A Pain in the Hip

I’ve been struggling with hip pain for months.  At first, I thought I had pulled my left hamstring.  I know that type of injury can take a long time to heal, so I tried to be patient and to baby it.

The pain got worse, not better, so I asked my chiropractor for help. She suspected that my problem might be a tight IT (iliotibial) band, a long band of muscle and connective tissue that runs from the hip down to the knee on the outside of the thigh.  The pain in my hip appeared to be caused by tension on the hamstring at the insertion point and not by an injury.

Evidently, tight IT bands are common to runners.  When we run on canted roads, it’s as if one leg is shorter than the other, which strains the IT band.  Also, when I look at the bottom of my running shoes, the wear pattern shows that I’m still not running evenly on both feet almost five years after surgery on my left foot.

The biggest problem with my hip pain is that, although the tightness in my IT band seems to be caused by running, the activity that hurts the most is sitting.  This makes it a challenge to go to a play or a movie, to sit still at my book group, and most importantly, to write.  My kitchen timer method helps.  I sit for forty-five minutes, then get up and move around before I sit down again.  But I still struggle with an aching hip at the end of the day.

I tried the stretches that my doctor and my chiropractor recommended and they relieved the pain.  🙂  But never for long.  😦 I was hoping for a definitive solution.  I stopped running hills and ran at a slow pace for two months.  No change.  So now I’ve stopped running for the summer while I work at correcting my stride.  Lola is okay with that because as long as she gets to go along, she doesn’t care if we walk or run.

Walking correctly seems like it should be easy, but I have to concentrate on each step to make sure that I push off the balls of my feet the same way on each side.  I start out fine.  Then my mind drifts.  What has Lola found in the bushes?  What am I going to fix for dinner tonight?  What point of view should I use for my new novel?  I’m lost in my head for a few blocks until I remember what I’m supposed to be focusing on.  I’m not giving up, though.

Meanwhile, I’m thinking about trying a standing desk.  I put my netbook on a stack of books on the kitchen counter and I think I’ve found a good height.  I’d like a slightly less temporary solution than a cookbook and a dictionary, so I looked for affordable desks online, but haven’t found anything I like.

My husband offered to build a standing desk for me, but that’s not a quick solution.  I know he would build something beautiful, but considering how little time he has for woodworking, it would be months before he finished it.  Besides, maybe taking a break from running will solve my problem. If it doesn’t, I’m considering acupuncture. Have you tried it?  What did you think?


Filed under dog walking, Running, Writing

19 responses to “A Pain in the Hip

  1. Sorry to hear you’re having this problem. I can’t even begin to relate since I like sitting down to exercise. I’m the no-exercise diva and I have figured out an exercise plan that’s perfect for me 🙂 I do walk briskly, when I decide to walk but girrrrl, I’l never have this problem you’re having.

    I hope you’re back to yourself soon. It’s a bummer to stop enjoying what you love and sitting to write? My best to you.

    • Thanks. I do hope I’ll be back to normal soon. But I could adjust to brisk walking and sitting down to exercise. I might need to learn your routine if my hip keeps acting up.

  2. Anitra

    hi Shary,
    I didn’t realize you were having this much pain. (you don’t complain much. Are you Scottish?)
    I have had acupuncture. It seemed to help with some things qnd not others.
    I hope you find a solution. And thanks for the offer of help after my surgery on Weds. !

    • As a matter of fact, I am a tiny bit Scottish. But I think the reason you don’t hear me complain is because, most of the time, we see each other in the morning. I usually feel okay then. I get achy by the end of the day and then I complain a lot!

      Next time we write together I’ll try to remember to ask you about acupuncture.

  3. Hey Shary,
    I am sorry to hear you have such pain. I have a fabulous acupuncturist. Let me know if you would like her info. She is also a nutritionist, I have been to her for both. May you begin feeling better soon!

