Our Iliotibial bands can speak to us in a variety of ways and volumes: through back pain, knee pain, hip pain.
This ligament, made of connective tissue, begins at the pelvis and extends down the outer thigh to the tibia in the lower leg. It crosses two major joints, the hip and knee. When the IT band has tension, it can cause issues with the muscles of the glutes, thighs and the areas connected to them (low back, knees).
IT band pain can come from too much activity or lack of activity. A lot of biking or running can tense up the IT band as much as too much sitting.
There are stretches that can be done at home that are specifically targeted to the IT band.
Along with these stretches, Chinese Medicine has some very effective solutions for IT band syndrome. Acupuncture needles can help to promote blood flow, release deep muscle tension, and treat both the symptoms and the root issue. Chinese Medicine manual therapy can work together with acupuncture to improve relief. Some manual therapies that I like to use are cupping and gua sha. Both help to reduce inflammation, further increase blood flow and range of motion, and release tension.
The next time you are experiencing body pain, consider seeing an acupuncturist for an assessment and treatment.
Britanie Kessler LAc. is an acupuncturist and herbalist at Wild Hearts Wellness in Portland, OR.