How To Find Relief From Hip Pain After a Car Accident

Suffering from hip pain can be an excruciating, even debilitating, experience, especially when it is the result of a car accident.

Maybe you already know the cause of your pain and you’re looking for ways to get relief. Maybe you’ve been searching for answers to what could be causing the pain in the first place. 

What you do know is that you want answers and you want to go back to living pain-free. 

We’re happy to help you get on the road to recovery by offering our knowledge about hip pain after a car accident. Continue reading to learn about causes, treatments, and more.

Table of Contents

hip pain after car accident

What Causes Hip Pain After a Car Accident?

Even the smallest car accidents can cause injuries or issues throughout your body, but if you’re dealing with persistent hip pain after a car accident, you want answers and relief. 

There are a variety of reasons you could be dealing with hip pain after a car accident – below we discuss the most common causes.

#1: Compression

If a driver or passenger realizes that a car accident is going to occur, they may prepare for the collision by bracing their legs on the floor of the vehicle. This interaction can cause compression of the hip joint to occur.

A compression injury can also occur during a car accident when there is a sudden impact or force to the hip joint, like if the hip hits the dashboard or door of the car.

#2: Sprain

While hip sprains aren’t super common due to the depth of your hip joint, they are possible. Sprains are ligament injuries. Ligaments are tough bands of fibrous tissue connecting bones to bones and stabilizing joints.

When these ligaments that support your hip joint tear or stretch, you experience a strain. Hip sprains may occur during a car accident when your body is … 

  • Twisted
  • Turned; or
  • Jolted

… suddenly. 

If you’re dealing with a hip sprain, you may experience a reduced range of motion, pain, tenderness, and weakness in the muscles surrounding your hip.

#3: Strain

Hip strains occur when the muscles that support your hip joint are stretched beyond their limits, or when they are torn. They are very common hip injuries after a car accident. Similarly to a compression injury, if anyone in the car anticipates the car accident, they may use their hip muscles to brace themselves during the crash. 

When this happens, the muscles get stretched and moved beyond their limits – generally because of the forces involved during an accident.

Those with a hip strain may find that laying on their side, walking, sitting, standing, or even playing sports may cause discomfort and pain.

#4: Bursitis (Inflammation of Hip Joints)

Bursitis occurs when the bursa – small jelly-like sacs that provide padding around bones and joints – becomes inflamed. 

When in a car accident, the sudden impact can cause the bursa to become irritated and inflamed. When this happens, a person may experience hip: 

  • Pain
  • Tenderness; and 
  • Stiffness 

The pain is often referred to as sharp and intense when it begins but may feel more “achy” as time goes on.

#5: Labral Tear

A hip labral tear is often an unrecognized injury – and the cause of hip pain – after car accidents. 

The labrum is the nerve-filled, elastic tissue lining the hip socket where the ball of the thigh bone fits into the hip. 

After a serious car accident, the labrum can be torn because of the impact of the accident. When this happens, sufferers often deal with pain in the: 

  • Front of the hip 
  • Groin; or
  • Side of the hip

Oftentimes, the pain worsens during activities like walking, pivoting, or running.

#6: Impingement

Depending on how your body is positioned during a car accident – ie: if you’re sitting in the car and turn right before the accident – force may be put on the joints of your hip, pinching the joint capsule together. 

This is known as hip impingement. When hip impingements occur, the pain is often so severe that it feels like your hip is broken.

How Long Does Hip Pain Last After a Car Accident?

How long hip pain lasts after a car accident will vary based on the type of injury. Some hip injuries take longer to heal than others.

 Depending on the diagnosis and severity of the injury, some people may feel better after a few weeks, while others may require more time and treatment to relieve the pain.

How Is Hip Pain After a Car Accident Diagnosed?

Diagnosing hip pain can be difficult, especially because many of the affected areas are so close together in the body. Experienced health practitioners, like the team at Cascade Spine and Injury Center, can help to provide a diagnosis. 

Your healthcare professional may order imaging via MRI, CT scan, or x-rays to help diagnose the ailment causing your pain. X-rays may reveal any fractures or dislocations, while CT and MRI scans provide images of the soft tissues, like the muscles and ligaments. 

Your provider may look at the kinetic chain, specifically involving the hip, to check for any abnormalities that the car accident may have caused. 

Your doctor will also perform a physical examination. During this examination, they will assess the range of motion of the hip, look for signs of tenderness or swelling, and evaluate your gain and balance. 

