Chronic Hip Pain: A Sports Medicine Acupuncture Approach

Many people who suffer chronic pain or ongoing injuries struggle to find a long-term solution. Sports Medicine Acupuncture® is a revolutionary method of treatment that incorporates principals from both Western Sports Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine into a truly integrated system. It can succeed where other forms of treatment have failed. While a single treatment can help to relieve pain, it is not about trying to find a quick fix. Sports Medicine Acupuncture® doesn’t just focus on the symptom of pain; it also addresses the structural, postural, and muscle weakness problems that can be at the root of it all. While it was originally developed for athletes, the principles apply equally to all types of musculoskeletal pain. Sports Medicine Acupuncture® is a proven, comprehensive method that helps to align and ‘retrain’ the body to function properly in order to remove the cause of chronic pain and injuries. Prolonged pain can be resolved, injuries finally heal, and potential future injuries can be prevented.

Sports Medicine Acupuncture® is different to traditional acupuncture in a couple of ways. First, examination incorporates postural and functional movement assessment and muscle strength tests to determine postural issues, dysfunctional movement patterns, and potential weakness of individual muscles. These factors can compromise proper function and lead to pain and injuries. This information is combined with Traditional Chinese Medicine diagnosis and used to construct a comprehensive treatment, which incorporates motor point and traditional acupuncture, myofascial manual therapy, and corrective exercises. Sports Medicine Acupuncture® combines the best from Western and Eastern models of medicine, bringing the best of both worlds together to create a comprehensive, targeted, and effective healing system.

This short case study explains the Sports Medicine Acupuncture approach to a patient suffering from hip pain.

A recent patient, a 57-year-old female, came in complaining of chronic, severe hip pain on the right side. She had undergone medical treatment with painkillers and steroid shots, physical therapy, and massage. Nothing had helped her. She was continuing to try and exercises, but the pain had become too severe to continue.

I performed Western orthopedic tests, which revealed no specific pathology of the hip joint. (She was referred for an MRI later that day to be thorough, but in the meantime, I continued with assessment and treatment). When I evaluated her posture, I noticed there was a left tilting pelvis (which results in the gluteus medius and minimus muscles on the right side being in a locked long and inhibited state). When I had the patient do a slow squat, I noticed that her hips shifted to the right and her right knee buckled inward. She found it difficult to maintain her balance. Manual muscle strength testing confirmed that the gluteus medius and minimus muscles on the right side were weak and painful to test. This weakness resulted in an instability and strain in her hip when she got up and down from a chair, walked up and down stairs, and even when she was just standing. The movements performed during examination aggravated the pain, but when I assisted her in correcting the dysfunctional movement pattern, it reduced the pain during movement.

The left side picture shows the correct alignment of the pelvis and an example of a pelvic tilt to the left with lengthened and inhibited right gluteus medius and right hip shift when weight-bearing. The right image is a left lateral weight shift during a squat/sitting motion. The same thing happened to my patient to the right side. The resulting imbalance was causing instability, which resulted in chronic strain and injury to the right hip joint.

 

After completing a full assessment, her treatment involved correcting the postural and strength issues using the muscle motor points unique to Sports Medicine Acupuncture. In addition, other acupuncture points for the joint and myofascial pathways, which are an integral part of posture and movement, were used along with points to help reduce pain and inflammation and promote blood flow to facilitate healing.

The motor points used as part of Sports Medicine Acupuncture® will help restore proper muscle function, stabilize and align the hips, and reduce pain.

 

Immediately after treatment, the patient reported a significant reduction in pain, and better still, the pelvis was now level, and the gluteus medius and minimus muscles were able to fully engage and maintain strength against resistance without pain. Now that the muscles necessary for correct movement form worked properly, she was prescribed corrective exercise to help improve her balance, strength, and alignment. We also discussed certain things she could change in her diet to help reduce inflammation and pain. While there will be a need for follow up treatments to completely resolve her pain and prevent further injury to the hip in the long term, she is finally on her way to healing and being pain-free.