  4. Shary, I have tried acupuncture for back pain. I injured my back years ago playing racquetball and ever since then, I cannot bend over of lift up heavy things without pain. Most of the time, it’s just a nagging reminder that I’m getting old and not debilitating, but it is frustrating that, like you, I have to time some of my activities like gardening, which I miss desperately. Every once in a while, the pain becomes excruciating, and the last time it did, I went to acupuncture. I wish I could say it helped, but no such luck. However, I know that many people get good results, so I would definitely say it’s worth a try. Good luck and let me know how it turns out.

    • Ouch! Back pain is the worst. And it’s so frustrating to have to slow down. I hope you are relatively pain free right now. I wish the acupuncture (or anything) had worked for you. I’ll be sure to let you know if I try it, or if I find some other miracle.

  5. Chronic pain is no fun. I can’t speak to acupuncture, but I’ve had different things, the most frustrating of which is Achille’s tendonitis, which put an end to running for me. I still work out pretty hard, but I have to be careful. It can be annoying. I hope you’re feeling better!

  6. I have pain in my right hip area. It’s been nagging me off and on for years. But it got worse last fall when about once a day, I’d get a sharp pain in my hip and my leg would nearly give out. I finally went to a doctor a few months back. They x-rayd, but found no problem (which is good). So they think it’s muscle issues, and I’m now doing Physical Therapy. Have they x-rayd your hip to make sure it’s not early arthritis or something? Probably not, but better safe than sorry. The PT exercises are helping. But my therapist also recommended not to run or walk a lot either. Kinda sucks!

    • Glad the PT exercises are helping you some, but how frustrating not to be able to go for walks. I love “meditating” that way. And it’s annoying not to know what the problem is exactly.
      I had x-rays and there’s no skeletal problem. (Although I did learn that I have 6 lumbar vertebrae instead of the usual 5. Who knew?) If things haven’t improved by the end of the summer. They’ll probably do an MRI to see if there’s some other kind of problem.
      Wishing you a pain-free day!

  7. I HAVE tried acupuncture, strangely enough, for the same type of pain. I used to do step aerobics, jacked up my hip somehow, and could barely sit for the pain.

    My acupuncturist used electrical stimulation (through the needle) and it helped immensely.

    I didn’t have as chronic or severe a pain as you, but I swear by acupuncture for many of life’s ills! (And to stay in balance.)

    Hope you find relief!

    • I’m sorry to hear that you had a hip problem, too, but I’m glad to know that you found a solution. Most days, my pain isn’t severe (although there have been a few doozies), but it is almost constant and nagging. Now I’m hopeful that I can be rid of it!

  8. Shary, I’m so sorry you’re in so much pain. I’ve never been to a chiropractor but am planning to go to one for my headaches come August. I’ve never tried acupuncture either, I’m afraid. I hope they’ve given you some good pain killers because pain can be debilitating and interrupt daily life on a grand scale. I have horrible knee pain and the therapist gave me some exercises to do and they seem to help but like you said, only temporarily. I finally had to visit the orthopedist who gave me a shot that’s supposed to last between six and eight months. The relief was almost immediate. Hope you feel better soon!

    • Thanks, Bella. Don’t feel too sorry for me. I only need OTC pain medication for my problem and I think headaches and knee pain are much worse than hip aches.

      I hope you have good luck with the chiropractor. I love mine and she’s helped me with all kinds of issues.

  9. Librarian111

    I am not at all fond of the pain you are describing! It is a drag to struggle with sitting. I have found that lying flat also relieves the pain.

    Although I have not personally tried acupuncture, one of my friends tried it for pain and allergies. My sense is that she wants to find it useful. So far, she admits it hasn’t worked for her.

    Massage has worked for both of us. It isn’t a permanent solution. It does seem to offer about a week to a month of improvement, depending on the pain level.

    • Thanks for the tips. Massage (at least the kind I get when I visit my chiropractor) does help me a lot. I think lying flat helps, too, because I usually feel okay in the morning. I do seem to be improving slightly since I’m not running this summer, but I’m definitely not fixed yet. Sigh.

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