Hip pain and myofascial release

According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, more than 285,000 total hip replacements are performed annually.

by Maria Troia — 

Hip pain affects individuals of all ages and can have various causes, including osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, bursitis, tendonitis or common muscle strain. Such hip pain can happen while walking on flat surfaces, up and down stairs, squatting or sleeping on the painful side. Hip pain may be experienced in the hip joint itself, the thigh, the groin or the buttocks. This article addresses hip pain caused by osteoarthritis, commonly known as wear and tear.

Age and wear and tear on the ball and socket joint cause the joint to deteriorate. The ball and socket joint starts to lose space, a state often described as “bone on bone.”

NSAIDs are a commonly used approach for alleviating hip pain. These drugs, however, are associated with serious side effects, including severe stomach irritation and the risk of stomach ulcers. NSAIDs are also associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

A more serious approach to hip pain due to osteoarthritis is hip replacement surgery. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, more than 285,000 total hip replacements are performed annually.

An individual with hip pain may try far less invasive options before pursuing such drastic measures. One such option is the John Barnes Approach to Myofascial Release. Myofascial release frees the joint as it loosens and unwinds the connective tissue that attaches to the bone. This actually increases joint space, alleviating the discomfort caused by impingement on pain-sensitive structures.

The John Barnes Style of Myofascial Release is a unique method of bodywork. It is very gentle and involves steady pressure into a tight area of the body. This gentle pressure must be sustained for a minimum of 90 seconds. This engages something called the piezoelectric effect, which turns solidified connective tissue into a more fluid state, allowing the connective tissue to soften, relax and expand.

This enables unhealthy and “cemented” soft tissue structures to soften and ease around the joint. As this happens, the once tight, restricted tissue becomes more elastic, freeing the joint. The pain-sensitive structures around the joint have pressure lifted from them, and the body no longer feels pain. The individual experiences an increase in flexibility and function.

The John Barnes Approach to Myofascial Release is a result-oriented therapy. It is not meant to be an ongoing therapy where the client must be seen weekly, or even monthly. The goal of myofascial release is to return the client to full function as soon as possible. When applied correctly, the problem should resolve after a few treatments.

The number of treatments required to address hip pain due to osteoarthritis, however, is different with each client and is determined by various factors, including but not limited to how long the pain has been experienced and how severe the wear and tear. More longstanding conditions may require slightly longer courses of therapy. Cases that are not as longstanding may resolve in one or two treatments. Others require three to five sessions.

Depending on the client, some people require seasonal follow-up sessions to maintain balance. A full evaluation is done with the client to determine these things in the first visit.

The motto of the John Barnes Approach to Myofascial Release is “find the pain, look elsewhere for the cause.” In the case of hip pain, this means examining the ball and socket joint itself. We will also look at other surrounding structures that may be asymmetrical and contributing to or causing the hip pain.

The connective tissue is a complex three-dimensional web attaching to many structures, not just to the hip joint and, as such, the whole complex must be considered for balance of the structure to be restored. The John Barnes Approach to Myofascial Release is a holistic therapy that looks for the root of the problem in order to correct the entire imbalance, not just at the site of pain. This is authentic healing.

Before reaching for an anti-inflammatory medication or considering hip replacement surgery, consider the John Barnes Approach to Myofascial Release to alleviate your hip pain and return to an active lifestyle.


Maria Troia, MSEd, LMT, NCTMB is the owner of East-West Holistic Healing Arts, now located inside Vida Mae’s Salon and Day Spa in the South Chandler/Sun Lakes area. She specializes in the John Barnes Approach to Myofascial Release and AMMA Therapy®. She is also certified by the Nelson Bach Foundation in the Bach Flower Remedies and is a Reiki master. or 480-313-6260.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 32, Number 1, February/March 2013.

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