Table of Contents
Do you ever find yourself wincing in discomfort while trying to sit down? Hip pain while sitting can be an incredibly frustrating and disruptive issue that affects your daily life. The constant pain in your hips can make even the simplest tasks, like sitting at your desk or driving, seem daunting.
Sitting should be a moment of relaxation, but it is hard to find comfort when your hips hurt with each movement. The following blog discusses the common causes of hip pain when sitting and offers solutions to help regain ease and comfort. Continue reading to find out.
What is Hip Pain?
Hip pain is pain or discomfort experienced in and around the hip joint. It is a ball-and-socket joint connecting the thigh bone (femur) to the pelvis. The surrounding areas that may be affected include muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves. Hip pain can occur on one or both sides of the hip.
Hip pain can take on various meanings, depending on its location within the hip area.
While sitting, you can experience discomfort on the outside of your hip, upper thigh, or buttock. It is often attributed to issues with the muscles, ligaments, or tendons in the hip.
Pain or discomfort can be experienced on the inside of your hip or within the groyne area when seated. It may be linked to underlying health issues related to the hip joint and bones.
There are instances where lower back pain can be felt in the hip while sitting, known as "referred pain."
Causes of Hip Pain While Sitting
Hip pain while sitting can be caused by various factors like long sitting hours. The specific cause of the pain may vary from person to person. Here are some common causes of hip pain while sitting:
1. Poor Posture: One prevalent cause of hip pain while sitting is poor posture or sitting in a slouched position. Sitting in an incorrect posture or lacking proper back and hip support can increase the pressure on your hips. This added strain can subsequently result in hip discomfort when you are sitting.
2. Crossing the Legs: Hip pain can occur due to crossing your legs or leaning over to one side when sitting. Hip pain while sitting cross-legged results from the increased pressure on one or both hips.
3. Uneven Surface: Sitting on an uneven surface, like a cushion or a chair that is too soft, can cause your body to tilt to one side. This puts extra pressure on one hip. The added weight on one hip can lead to poor posture and pain.
4. Pinched Nerve: Prolonged sitting can lead to a pinched nerve, medically known as radiculopathy. This condition arises from the stretching, compression, or constriction of a nerve or a group of nerves. When this happens in the hip area, it can result in pain that radiates to the thigh, buttocks, groyne, and hip. Additionally, you may also encounter:
Numbness and tingling
5. Sciatica: Sitting for extended stretches can sometimes be the sneaky culprit behind sciatica - pain caused by sciatic nerve irritation. The sciatic nerve (the longest and widest in the body) runs from your lower back to just below your knees.
When sciatica strikes, you might feel discomfort in your buttocks, feet, toes, and legs. It can manifest as sharp, shooting, or burning pain, with the intensity varying from mild to severe. Additionally, it is common to experience weakness and numbness.
6. Bursitis: It is a form of inflammation that affects the bursa, those tiny sacs filled with fluid that act like shock absorbers in your hip joints. When these sacs become swollen or damaged, it can lead to stiffness and tenderness in the hip area. Consequently, bursitis can cause discomfort in the outer and back portions of the hips while sitting.
The pain may intensify when you attempt to stand up from a chair after prolonged sitting. For some, it disrupts their sleep. The pain can wake them up at night when they try to rest on that affected side.
7. Tendinitis: Extended periods of sitting, particularly with poor posture, can result in the stretching of tendons in the hips. Tendons, tough fibrous tissues, connect muscles to bones. They can become strained and inflamed when stretched, a condition known as tendinitis.
You may experience hip pain when sitting and lying down due to tendinitis. It can also cause hip pain while walking.
8. Arthritis: Another common cause of hip pain while walking and sitting is arthritis. Various forms of arthritis can wear down the protective cartilage in your hip joints. It can lead to painful friction and inflammation. This is especially true when sitting because it requires bending your hip joints. Types of arthritis affecting the joint include:
Rheumatoid arthritis (causes pain and swelling in both hip joints)
Osteoarthritis (a wear-and-tear arthritis that can develop in one or both hips)
Ankylosing spondylitis (typically associated with the spine but capable of causing hip pain during sitting)
Psoriatic arthritis (leads to swelling and hip joint pain, particularly during extended periods of sitting)
9. Hip Impingement: Also known as femoroacetabular is a condition where your hip joint is not shaped properly. As a result, the hip bone does not fit into the socket. This leads to pain, especially during sitting. You may also notice "popping" sensations or stiffness of your hip joints when you sit down or stand up.
