When you are stressed, both your emotional and physical health can suffer. People with trauma, stress or mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression often suffer physical symptoms as well. In all of this, there may be one common link: the hips. Neuroscience indicates that the hips are a potential storage vessel for emotions. Use this window into emotional healing to get the help you need to heal.

We hold trauma in our hips

What does trauma in the hips feels like? 

When we think of stress or trauma, we think of physical symptoms such as tension in the shoulders, increased heart rate, shallow breathing or clenched hands, and not necessarily our hips. But the majority of people suffer from hip pain, especially women. Trauma in the hips can feel like pain, tightness, tenderness or pulling. Each person’s trauma and experience is unique. 

If you are experiencing pain and stiffness in your hips, book an assessment and treatment with a physiotherapist at The Back Clinic.

Why the hips? 

The hip is the area on each side of the pelvis. The joint itself is one of the largest and most unique joints in the human body. It is responsible for supporting weight, stabilizing the core, and moving the thigh. The tighter your hips are, the less mobility your body has. This can cause pain and interfere with daily activities such as walking and climbing stairs. Tight hips can also cause anterior tilt of the pelvis, resulting in poor posture and misalignment of the head and neck. 

This shows how important the hips are to the function of the entire body. The pelvis is full of our creative and reproductive organs and contains the centrally located psoas muscle, which connects the upper and lower body (breathing and the diaphragm to the legs) and makes the core of our body both physically and emotionally important. 

Many types of pain can be associated with a dormant or tight psoas muscle, especially because it stabilizes the spine and affects posture. In this case, your lumbar spine may lose its natural curvature by becoming overly flattened or overly curved. In fact, poor posture is associated with depression, fatigue, stress and headaches. 

How to release trauma stored in the hips? 

  • Exercise – Whether or not there is an emotional connection to the tension in the hips, physical relief is often needed to alleviate the pain and discomfort. Light walking, yoga or swimming will get the muscles and joints moving and promote circulation and healing in the area. Gentle stretching for 5-10 minutes in the morning or at night before bed can relieve some of the tension. 
  • Physiotherapy – In most cases, physiotherapy is the most effective way to treat hip pain because of the combination of techniques used. Your therapist will determine the underlying cause of your pain and then focus treatment on what is necessary. This includes soft tissue massage, joint mobilizations, posture correction and lifestyle changes to relieve pain and stiffness and get you back to normal function as quickly as possible. 
  • Emotional healing – Emotional stress and trauma are processed by our brain through the production and release of hormones and chemicals. These chemicals enter our bodies from the brain and have physical effects on our muscles, organs and joints. To uncover emotional trauma, it may be necessary to speak with a mental health professional. Alternatively, you could keep a journal and note when you experience hip pain and what emotional triggers you experience during those times.


The good news is that hip pain is treatable. Dealing with the emotional causes of your pain, such as anxiety or depression, can help prevent future discomfort, but it’s critical to release the existing stored tension through movement. Physiotherapy releases tension, relieves pain and inflammation, and improves mobility.

Get on top of your pain by booking your appointment today.

References: Reference 1; Reference 2; Reference 3; Reference 4

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