It hurts to stand. It hurts to sit. It hurts so badly you can’t sleep at night. It hurts so badly you don’t want to get out of bed in the morning. Twenty-five percent of all adults will develop hip osteoarthritis in their lifetime, according to The Arthritis Foundation. If you’re one of the millions who live with chronic hip joint pain, know that you don’t have to accept discomfort or adapt your lifestyle in a way that isolates you or leaves you unable to participate in your favorite pastimes. Read on to learn more about the spectrum of available treatment options for hip pain. Then talk to your primary care physician to determine what treatment option may be right for you.
What Causes Hip Pain?
One of the most common causes of chronic hip pain is hip osteoarthritis, a condition that causes a reduction and deterioration in the cartilage that cushions your joints, resulting in pain and mobility limitation. Other causes may include a hip fracture; bursitis, an inflammation of the fluid sacs between tissues such as bone, muscles, and tendons; or tendonitis, an inflammation or irritation of the tendons often caused by repetitive overuse.
Treatment Options for Hip Pain
Depending on the severity of your discomfort, your doctor may prescribe one of the following treatment plans:
- Medication for pain management. If your pain is mild, an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory, such as naproxen, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen may ease your discomfort. If your pain is severe, you may require a combination of a prescription pain reliever and an anti-arthritis medication, which may come in the form of a hyaluronic acid injection or a corticosteroid injection.
- Heat. Ice. Other treatment options for cases of mild discomfort include rest and a daily application of ice to the afflicted area for 15 minutes a few times per day. For some, heat provides more significant relief, especially in the form of a warm shower or bath that precedes stretching exercises.
- Physical Therapy. This treatment option can help to improve mobility and help you manage pain by strengthening the nearly 30 muscles that surround the hip joint. Your physical therapist will work with you to strengthen your hip muscles, increase your flexibility and range of motion, and decrease inflammation in and around the joint.
- Minimally invasive surgery techniques. Advanced arthroscopy procedures have successfully improved mobility and reduced pain for many without requiring invasive surgery. In this procedure, a surgeon makes one or two small incisions in the hip area to create access points for arthroscopic needles, scalpels, or other special surgical tools to enter and treat the affected area.
- Hip Surgery. In the most severe cases, your doctor may recommend hip replacement surgery. In this procedure, an irreparable hip joint is removed and replaced with a prosthesis, typically made of metal, ceramic or plastic components.
If you are living with mild to severe hip joint pain, talk to your doctor. He or she will work with you to explore the possibility of first attempting non-invasive treatment options, and will collaborate with you on a long-term solution to long-term pain management and healing.