massage

by Jaydee Vykoukal, PT, DPT November 11, 2020 0 Comments

Woman massage hip

Hip flexor massage is a great option when managing the pain of this large muscle group around the hips. If left untreated, it can leave you feeling totally off and not able to do your normal activities. Applying routine massage can help relieve that pain and tightness, lead to significant improvements and better-balanced movement. Keep reading to learn about massage for hip flexor pain. 

How Massage Helps Tight Hips

Once the hip flexors become stiff, they often start shifting the overall alignment of the pelvis and low back. This leads to a self-perpetuating cycle of more stiffness and pain that can feel hard to shake without treatment interventions like massage and stretching. Massage can help break this cycle and help you feel your best in the long run, especially when it's done consistently.

Not Sure if You Have Tight Hips? Learn More Here

Benefits of Hip Massage Therapy

Not all injuries or scenarios benefit from massage therapy, however, many there are many people who get great results from regular massage. Here is a list of the potential benefits:

  • Increased blood circulation to promote healing of the injured tissues
  • Better lower body in the hamstrings, quads, glute, and hip muscles for alignment and improved coordination with daily activities
  • Decreased hip pain and low back pain (if present)
  • Improved hip range of motion for better tolerance for weight-bearing activities
  • Increased feelings of well-being secondary to the release of feel good hormones
  • A great adjunct to other treatment options like foam rolling, hip exercises, and hip flexor stretching. 
  • Better quality of life and relaxation

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 decide how much pressure and what spot is just 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. Try these specific techniques to address tight hip flexors with massage.

1. Myofascial release

The myofascial tissues provide full-body stability by connecting all of the muscle in the trunk into a functional system. Apply light to moderate pressure in the myofascial to decrease stiffness throughout the hips, low back, and entire body, as well as a few specific problem areas in the pelvis and abdomen. Alternate between prolonged static pressure and moderate pressure with movement along any sore spots, particularly in the upper thighs and the abs. The most important part is to relax and breathe as you apply pressure.

2. Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage involves moderate to strong pressure up and down large muscle groups including the quad and psoas muscle. The quad runs along the entire front of the thigh while the psoas is best accessed inside the forward jutting pelvis/hip bones. Find the sore areas and use a strong hand or massage tool to slowly go up and down the sore muscle group.Continue until you notice a decrease in pain or change in muscle tension.

Consider using these tools for greater relief

Guide to Foam Rolling for Tight Hip Flexors

3. Trigger Point Therapy

Massage applied to trigger points involves prolonged pressure on a specific muscle knot or trouble spot. This helps the elastic muscle fibers relax and reset to improve overall muscle health and reduce stiffness.

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 much that it causes you to tense up. Hold for 60 or more seconds, the longer the better. You should notice a gradual decrease in tension and increased relaxation with time.

Consider using these tools for greater relief

Professional Massage

If you’re feeling unsure of where to start or just want to leave your pain relief or relaxation to an expert, consider seeing either a massage therapist or physical therapist. They are specially trained in human anatomy and massage techniques to provide you the most relief possible. While the massage techniques are similar to what we just discussed for home massage, you can count on professional expertise in the following areas:

  • Sports massage
  • Heat therapy
  • Acupressure
  • Full body massage

PSOAS Massages

The iliopsoas muscle requires a special note because of where it attaches. The psoas muscle is a large stabilizing hip flexor muscle that attaches into the lower back. While this area can be addressed with self-massage, it can be a very sensitive area and hard to find without the help of an expert. If you’re not sure where to start, simply consult a professional.

Maximizing Your Massage Experience

Follow these simple tips to feel your best after a self-massage or professional massage:

  • To promote further relaxation, you can try stretching the hip joint with yoga and pain-relieving modalities like heat or ice before and/or after massage
  • You should be able to relax throughout the entire massage process and focus on deep breathing
  • If you’re tensing up, reduce your pressure or adjust your position and try again
  • Consider working with a certified massage therapist or physical therapist to maximize your massage results

More Treatment Options for Tight Hips

Massage with Care

Hip flexor massage can help give you immediate relief from stiffness while providing you long term benefits for recovery. It is best when combined with other treatment options like stretching, exercise, foam rolling, and more. With treatment, if you don’t notice a change in symptoms after 2 weeks or if your symptoms progress, consult your doctor or physical therapy specialist for further recommendations or to rule out other possible issues.

Sources:

https://insyncphysio.com/myofascial-release-for-hip-flexors-to-relieve-low-back-pain/#:~:text=Myofascial%20Release%20of%20Hip%20Flexors,ball%20push%20inside%20your%20pelvis.

https://www.yogajournal.com/practice/8-self-massage-tips-tight-hip-flexors#:~:text=Place%20one%20muscle%20roller%20or,Continue%20for%201%E2%80%932%20minutes.

https://www.healthline.com/health/hip-flexor-strain

Hip Flexor Pain Products

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Jaydee Vykoukal, PT, DPT
Jaydee Vykoukal, PT, DPT

JayDee Vykoukal is a Doctor of Physical Therapy, owner of the healthy habit platform Health Means Wealth, and freelance medical writer. She loves traveling and spending time with her family in nature. Her passion is helping others continue to participate in the activities they love through education and proper exercise.



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