Hip pain can be hard to define because so many people experience it. It’s also difficult to pinpoint the source of a hip issue since pain from areas near or around your hips, as well as inside your intestines and spine, may all show up on this area instead, which is known collectively as referred pain.
Hip pain is more common as you grow older. There’s a lot of wear-and-tear on this strong joint throughout your lifetime, but the reasons for why women tend to experience more hip pain than men are still unclear.
The pain in your hip may be due to a number of different factors. Read on for some tips about what you can do to help ease it, so that you don’t have to worry anymore!
Why is it important to manage hip pain?
If left unmanaged, acute hip pain can interfere with many daily activities. The same is true with chronic pain, but it has the potential to overwhelm your body and affect your quality of life. Agitation, poor sleep, and depression are just some of the consequences if it is left to linger.
Pain can also slow down physical therapy and recovery. The amount and type of hip pain can change during a treatment. There are cases where it might increase in intensity and frequency instead of it improving. You must inform your doctor, nurse, or physical therapist if pain is still bothering you, even after treatment has begun.
Understanding how to address hip pain can help you avoid seemingly negligible discomfort from transforming into something disruptive.
Why is it necessary to describe the pain?
Pain can manifest in many places. It can occur within or outside the hip joint, radiate from your groin or thigh, and in some cases, it can travel down to your leg or to the buttocks.
If the pain is localized in your hip or groin, chances are it’s coming from a problem with that area. If you have an ache outside of your hips, most likely this means there may be something wrong elsewhere – like in upper thigh muscles and soft tissues.
Your account of the hip pain you experience is a key detail in the diagnostic process. Monitoring the pain can also help determine whether the underlying disease or disorder is improving or deteriorating, and whether the pain treatment is working.
What are the causes behind hip pain?
As one of the biggest and the most commonly used joints in the body, there are several reasons for it to hurt.
Hip pain can be skeletal in nature. It can be from a fracture sustained or other bone deformity caused by an injury. A bone deformity you are born with can also cause hip pain. Meanwhile, a degenerative condition like arthritis can cause the hip joint to lose its cushioning cartilage so the bones end up rubbing against each other which can be very painful.
Problems with the structures surrounding the hip joint can also be another source of pain. Bruising or inflammation of the muscles, tendons, and ligaments around your hip area can make you feel uncomfortable. A pinched nerve within the hip joint could trigger a sharp and burning pain that might radiate to other areas.
Sometimes, hip pain can be something else entirely. The hip may hurt, but the problem is actually a ruptured disk in your spine, an abdominal hernia, or a gynaecological condition like endometriosis. Infections and cancer are also potential causes of hip pain.
Read: 5 Causes of Hip and Groin Pain in Soccer Players
What can you do with hip pain at home?
- Rest the right way. Learn to rest and keep weight off your hip for a while. Avoid direct pressure to the joint such as bending, sitting or lying on the affected side.
- Try over-the-counter pain relievers to help reduce swelling and inflammation. Be reminded that you have to use some medications cautiously because some can cause ulcers or other gastro-intestinal problems when taken regularly over a long period of time.
- Try hot and cold therapy. Applying a cold compress over the area 15 minutes several times a day, can help reduce swelling and pain. You can also try a warm bath or shower to help muscles stretch before you exercise.
- Gentle, low impact exercises. The key to keeping a hip problem at bay is to stay relatively active and to eat right. Walking, swimming, stretching and resistance training can help with chronic hip pain from arthritis. While this may seem counterintuitive, strengthening your leg muscles can be crucial in alleviating hip pain. These activities strengthen the legs muscles with minimal pressure on the hips. With stronger muscles, you provide better support, lessen joint stress, and reduce or alleviate pain.
- Lose those extra pounds. Shedding off even 5 to 10 pounds can reduce hip stress and pain. Being overweight is bad news for our hips and knees. The body can be very adaptable and can learn to hold different weights. However, it will come to a point where the body is simply not comfortable supporting the excess weight.
When should I see a doctor?
Medical interventions for hip pain
In any case, the first course of action would be towards non-surgical interventions to manage any hip pain issue. Pain medications and anti-inflammatory drugs will be initially prescribed. In some cases, your medications will include those that are needed to treat underlying conditions. For instance, antirheumatic drugs are given to manage rheumatoid arthritis. Furthermore, there are also patients who will do well with pain relief injections, such as corticosteroids, which are administered directly into the hip joint or surrounding tendons with the intent to maximise therapeutic outcomes.
Besides pharmacologic treatments, patients with hip joint pain may also do well with physical therapy and rehabilitation. These may include physical, aquatic, and posture therapies.
Besides the usual interventions, researchers studied other ways to manage pain. This includes treatments like nerve blocks, muscle relaxation therapy, acupressure, neurostimulation, gait retraining and traction.
There are a number of surgical procedures that can help relieve hip pain. With the advancing art of hip surgery, techniques such as bone removal, joint replacement, and transplantation become possible. Sometimes more than one procedure will be done during the same surgery and each has its own benefits, but not all patients qualify for every type of relief.
Surgery is advised when other non-invasive and minimally invasive options remain ineffective in addressing hip pain. A healthcare provider can help you understand the benefits and risks. This decision is a personal choice that requires careful consideration before going ahead with your final decision. Hence, you will need clinical advice from your doctor so you can be guided through this process.
A/Professor Andrew Quoc Dutton Orthopaedic & Sports Clinic Insurance
The A/Professor Andrew Quoc Dutton Orthopaedic & Sports Clinic offers minimally invasive and surgical treatments for sports-related injuries and orthopaedic conditions.
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