Your Pain Pattern,
What Aggravates It,
The Underlying Anatomy
How to Get Relief,
How People Describe This Pain Pattern
These people complain of a band of pain across the top of their hips. I ask them to be specific. Is it all the way across? Is it a small strip in the middle? There are several patterns in this area that produce similar pain patterns. They open their fingers a few inches and, using both hands, trace a pattern of pain across the low back that extends across the sacrum and over the top of the hips.
At this point, I have them stroke an ice cube over the lower abdomen, just above the pubic bone. Then, I have them lay back on the table stretching their abdomen open and letting it close a few times. This could also be done with the bridging exercise show in the self-care post. They seem surprised when the pain is dramatically reduced or completely gone.
These people often have some fullness in the lower abdomen or have over-worked their abdominals with exercise. Some of them complain of intestinal distress, and some do not. I do not find it to be a predictable symptom as some texts indicate.
How You Activate and Intensify This Pain Pattern
These people have some stress to their rectus abdominus in the way of exercise, weight gain, surgery, motor vehicle accident, etc.
In older clients, I find that these people often have bloating or recent weight gain. That may have come from intestinal distress or constipation. It is common to see this after holidays, weddings, or bar mitzvahs where the participant is both active and over-eats.
In the more active bodies, this is often aggravated by over-exercising the abdomen. The obvious culprit is crunches, leg lifts, or other abdominal work but I have also seen this aggravated by activities like cycling or rowing.
This often follows an accident that twists the pelvis creating joint problems that perpetuate the trigger point. In that case, the back is often treated without success.
The Musculoskeletal Anatomy Behind Your Pain
Start by Understanding the Anatomy.
About the coloring of the illustrations…
This muscle fits into thick sheaths of connective tissue. Learn more in this post about the anatomy of the rectus abdominus.
Getting Relief on Your Own
This post has strategies for getting relief on your own. Explore how to change your activities, stretch, ice, and more to relieve the pain associated with this trigger point.
Therapy Notes for Massage and Bodywork
Through Shared Expertise
This post has techniques, tips, treatment routines, and anatomy illustrations to improve the bodyworker’s approach.
Support Integrative Works to
and produce great content.
You can subscribe to our community on Patreon. You will get links to free content and access to exclusive content not seen on this site. In addition, we will be posting anatomy illustrations, treatment notes, and sections from our manuals not found on this site. Thank you so much for being so supportive.
Does Your Shoulder Hurt From the Covid-19 Vaccine?
This post offers quick, lasting relief from the pain in your shoulder that came from the vaccine. You will need an ice cube and about 2 minutes.
Tony Preston has a practice in Atlanta, Georgia, where he sees clients. He has written and taught about anatomy, trigger points, and cranial therapies since the mid-90s.
*This site is undergoing significant changes. We are reformatting and expanding the posts to make them easier to read. The result will also be more accessible and will include more patterns with better self-care. In the meanwhile, there may be inconsistencies in formatting, content presentation, and readability. Until we get older posts updated, please excuse our mess.