10. Lupus: It is an autoimmune disease characterized by an imbalanced immune system that targets the body's joints. Lupus can result in swelling or damage to the hip joints. This causes individuals with the condition to experience hip pain while sitting and lying down.
Diagnosis of Hip Pain While Sitting
Diagnosing the cause of hip joint pain while sitting usually involves a few tests and scans. The following is an overview of the process:
Medical History: The healthcare provider will start by asking about the nature, duration, and location of your hip pain. They will also inquire about recent injuries, medical conditions, or lifestyle factors contributing to the pain.
Physical Examination: A detailed physical exam is performed to assess the range of motion in your hip joint. The doctor also checks for swelling, tenderness, or deformities.
Imaging Studies: Depending on the suspected cause of your hip pain, the doctor may order imaging tests such as X-rays and MRI.
X-rays look for fractures or damage to the bones in the hip joint, lower back, and groyne.
MRI scans check for injury and damage to the hip muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
Blood Tests: These lab tests check for markers of inflammation, infection, or specific autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.
Patrick Test: It is a form of physical examination to evaluate hip joint mobility.
Gait Test: This test assesses the movement of your hips and legs during walking.
Treatment for Hip Pain While Sitting
If you are wondering how to get rid of hip pain from sitting, you must know that the treatment depends on the underlying cause. In some cases, you may need no treatment at all. However, other times, you may need to undergo physiotherapy exercises to strengthen hip muscles. Some common treatment approaches are as follows:
Medications: Over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen or aspirin may help manage pain and inflammation. Sometimes, the doctor may prescribe stronger medications or muscle relaxants.
Pain Relief Creams or Gel: These creams or gels can provide temporary pain relief by applying them directly to the painful area. It can be an effective option for rheumatoid arthritis.
Anti-Inflammatory Steroid Medications: Corticosteroid injections can temporarily relieve conditions like bursitis, tendinitis, and arthritis.
Physical Therapy: A physical therapist provides exercises to improve hip strength and flexibility. Strengthening the core muscles in the abdomen and back helps release pressure from an incorrect sitting position.
Chiropractic Adjustments: It involves manual manipulation of the spine and joints by a chiropractor. This non-invasive approach aims to improve hip function and alleviate pain.
Orthopaedic Devices: Braces or supports may be recommended to stabilize the hip joint and improve alignment. These may be used for tendinitis or bursitis.
Surgery: The doctor may recommend surgical intervention in severe cases or when conservative treatments fail. Procedures can range from arthroscopy to total hip replacement. Surgery is generally needed for treating bursitis, tendinitis, and osteoarthritis.
You can often alleviate hip pain while sitting at home with simple remedies. These home remedies for hip pain include:
RICE: Hip pain from bursitis can usually be treated with the RICE method at home.
Rest: Ensure you get enough restorative sleep to allow your body to heal and recover.
Ice: Apply ice to the affected area for 10-15 minutes, several times daily, especially within the first 48 hours. It helps reduce inflammation.
Compression: Use a compression wrap or bandage to support the hip and reduce swelling. Ensure it is not too tight to avoid cutting off circulation.
Elevation: When sitting, prop your legs up on a footrest or cushion to reduce pressure on the hips.
Heat Therapy: Apply a heating pad to the painful hip for 10-15 minutes to relieve inflammation.
Massage Therapy: Consider professional massage therapy to relax muscles and improve circulation.
Stretching: Perform gentle hip stretches to improve flexibility and reduce tension. You should consult a physical therapist for guidance on suitable stretches. Stretching can be effective for a pinched nerve and sciatica.
Weight Management: If excess weight contributes to your hip pain, adopt a balanced diet and exercise routine to achieve a healthy weight. This helps reduce strain on the hips. Weight loss is especially important for osteoarthritis.
