Hip Pain? Causes and Non surgical treatment options.
Updated: Mar 8
Approximately 72% of people over 65 have hip pain at least once in their lifetime. The hip is one of the most mobile weight-bearing joints in the body with some of the strongest ligaments, muscles, and tendons around it.
Do you have pain in the groin, upper thigh, buttocks, or hip?
Do you have clicking in your hip joint with pain?
Do you have pain in the hip area when you lie on your side?
Do you find it find it difficult to stand, walk, move your lower body, or experience pain early morning?
If you said yes to any of those, then hip pain may be one of the probable causes.
What Causes Hip Pain
Although there are many things that can cause you to have hip pain, here are some of the most common causes.
Muscle imbalances, ligament sprains, bursitis, and tendinitis are some of the common issues observed in adults resulting in hip pain. It can be caused due to a fall or accident (direct trauma), overuse, poor joint alignment, instability, or degenerative changes of the hip joint.
Did you know that knee pain is sometimes the only symptom of a hip issue?
Common Conditions That Affect The Hip Joint
Below are some of the most common conditions that can affect a persons hip joint -
Arthritis is one of the common causes of prolonged pain in the lower hip area. As we age, the protective lining (cartilage) at the ends of the bones in the hip joint gradually wears and disintegrates away.
The cartilage breakdowns causing the bones to rub against each other causing hip pain and stiffness and clicking sounds. Arthritis pain is commonly referred to as the anterior hip and groin area. In severe arthritic joints legs, there will be severe loss of joint range of motion, inability to do prolonged standing, walking, and navigating steps.
Greater trochanteric Bursitis and Iliopsoas bursitis are some of the common bursitis seen in the hip joint. Bursae are sacs of fluid found between tissues such as bone, muscles, and tendons and they act as cushions to reduce friction between tissues.
When the bursae become inflamed, they cause pain in the affected area with reduced movement. Injury, overuse, muscle imbalances, and arthritis are some common causes of bursitis of the hip joint.
Tendinitis is inflammation of the muscle tendons around a joint. commonly see tendinitis in the hip joint is IT band syndrome, Piriformis syndrome, iliopsoas tendinitis, gluteal tendinitis, etc.
Tendinitis can cause pain, referred pain to the low back and knee, reduced hip movement, painful joint motion, etc. Overuse, tightness, muscle imbalance, or faulty joint alignment are some common causes of tendinitis in the hip.
The cause of hip pain can be just one of the above conditions or a combination of conditions. Everyone is different. The cause of hip pain your friend has may be completely different from yours. It is important that your physiotherapist or chiropractor does a thorough assessment to identify the exact reason for your hip pain.
Effective non- surgical treatments For Hip Pain
Effective treatment for hip pain depends on an accurate diagnosis of the condition. Anti-inflammatory medication and over-the-counter drugs might help in alleviating pain in the first phase.
Proper Physiotherapy and Chiropractic treatments can help you get long-term relief from pain.
Physiotherapy and Chiropractic treatments may include the following:
Load management- Rest is not rehab! In fact, resting a joint that is already painful and stiff may lead to further muscle imbalances, weakness, and compensations especially in chronic cases. The key is to keep moving while avoiding any painful movement and activity. Depending on the cause of your injury, there are different resting positions and exercises that can help in relieving pain and stop it from worsening. Your health care provider should guide you with this.
Ice/Heat- Ice/Heat pack can help you with pain management. These can be applied with proper positioning repeated 2-3 times/day for about 15- 20 mins at a time.
LASER- LASER therapy can work best in acute injury by reducing swelling and promotes healing.
Shockwave therapy- It is a therapeutic modality that has shown to be highly effective with bursitis and tendonitis. It works by restarting the inflammatory process and breaking down scar tissues.
Sports Taping- Taping is used to protect painful movements and to assist weak muscles to perform better.
Acupuncture/Dry needling: This involves putting small needles into certain points in and around the hip joint to help with pain and muscle tension.
Mobilization- Joint mobilization can be used to reduce pain, improve joint mobility, and joint function.
Stretching and stabilization exercises – These exercises are designed to improve joint mobility by improving range in the intra and extra-articular structures such as joint capsules, muscles, etc. They also help to reduce/correct unstable or faulty joint movements which can cause pain. Exercises may involve simple stretching or movements with bodyweight or TheraBand.
Joint alignment and functional exercise- These exercises are designed for someone in the mid-phase of rehab to strengthen weak muscle and correct muscle imbalance to slowly recover movement and improve weight-bearing tolerance. It can range from simple exercises such as sitting, lying, and standing to compound movement exercises such as squats, lunges, and balance exercises.
Slowly return to normal activity- As your symptoms get better, your health care professional should guide you on how to incorporate your gains into your life and work. This will ensure a gradual return to work and to all your regular ADLs like walking, running, jogging, etc.
An imaging report of the hip shows degenerative changes in not an indication of surgery. It is recommended that you only consider any kind of hip surgery only after you have exhausted all non-invasive treatment options such as physiotherapy, chiropractic care, weight loss, etc.
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