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I think most of us have heard a popping, clicking or clunking sounds from our hips as we go about our movements. And most of the time, it is not usually even painful apart from the routine concerning checks at our hips then we move on.
You may have moved on, but I know a thought must have crossed your mind about why your hip had produced that sound.
There are basically two reasons that explain this phenomenon. Either it is a serious hip joint problem, or it is just a case of muscles and tendons snapping over hip joint bones.
The latter occurrence is often painless and normal, while the former course is serious and could lead to further damage. Sometimes, an urge to pop back the joint into place accompanies the pop sounds.
You, therefore, need to be well equipped on how to pop your hip when you feel such an urge. I have rounded off some of the techniques you can use to crack your hip safely. You should get some relief afterward.
What Is “Hip Cracking” And Which Bones Are Involved?
Have you ever cracked your knuckles? I bet you have at some point. And for those who haven’t, then it is the art of pressing on some joints on your knuckles. A cracking sound is produced in the process.
It is the same for the hip. If you press down on particular positions and joints, then the hips produce the common popping sound. When you do this, it makes you feel much better as pressure is relieved from the hip joint.
As you crack your hip, there are several bones and body parts involved. There are joints, bones, ligaments, soft tissues and the hip itself involved in hip popping.
When you crack your hip, the hip muscle or tendon transitions over your hip bones. It is this movement that emits the popping or cracking sound normally heard. As the tendons tighten, the nitrogen bubbles present in them pop hence the sounds.
Steps On How To Pop Your Hip
The good thing about cracking your hip is that it is something you can safely do by yourself. Best of all is that it can be done at home when you exercise. There are several methods of how it is done, each with its own sets of steps.
I must state here that the steps do change over time but generally follow the same principles
Method 1: Reclined Hip Stretch
1. This technique requires that you lie flat on your back. For this, you will need somewhere flat to lie on, preferably on a soft mat. After you have prepared the place, you then lie down.
2. Lie with your knees bent, while the feet remain on the floor (flat)
3. Cross your left leg over the right one such that your left ankle rests on the opposite knee. You can start with any leg; it does not have to be the left one.
4. In one swift movement, move one arm over the shin. The left arm moves over the shin as the right arm goes over the right shin.
5. Reach into the free space between your legs and use the free hand to grab your forearm.
6. Pull this leg towards you. You should feel a stretch on the buttocks as you pull the leg.
7. Keep repeating this pulling and releasing for about a minute and then switch to the other leg.
8. Repeat the same procedure for the other leg about three times.
9. As you stretch your hip area, you will hear an occasional pop and click of the hip joint as you increase its range of motions.
Method 2: Floor Sitting Hip Pop
1. Just as in the previous case, you need to prepare a clean flat surface on your floor. You should have sufficient space to move about. Adding a soft floor mat makes this method a lot more comfortable.
2. Sit on the floor mat with either of your legs extended out while the other one stays bent at the knees. Your two legs will be interchangeable such that when one is bent, the other one is extended.
3. Then, rotate your upper body (torso) towards your right as much as you can. In the process, use your hands to remain balanced and in position. Remain in this position for about a minute or if you can go for more, do so.
4. Now rotate to the left as much as possible like in the previous case. Stay in this position for about a minute or more, then return to the original pose.
5. Repeat the left and right twist of your torso for more than 5 times. You can go for more or less than 5 times; there should be no problem.
Method 3: Hip Crack On A Chair
This method is almost similar in principle to the previous two. The difference is that instead of lying on the floor, you will be sitting on a chair. Your hip rotation movements still remain the same.
1. Find a comfortable chair to sit on, preferably one with a backrest. Ensure that your feet are firmly on the floor as your shoulders and back remain straight.
2. Hold firmly on the chair with your right hand then rotate your torso to your right. The key to the success of the rotation is to keep your lower body from rotating as well. I would advise you not to force the rotation. It needs to be natural for better effect.
3. Change the hands holding onto the chair and rotate your upper body to the left this time. Overdoing the rotation will do you no good as previously stated.
4. If you can, repeat the body rotation both to the left and right about 10 times, then that would be better. But if you can do more then well and good as there will be fewer repeats.
Method 4: Hip Crack When Standing
This technique is a little different in that you will be standing and not lying on the floor or sitting on a chair.
1. Stand up straight in a room where you have enough space to twist and turn. To start it off, relax your body with your back straight.
2. Clench your fists then bend the arms at your elbow joint while holding out the hands in front. The fist clenching is just for gaining stability.
3. Rotate your upper body as far as possible towards the left. Stand firmly so that the lower body remains unmoved. The further you twist the body, the more likely you will hear a crackling sound but don’t overdo it.