Proper Footwear: Ensure your shoes provide adequate support and cushioning to promote healthy hip alignment.
Loose Clothing: It is advised to wear loose clothing while sitting. Tight pants, jeans, or belts can increase hip pain.
Ergonomic Seating: Invest in an ergonomic chair or use supportive cushions to maintain proper posture and hip alignment while sitting.
Stretches for Hip Pain
Stretching exercises help reduce stiffness in the hips. As a result, it can help alleviate hip pain while sitting. Some stretching exercises for hip pain include:
1. Hip and Lower Back Stretch
Begin by lying flat on your back with your legs extended.
Lower your gaze towards the chest while ensuring your neck remains in contact with the floor.
Bend both knees and clasp your hands around them, drawing the knees toward your shoulders.
Inhale deeply and bring your knees closer to your chest as you exhale.
Hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds while breathing normally.
2. Hip Extension
Stand in an upright position with your feet shoulder-width apart and legs straight.
Extend both arms forward and use support if needed (e.g., holding onto a stable surface).
Keep your left leg straight while lifting your right leg backward without bending the knee.
Lift your leg as far as comfortably possible, then clench your buttock muscles tightly.
Maintain this position for 5 seconds.
Repeat this stretch 5 to 10 times for each leg.
3. Double Hip Rotation
Lie flat on your back.
Bend your knees and carefully bring them towards your body. Keep your feet flat on the floor.
Gently rotate your legs to the left, lowering them to the floor.
Rotate your head to the right while keeping your shoulders against the floor.
Hold the position for 20-30 seconds.
Slowly return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side.
Sitting Tips to Prevent Hip Pain
Sitting in the correct position can help balance the pressure on the hips. This helps prevent hip pain. Sitting tips for hip pain include:
Use Back or Seat Support: Additional back or seat support can enhance your sitting posture. A firm cushion or foam base can provide the necessary support to correctly align your spine and hips.
Check Foot Placement: Pay attention to where your feet land when seated. Ideally, they should rest flat on the floor. This position helps distribute weight evenly and minimises hip strain.
Use a Footstool: Consider using a footstool to elevate your feet slightly when sitting for extended periods. This can reduce pressure on your hips and improve overall comfort.
Choose Supportive Seating: Avoid hard surfaces like wooden chairs, stools, or benches. A firm yet cushioned surface provides better hip support and comfort while sitting.
Limit Soft Surfaces: Avoid prolonged sitting on extremely soft surfaces like beds or sofas. Such surfaces can cause your hips to sink too deeply, leading to discomfort or poor alignment.
When to Consult a Doctor?
Minor hip discomfort can often be managed with self-care adjustments. However, there are situations where it is advisable to consult a doctor for hip pain when sitting. Talk to a healthcare professional if you experience the following:
Persistent or Severe Pain: If the pain in your hip while sitting is persistent, severe, or worsening over time, it is important to seek medical evaluation.
Symptoms of Autoimmune Disorders: Consult a doctor if you experience symptoms like pain in other joints.
Ineffectiveness of Home Remedies: It is important to talk to a doctor if home remedies and seating arrangements do not reduce pain.
Fall or Injury: See your doctor if you have injured your hip or have difficulty with routine activities.
Hip pain while sitting is a common issue with various potential causes, ranging from poor posture to underlying medical conditions. Addressing it may involve lifestyle changes, stretches, or medical interventions. Hip pain treatment depends on the severity and underlying factors. Consulting a healthcare provider is essential to diagnose and manage hip pain accurately.
HexaHealth offers expert guidance and personalised exercises to alleviate hip pain while sitting. If you require surgical intervention, our team can help you connect with the best surgeons near you. With HexaHealth, you can regain comfort and mobility, making sitting a pain-free experience. Contact us TODAY!
||How to Reduce Hip Pain|
|Hip Pain Exercises
||How to Relieve Hip Pain while Sleeping|
Frequently Asked Questions
Is hip pain while sitting normal?
