Hip, Buttock & Groin Pain

Even though hip pain, buttock pain and groin pain can be related and are grouped together in this article, they are usually from different causes.

Pain in the buttock / gluteal area is usually due to problems of the pelvis, sacrum, low back and or muscles of the buttock area (gluteal and other muscles). The cause can also be from other body parts, such as the knees, ankles or feet.

On the contrary, problem of the actual hip joint rarely gives pain in the buttock area. The pain is rather more likely in the groin area. However, even though hip joint problem “fakes” pain in the groin area, it is not the most common cause of groin pain. The most common cause of groin pain is due to problems of muscles and other soft tissues that are attached to the groin area.

These differentiations may sound confusing, but it is very important to be precise in the diagnosing the exact problem, otherwise the recovery can be long, slow, and ineffective.

Pain at the buttock and thigh areas are usually diverse and are covered by many different diagnoses, including bursitis (trochanteric bursitis, ischial bursitis, iliopsoas bursitis), tendinitis (most commonly iliopsoas tendinitis), iliotibial band (ITB or IT band) syndrome, piriformis syndrome, etc.

However, these diverse diagnoses only specify the location and nature of the problems without providing enough insight for an effective treatment.

In fact, many of the problems co-exist, and are often mechanistically related. What is most important for an effective treatment for any of these conditions, in addition to identification of the pain, is to find out about the key cause of the problem. Yet the key cause is usually not where the pain is.

Our body is a highly effective and efficient “machine” that is designed to self-adjust for any mechanical disturbances due to pain, weakness, imbalances, etc. The specific field of study that deciphers how this system works is called Bio-mechanics.

With precise diagnosis based on Bio-mechanics, not only the precise location, but also the key cause (that may be distant) can be accurately diagnosed. In Action Chiropractic & Wellness, this is followed by correcting the symptom as well as the root problem based on the findings, be it buttock itself, or at knee, or at ankle, or any other bio-mechanically relevant body part.

For instance, trochanteric bursitis is very closely linked to iliotibial band syndrome, while piriformis syndrome and iliopsoas tendonitis are both main contributors to back pain, with different mechanisms. Once the appropriated bio-mechanical diagnosis – the most crucial step – is accomplished based on careful and skillful evaluation, the appropriate treatment will soon bear fruit.

When the buttock pain location is more toward the back area, it is frequently interwoven with a low back problem that may or may not be symptomatic. In fact, the buttock area is very bio-mechanically related to low back pain, and taking care of one usually means the other has to be treated as well.

Groin pain, on the other hand, usually has its own set of causes, even though it may still be bio-mechanically related and connected to the buttock area or other body parts such as knee or ankle.

There are a number of muscles called adductor muscles that are attached to the pubic bone at groin area. These muscles can easily become shortened, due to inflexibility, lack of use, sedentary life style or overuse in the case of athletes, especially in track and field. Any strain of these muscles can cause the annoying groin pain.

There are other muscles or tendons which are not attached to the pubic bone, but whose strategic locations are very close to the groin area, and therefore the symptoms can mimic groin pain. These muscles and tendons include iliopsoas (psoas and iliacus) and obturator externus.

Conventional treatment for hip, buttock or groin pain includes the physical modalities such as ultrasound, heat and electrical muscle stimulation (EMS), etc. The problem is that the effects are relatively slow without addressing the root of the problems.

Stretching is very commonly used in treating these problems – however, it can be very painful and slow in healing the problems when used alone. The symptom usually gets better right after the treatment, but the problem comes back within days or even hours.

The reason is that the problem often is concentrated on a small area of a muscle or tendon. Stretching the entire muscle does not target the area that needs most attention. But here is the good news: the specific small area can be very effectively treated with Active Release Technique, which has a dedicated protocol for each muscle in the body.

Conventional soft tissue work including myofasical release and massage can help the problems as well. However, there is lack of highly specific targeting of the most important and relevant muscle areas concerning your problems, and the result is less effective healing that is more likely to take longer for full recovery.

On the contrary, Active Release Technique (A.R.T.) is the most specific, targeted and effective soft tissue technique to deal with this type of problems, since every single muscle has a different protocol and is taken care individually for your specific needs. When combined with precise bio-mechanical diagnosis for the root cause of the symptoms, ART can provide you the fast and highly effective recovery that our patients enjoy everyday at Action Chiropractic & Wellness Center.

Contact us today for hip, buttock and groin pain treatment.
(858) 481-1438



Dr. Dawn Liu, Ph.D., D.C., L.Ac
Dr. Anna Phillips, D.C., M.S.
David Snyder, L.Ac., C.Ht
Action Chiropractic & Wellness
312 S. Cedros Ave, Ste 326
Solana Beach, CA 92075
Call: (858) 481-1438