4. Change the direction of twist, this time to the right. The lower body remains rooted to the floor. Repeat the previous step, as it is only the direction that changes.
5. If at the first go you do not hear a crack, continue the exercise regularly. At some point, you must hear the ultimate pop sound.
Method 5: Partner Assisted Crack
If you have a partner, he/she can help you pop your hip and get you some relief. Sometimes, this technique can be a little painful, unlike the rest.
1. Lie facing down a carpeted surface with arms on your side. Apart from the carpet, you can use a towel to provide the cushioning you need. Just don’t use a mattress or a cushion.
2. Without elevating your head with a pillow, shift your head to one side while still remaining comfortable. A pillow would expose your neck to injury.
3. Have your partner place one of their foot on your lower back (I would prefer the dominant foot).
4. Then instruct the partner to shift the weight of their body to this foot gradually. This step helps put some pressure on your lower back. It is imperative that the other foot remains on the floor so that the whole body doesn’t rest on you. If you feel any pain, tell him/her to stop.
5. Tell your partner to reach down for your hands and then slowly lift them upwards. Keep the arms strong and straight. Do not exert too much strain on the elbows to cause joint injury.
6. The range of flexibility of individuals varies, but as the foot stays on your back and the hands are pulled up, a crack should be heard after a while.
Health Tips When Cracking Your Hip
Cracking your back hip is generally a safe way of getting some relief when you feel your hip joint becoming stiff. The process is mostly not accompanied by any considerable pain. But if you start feeling any pains then stop immediately.
It Is Not the Same As Hip Realignment
Cracking your hip may not solve an underlying problem if you feel a consistent pain even after you have popped it. You may feel good and relief, but then if the pain persists, you need to seek immediate medical attention.
Perform Regular Stretches Alongside Hip Popping
Instead of relying on popping your back on occasions, you can perform stretching exercises regularly. They are effective at providing back relief and are less dangerous too. You could perform yoga poses or do basic stretches of your lower back.
Do Not Let It Become A Habit
I have seen instances where one’s body gets too used to the cracking activities. It then becomes too addictive such that without the cracking, your body feels ill. If it gets to such a point, the wisest thing to do is consult a chiropractor.
Snapping Hip Syndrome (SHS)
This is the condition that produces the popping sound or the snapping sensation in your hip area. It is the medical term used to describe the above described hip pops. The snapping is produced while you walk, get up from a chair or swing your leg.
Snapping Hip Syndrome results from the movement of a tendon or a muscle over the protrusion of a bony surface in your hip.
In as much as the snapping is annoying at times, it’s usually not painful and is also harmless. Although it might lead to a condition called bursitis. This condition causes swelling in the fluid-filled sacs cushioning your hip joint. The swelling is painful.
SHS is divided into three categories:
- Internal SHS: It occurs when the tendons and muscles move over bony structures at the front of the hip joint.
- External SHS: The movement typically occurs over the bones of the thigh, or the femur.
- Intra-Articular: This category is slightly different from the rest as muscle or tendon movements do not cause it. The snapping results from an actual hip joint injury or problem. It is caused by an injury to the cartilage lining or rings of the ball-socket joint of the hip joint.
Physical Therapy For SHS
Besides a medical procedure (which is recommended at times), you can get some relief from this condition by performing physical activities.
Here are some of the common exercises you can perform.
- Lean on your side against a wall with your affected leg and hip closest to the wall.
- Stand on this affected leg and then cross the opposite leg with the affected leg.
- Then, gently stretch your hip as you lean away from the wall.
- Hold the stretch for a couple of seconds and then repeat.
- Kneel on the affected leg and have the other leg in front.
- Straighten your back and then push the hips forward.
- Next, maintain the stretch until a slight tension develops in your upper thigh of the leg you are kneeling on.
- Hold the stretch for seconds, then repeat.
Hamstring Stretch While Lying Down
- Lay down flat on a flat floor
- Lift the affected leg upwards, perpendicular to the body
- Pull this leg towards your body. A slight tension starts to develop at the back of your affected thigh
- Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, then repeat it about thrice
- Lie down on your back with your knees bent on the floor
- Cross your affected leg over the unaffected one as you clasp your hands behind the good thigh
- Pull this thigh towards you until a stretch is felt in the buttocks and hip.
- Hold this for 30 seconds, then repeat for the other leg
I hope you have enjoyed reading and acting out this post on how to pop your hip. As you crack your hip, you need to be rational while at it. It has both benefits and disadvantages that you should be well aware of before proceeding.
As a disclaimer, the techniques described here are in no way medical. You need to visit a medical professional first to determine what exactly could be ailing your hip. But if you are in it just for the great relief, then well and good.