Many people experience hip pain while sitting, making it common. Several factors, like poor posture and pressure on the hips, can cause hip pain. Occasional discomfort is normal. However, persistent and severe pain should be evaluated by a doctor.
What causes hip pain when sitting?
Hip pain when sitting can be caused by several factors. These include:
Sitting on an uneven surface
Underlying conditions like sciatica, bursitis, tendonitis, and arthritis
Identifying the cause is important for effective treatment.
Why do I experience hip pain when sitting and lying down?
Hip pain when sitting and lying down can occur due to several causes. These include:
Poor sleep posture
What could be the reasons for hip pain while walking?
Hip pain while walking is a common condition caused by several problems related to muscles, tendons, joints, bone issues, and nerve damage. Reasons for hip pain while walking include:
What are the first signs of hip problems?
The first signs of hip problems include:
Hip or groyne pain
Stiffness of the joint
Swelling and tenderness
Consult a medical specialist if the symptoms persist or worsen.
How do doctors test for hip pain?
Doctors diagnose hip pain through the following:
Evaluation of medical history
Imaging tests like X-rays, MRI, and CT scan
Gait test and Patrick test (to evaluate the movement of hips while walking)
How to alleviate hip pain while sitting?
You can alleviate hip pain when sitting with home remedies, stretches, and medical interventions. Some home remedies for hip pain include:
Wearing comfortable shoes
Heat therapy or cold compress
Using ergonomic chairs to help posture
Back brace or support
Medical intervention may include medications, chiropractic adjustments, or surgery.
Can hip pain after sitting be relieved by walking?
Yes, hip pain after sitting goes away after walking in most cases. Walking increases blood flow in the muscles surrounding the hips. As a result, it engages hip muscles and creates more movement in the joint.
How to prevent hip pain when sitting Indian style?
Preventive tips to reduce hip pain while sitting Indian style include:
Loosen the hip flexors with stretches and strengthening exercises
Sit in the Indian style regularly to allow your muscles to get used to the position
Maintain good posture
Switch positions regularly
Consult a doctor if the pain persists
What are effective remedies for hip pain from sitting?
Effective remedies for hip pain from sitting include:
Over-the-counter pain medications
Applying ice or heat
Stretching and strengthening exercises
Using a seat with back support
Sitting in ergonomic chairs to improve posture
What is the recommended posture to prevent hip pain while sitting?
The recommended posture to prevent hip pain while sitting includes:
Keep your back straight
Add back or seat support with a firm cushion or foam base
Place your feet flat on the floor
Avoid sitting on very soft or hard surfaces
Is massage good for hip pain?
Yes, massage can benefit hip pain by:
Increasing blood flow
Relaxing tight muscles
It may provide relief for various hip conditions like bursitis and tendonitis.
What are the tips for reducing hip pain when sitting cross-legged?
Some tips for reducing hip pain while sitting cross-legged include:
Stretching and strengthening exercises
Making your muscles get used to the position
Maintaining correct posture
Switching positions regularly
Are there guidelines for treating hip pain when sitting?
Some guidelines for treating hip pain while sitting include:
Applying ice or heat
Using ergonomic seating
Consulting a doctor if pain worsens
What may happen if hip pain aggravates while sitting?
If hip pain aggravates while sitting, it can indicate chronic health conditions like arthritis, lupus etc. Usually, hip pain can be managed with home remedies. However, if it persists or worsens, it is important to consult a doctor. They may recommend medications and physical therapy.
Are there any safe and recommended medicines to relieve hip pain while sitting?
Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen, aspirin, or naproxen can temporarily relieve hip pain while sitting. However, consult a doctor for personalised guidance and to rule out any underlying conditions.
What is the first line of treatment for hip pain?
The first line of hip pain treatment usually involves home remedies. It includes:
A break from physical activities
Taking OTC pain relievers
Ice or heat therapy
Consult a doctor if you experience severe and persistent pain.
All the articles on HexaHealth are supported by verified medically-recognized sources such as; peer-reviewed academic research papers, research institutions, and medical journals. Our medical reviewers also check references of the articles to prioritize accuracy and relevance. Refer to our detailed editorial policy for more information.