One of the main reasons to seek a licensed massage therapist when experiencing hip flexor pain is due to the iliopsoas (many people call it the psoas). It’s a large grouping of muscles that attaches directly to the spine in the lower lumbar region. Such a sensitive yet powerful muscle requires special attention especially when treating lower body pain and tightness. This muscle can affect your back, hips, and even radiate down through the legs if not treated properly. Treatment is done when the person is lying on their back and the LMT typically goes through the sheet or “drape” to access this large muscle. This is one of the very best treatments for quickly resolving low back and hip pain even if someone has been in chronic pain for years!

When experiencing pain in the hip flexor, it can inhibit everyday activities such as walking, standing, balance, cycling or running because the hip flexor muscles help to propel you forward. One of the clearest symptoms of hip flexor pain is a feeling of tightness or pain when moving from a sitting to standing position. Tightness and adhesions causing this hip flexor to become restricted will eventually cause pain, in many cases. Some types of hip flexor dysfunction can be caused by simple actions like sitting, driving or even gardening for long periods of time. These activities allow the hip flexor to shorten and tense up, so when you go to use this muscle to move you can feel the pain in your low back, hip joint and around the back of the hip where the restriction can be felt wrapping around the buttocks/glutes. 

Deep tissue massage using neuromuscular techniques is highly effective in alleviating hip flexor problems such as spasms and chronic shortness of the muscle. Most of the therapists we work with and train are, by nature, going to use methods such as deep tissue massage combined with myofascial release, trigger point, and active stretching to alleviate the pain long-term. When addressing hip flexor pain, a skilled massage therapist will most often use deep tissue massage because it targets the innermost layer of muscles. Slow, firm, “unwinding” pressure along the quadriceps or “quads,” the psoas, and iliacus releases tension and restrictions deep within the muscles and allows them to finally let go and relax. This is the point when the massage therapist can truly work into the deep layers of muscles to realign them and break up adhesions. 

Another effective treatment method is myofascial release, where the connective tissue is treated with steady yet slow sustained pressure over the hip flexor region. This technique lengthens the muscle to its normal state where the muscle relaxes back into its original position, allowing range of motion to return and pain to decrease. 

Whether your hip flexor pain is due to sitting in one position too long or from a sports injury, it can be healed over time with consistent massage therapy. Often, even in just one session you will notice a major difference, and the results can be life-changing for many. To restore your range of motion and eliminate this built up restriction, it is essential to select a licensed massage therapist (LMT) that is knowledgeable and experienced in treating this kind of pain or dysfunction. Our therapists specialize in hip flexor treatments, and East Bridge Massage is the leading center for this type of advanced massage therapy care. Our team consists of LMT’s who will communicate and document your pain level and progress so that you can focus on pain reduction and mobility. We will focus on formulating the most effective treatment plan to get you back to pain-free daily activities and improve your quality of life!

About the Author

For over twenty years, Clare Katner has been an intuitive and holistic facilitator of healing. A licensed massage therapist since 1995 and a certified hypnotherapist since 1998, her professional scope is truly mind-body, and her long-term enjoyment of this work comes from witnessing transformation in her client’s lives.

A graduate of Indiana University with a bachelor’s of science degree in education, Clare quickly developed a massage practice fusing her interest in teaching with her love of bodywork and has become a teacher and mentor to other massage therapists. She is a founder and owner of her dream clinic, East Bridge Massage.