During this assessment, your doctor may also ask for more information about the car accident, like: 

  • Where you bracing before the collision?
  • How was your body positioned at the time of impact?

Once the cause of the hip pain has been identified, the doctor can recommend a treatment plan.

hip pain after car

What Does Chiropractic Treatment Look Like for Hip Pain After a Car Accident?

Chiropractic treatment for hip pain after a car accident typically involves a combination of … 

  • Manual therapies
  • Exercises; and 
  • Lifestyle modifications 

… aimed at reducing pain, increasing the range of motion, and restoring function to the hip joint.

While Chiropractic care can be extremely beneficial for hip pain after a car accident it is important to note that not all chiropractors address extremity issues that could be causing your hip pain – many focus strictly on your spine. 

At Cascade Spine and Injury Center, we specialize in safe and successful chiropractic treatment for all types of automobile injuries – including those that are causing hip pain. 

Dr. McClaren, a specialized chiropractic physician, provides targeted treatments designed to not only overcome your injury and pain but improve your quality of life.

Some of the most common treatments for hip pain after a car accident are: 

  • Electric Muscle Stimulation 
  • Ultrasound therapy
  • Joint Distraction
  • Chiropractic adjustment
  • Exercise therapy

Electric Muscle Stimulation

Electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) involves sending electrical impulses through the skin. During EMS, electrodes are placed on the skin over the affected muscles, and a low-level electrical current is delivered to the area. 

These impulses cause the muscles to contract and relax, potentially improving circulation, reducing inflammation, and promoting healing.  

Electric muscle stimulation is sometimes used to treat hip pain after car accidents, specifically when the pain is caused by muscle spasms or strains. Your healthcare provider can control the frequency, intensity, and duration of the impulses based on your unique needs.

 While EMS can be an effective treatment for some types of hip pain, it may not be appropriate for all patients or all causes of hip pain. Always talk with your medical professional about any concerns you may have regarding EMS treatment for hip pain after a car accident.

Ultrasound Therapy

Ultrasound therapy is a non-invasive treatment that uses high-frequency sound waves to stimulate blood flow. This may result in reduced pain in soft tissues such as muscles, tendons, and ligaments – including the hip. 

Ultrasound therapy can be an effective treatment option for hip pain after a car accident, particularly when the pain is caused by a soft tissue injury.

During ultrasound therapy, a handheld device is placed on the skin over the affected area, and high-frequency sound waves are transmitted to the underlying tissues. These sound waves cause the tissues to vibrate.

Joint Distraction

Hip distraction is a mobility technique that involves stretching the hip joint to create more “space” inside of the joint complex, reducing inflammation and pain while also potentially improving overall joint function. 

During a hip distraction, your healthcare provider stretches the hip joint. This can be done manually, with the healthcare provider using their hands to apply pressure, or mechanically, using a specialized device that applies a controlled amount of force to the joint.

Chiropractic Adjustment

Once any inflammation of the hip (or other affected areas) has gone down and you can properly use your hip, your provider may recommend chiropractic adjustments to help relieve hip pain after a car accident. 

Chiropractic adjustments are an important aspect of treatment for hip pain because it helps ensure the proper range of motion of the hip. 

Your chiropractor will also examine your pelvis and lower back to ensure proper motion and alignment. If there are any joint restrictions, the mechanics of your hip can be altered. Chiropractic adjustments can help provide knowledge of the mechanics and optimal healing of the hip.

Exercise Therapy

When dealing with hip pain after a car accident, exercise therapy can be a crucial part of recovery. 

Depending on the extent of your pain and your medical history, exercise therapy can be an effective, non-surgical way to overcome hip pain after a car accident. 

Exercise therapy for hip pain after a car accident may involve learning strengthening exercises, stretches, and movements.

hip pain after

Find Relief From Hip Pain After a Car Injury at Cascade Spine & Injury Center

Going through a car accident is traumatic enough – add in an injury and you’re stressed and in pain. 

If you’re dealing with hip pain after a car accident, you don’t have to suffer in silence. 

You shouldn’t have to suffer at all. 

Instead, let our professional healthcare providers help. 

At Cascade Spine & Injury Center, our top priorities are helping you overcome your injury and get back to living your life pain-free.  

We tailor our treatment plans to your unique needs. These treatment plans are constantly changing as the patient progresses through their care and the level of pain decreases. 

As a licensed rehab and exercise therapy clinic in Portland, we aim to help every patient restore and maintain physical, emotional, and mental healing.


The content in this blog should not be used in place of direct medical advice/treatment and is solely for informational purposes.

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