Generally tight hips are quite painful and activity altering but occasionally there are no symptoms at all. Sometimes after assessing a patient for tight hips I will provide some trigger point release treatment and align their hip joints after which they notice how tight their hips really were. Most patients feel a real sense of relief after even the first treatment.
In my practice I see a ton of hip pain and tightness (what I tend to call dysfunction). The activities of our daily life require a significant amount of hip flexion on a regular basis. Some common examples of hip flexion are sitting at work or when watching TV, running, biking, walking, and yoga. I cannot emphasize enough how often I see tight hip muscles contributing substantially to lower back pain and also causing a lot of discomfort and pain in the groin region and hip joint itself.
The hip flexor muscles are difficult to release on your own especially if they are already very tight. They are challenging to release due to the hip being comprised of a few fairly large muscles. One of the primary muscles I usually treat is the iliopsoas muscle. As you can see in the image above the muscle attaches to the back of the spine and goes through the hip to attach on the inside of the femur. The psoas is one of the primary muscles responsible for hip flexion in the body. It also has a "buddy" muscle called the iliacus that cups the inside of the hip. Together the iliacus and the psoas make up the iliopsoas. When I work on this muscle group I stretch it and use trigger point therapy as the patient moves their hip through the complete range of motion to open up the hip. I pay attention to the specific points of pain or "knots" in the muscle and as the patient breathes through the motion I wait for these points to release and melt under the pressure of my hands. This technique helps the muscle to fully relax all of it's fibres and removes small "knots" or adhesions making the muscle fibres align properly and slide freely. For many of my patients the pain or discomfort is relieved almost immediately.
Trigger points are those "knots" or points in your muscles that refer pain when pressed on and they tend to form throughout the muscle. They form due to lack of use, overuse, injury/strain and poor posture habits. Trigger point release is a very effective method of relieving muscle pain and discomfort.
I am a strong believer in the power of removing adhesions from the muscles, aligning bones and resetting nerve patterns all of which require maximizing blood flow, a thorough assessment of the joint and body, and figuring out why the muscle pain occurred in the first place. All of my treatments start off with a thorough assessment, then a deep clay heat pack being applied over the area to be worked on to heat up the muscles and promote relaxation. I then apply a natural topical lotion made of camphor and menthol extracts to enhance blood flow and decrease pain. I always provide muscle work prior to any adjustments and ensure the body is releasing at all three levels: bone, muscle and nerve.
*photo shown is of Dr. Vizniak's Muscle Manual page on psoas major and minor