Sitting Smart: How to Find Relief for Hip Pain

Estimated  minute read

Are you experiencing hip pain from too much sitting? You're not alone. In today's post-COVID world, where working from home and sitting is the new norm, it's common for people to develop discomfort and pain in their hips.

But don't panic!

With a few simple strategies and lifestyle adjustments, you can find relief, improve your hip function, and minimize pain. In this article, we will:

  • Explore common causes of hip pain

  • Discuss ergonomics and how it relates to hip health

  • Provide stretching and mobility exercises

  • Share tips for improving your posture

  • Explain the benefits of massage therapy

  • Discuss heat and cold therapy, and

  • Highlight the importance of seeking professional guidance

So, let's dive in and discover how you can sit smart and alleviate hip pain!

Understanding Hip Pain Causes

Before we delve into the solutions, it's important to understand the causes of hip pain. Hip pain can be caused by a variety of factors, including staying in one posture for prolonged periods, muscle imbalances, bursitis, osteoarthritis, repetitive strain injuries, referral from your low back and pelvis, as while as various underlying medical conditions. By identifying the root cause of your hip pain, you can effectively address it and find long-lasting relief.

Prolonged Sitting

Prolonged sitting is another culprit behind hip pain. When you sit for extended periods, your hip flexor muscles can become tight and shortened. This may lead to imbalances in the surrounding muscles and put stress on your hips and lower back. Taking regular breaks to stretch and move around can help alleviate this issue.

Muscle Imbalances

Muscle imbalances may also contribute to hip pain. When certain muscles are stronger shorter or weaker than others, it can cause discomfort. Strengthening and stretching exercises targeting lower back, hip and core muscles can help correct these imbalances and relieve pain.

Overuse Injuries (poor load management)

Overuse injuries are common not only among athletes but also individuals who engage in repetitive activities for work and play. Running, cycling, and other exercises done at a level greater than tissue capacity over prolonged periods can cause tissue breakdown leading to pain and inflammation. It's important to listen to your body and give yourself adequate rest and recovery and consider adequate load management to prevent overuse injuries. A simple way to ensure you don’t overdo it is by paying attention to your pain. Activity induced soreness should ideally be gone within 60 minutes to 24 hours post-activity. If it is not, you don’t have to necessarily stop doing the aggravating activity, but rather do less until your pain subsides, or your activity level is equal to your tissue capacity.

Underlying Medical Conditions

Underlying medical conditions, such as osteoarthritis, piriformis syndrome, mechanical low back pain, femoral acetabular impingement (FAI), hip labral dysfunction, sciatica, tendinitis, facet arthropathy, discogenic pain, radiculopathy, sacroiliac joint (SIJ) pain, as well as hip bursitis, may all result in hip pain. These conditions can result in limited mobility, pain that radiates to the back, front, and side of the hip, and sometimes down the leg. Seeking medical advice and treatment from a physical therapist such as those at REP Physio is essential to manage these conditions effectively.

Understanding the various causes of hip pain is crucial in finding the right solutions. Whether it's improving your posture, incorporating regular stretching and strengthening exercises, or seeking medical treatment, addressing the root cause of your hip pain will help you find long-lasting relief and improve your overall quality of life.

Ergonomics and Hip Health

One of the key contributors to hip pain while sitting is poor ergonomics. When your workspace is not properly set up, it can put unnecessary strain on your hips and other parts of your body. To improve your hip health, consider investing in an ergonomic chair that provides proper lumbar support and promotes a comfortable sitting position.

Additionally, make sure your desk and computer are at the correct height to avoid unnecessary strain on your hips. When it comes to people with hip joint mediated pain, it is often worse when you sit with your knees higher than your pelvis. This pain can often manifest with pain in the deep anterior groin area.

A simple way to think about this posture is the “coffee test”. If you were to spill coffee on your thigh, those people with joint related pain may find more discomfort if their thigh is positioned in a way that the coffee trickles towards the groin. Conversely, they would feel better if the coffee trickled towards the knee (knee lower than the pelvis).

Stretching and Mobility Exercises

Incorporating stretching and mobility exercises into your daily routine can do wonders for your hip health and can improve your range of motion. Simple exercises like hip flexor and outer hip stretches, hamstring stretches, and glute bridges can help loosen tight muscles, improve strength and flexibility, and potentially help alleviate lower back pain. Performing these exercises regularly and listening to your body to avoid overexertion is also important.

