Runner with hip pain


Every day I receive so many emails from people in pain. Unfortunately I can’t answer all of them because I can only work so many hours for free and I’m stretching my limit already.  One way I can do it is to add a message here and then respond as a blog post.

Yesterday I received this message and it has a problem that is so common to runners I think it makes a good topic of discussion:

I started having right sided hip pain/tightness after resuming running last year. The pain would come after a run and last a day or two and then I would run again. Eventually it would hurt during my run.
I bought your book, The Pain Free Runner and have discovered that it is my QL muscle. I applied pressure and the pain in my hip was gone!
My problem now is two-fold. First whenever I run the pain comes back(I’ve stayed under 3 miles every other day). Also whenever I use a tennis ball on the muscle, my hip pain goes away but I have pretty significant back pain afterwards. An achy feeling. Could I be pressing too hard? I’ve been doing QL stretch several times a day as well.

Thanks so much for your time!

So many times we look at the muscles that are the direct cause of pain, in this case the Quadratus Lumborum (QL for short) and many times just treating that muscle resolves the problem.  Unfortunately, especially in the joints from the low back to the knees, the problem is more than just one muscle. In fact, releasing one muscle can cause another muscle to get shorter.

This is the case with the QL. When you release the tension in your QL you give your gluteus muscles the ability to shorten even further, which will then pull up on your hamstrings and down on your posterior pelvis. There are so many muscles impacting each other that I suggest you read about them so you’ll have a better understanding.  I think your real problem isn’t your QL, but I think your QL is only contracted because your quadriceps and iliopsoas are pulling your pelvis down in the front and forcing it up in the back. This would cause your QL to contract. You would definitely have QL pain, but it’s caused by tight quads and iliopsoas.

The treatments for the Julstro Protocol are all in The Pain Free Runner but you’ll need to look for them. The page numbers shown in the thread are for my newer book, Treat Yourself to Pain Free Living which was written six years after The Pain Free Runner.

I suggest you do the treatments in order so you can get the most benefit out of the pelvis rotation.

Wishing you well,



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