Breaks and Movement Strategies

It's important to take regular breaks and incorporate movement and postural changes into your daily routine. Stand up and stretch every 30-45 minutes if your job is sedentary. If you’re having trouble doing this, set a timer on your desktop or phone. Remember to take short walks during your breaks or try sitting on an exercise ball to challenge your core muscles. Remember, small changes can make a big difference.

Tips for Improving Your Posture to Alleviate Hip Pain

While there is no such thing as perfect posture, your best posture is your next posture. Said differently, frequent postural changes throughout your day, whether seated or standing allows for a better distribution of load and stresses through your Staying in one posture for too long of a period can cause pain in various areas of the body, including the hips. This pain is rarely indicative of tissue damage, but rather is your body’s way of telling you to move around.

Benefits of Physical Therapy for Hip Pain

If you're experiencing hip pain, seeking the help of trained physical therapists at REP Physio can help provide significant relief from pain, as well as an understanding of your pain’s root causes. Massage therapy can also help relax tight muscles, improve blood circulation, and reduce joint pain and muscle pain. Our trained therapists will tailor their techniques to address your specific needs, providing a personalized treatment plan that focuses on relieving hip pain and promoting overall wellness. 

Read our blog about the benefits of physiotherapy

Heat and Cold Therapy

Heat and cold therapy can also be effective in alleviating hip pain. Applying a heating pad or warm compress to your hips can help relax muscles, reduce stiffness, and increase blood flow. Conversely, using ice packs can numb the area and provide temporary pain relief. Remember to always use a barrier, such as a towel, between your skin and the heat or cold source to prevent injury. We are often asked what works best, heat or cold, and the answer is simple: whatever works best for you.

Professional Guidance and Consultation

If your hip pain persists or worsens despite your efforts, it's crucial to seek professional guidance. A physiotherapist or healthcare professional with a knowledge of hip injuries can evaluate your condition, provide a proper diagnosis, and develop a tailored treatment plan to address your specific needs. Rarely, they may recommend further tests, such as X-rays or MRI scans, to determine the exact cause of your hip pain.

Evaluating Lifestyle Factors

In addition to the strategies mentioned above, it's important to evaluate lifestyle factors that may contribute to hip pain. Are you maintaining a healthy weight? Are you engaging in regular exercise and staying active? Are you sleeping well? Are you managing stress? Are you managing medications appropriately if applicable? What is your alcohol consumption. By reflecting upon and addressing these factors you can improve your overall health and reduce the occurrence of hip and other muscle and joint pain.

Creating a Hip-Friendly Workspace

Last but not least, create a workspace that supports your hip health. Invest in an adjustable desk that allows you to alternate between sitting and standing. Use a footrest if indicated to reduce pressure on your hips and promote proper posture. Position your computer monitor at eye level and ensure there is adequate lighting to reduce eye strain. By making these small adjustments, you can create a hip-friendly workspace that promotes your overall well-being.


In conclusion, sitting smart and finding relief for hip pain is within your reach. By understanding the causes of hip pain, implementing proper ergonomics, incorporating stretching and mobility exercises, and seeking professional guidance, you can alleviate pain and improve your hip health. Remember to listen to your body, take regular breaks, and make necessary adjustments to your workspace and lifestyle. With these strategies, you can make great strides in conquering hip pain and enjoy a healthier, more active lifestyle.

Hip Pain Relief at REP Physio

Choosing REP Physio means opting for a path toward hip pain relief. Beyond symptom management, we are dedicated to equipping you with the knowledge and tools to prevent future issues and maintain a healthy, pain-free lifestyle. Our experienced team of professionals understands the intricate nuances of hip health. We can create a customized plan that suits your unique needs and goals by employing a comprehensive approach that combines evidence-based physiotherapy techniques with personalized care.

As a multidisciplinary rehabilitation clinic, we offer various services to complement your treatment plan. For instance, our trainers can develop structured workout strategies to assist with your hip problems. Our dietitian can provide you with tips on a proper diet and better manage your relationships with food. Our psychologist can provide you with strategies for stress and pain management. Additionally, alternative treatment approaches, such as acupuncture or massage therapy, may provide additional benefits.

Experience the transformative impact of our personalized care and regain the freedom to move comfortably and confidently. Your journey to hip pain relief starts here with a team dedicated to your well-being. If you live with chronic hip pain, hip arthritis or any other hip condition and seek support or guidance, the REP Physio team would be happy to assist you. Book your session now and embark on a path to a healthy and improved quality of life.

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