Like back pain, hip pain is very common and will affect most adults at some point in their lifetime. You may think the best options for treating hip pain involve rest, pain meds, and physical therapy. These therapies help but may not fully address the core issues that contributed to your pain. To address these underlying factors, it is important to seek out chiropractic treatment for your hip pain.
The Hip Joint
While there are other types of hip pain, the most common type originates in the hip joint. The hip joint is a bowl-shaped depression where the femur (the long bone of the thigh) connects to the pelvis. It is one of the largest joints in the body and has a wide range of motion. This range of motion is supported by a thick ring of cartilage called the acetabular labrum. This cartilage deepens the pocket that the head of the femur sits and rotates in. The femoral head has a thick layer of cartilage protecting it to prevent painful bone-to-bone friction. Synovial fluid fills the joint and keeps the cartilage lubricated to ensure smooth movement.
Being highly mobile, the hip joint also needs a lot of support. There is a ligament between the pelvis and the head of the femur that helps hold the bones together. There are other tendons and ligaments that provide structure around the joint that connect to various muscles. The muscles of the groin and thigh provide motion and help protect the hip joint from injury.
What Causes Hip Pain?
The hips are an important weight bearing structure in the body. They support the upper body and helps absorb shock during activities like walking, running, and jumping. But the hips rely heavily on the muscles of the core, back, and legs to function properly and without pain. Some of the most common causes of hip pain come from injuries, age, and degenerative diseases.
Hip injuries can take different forms. There are the obvious types of injuries caused by an impact, be it from sports or a traffic accident. This might cause breaks or fractures in the bone. Impact injuries can also cause tears in the cartilage, muscles, and other connective tissues surrounding the joint.
Other types of injury to the hip joint often come from overexertion, overuse, or fitness deficits. Overexertion or overuse occurs when you engage in activities that are unfamiliar. This may cause the muscles to move more or in ways that they are not used to. This can cause tears in the muscles and irritate tendons and ligaments. Fitness deficits can also cause hip pain. If you have a weak core, back, or leg muscles it can cause other muscles in the body to have to work harder to compensate. This causes imbalances in muscle strength and mobility, resulting in discomfort and a loss of function.
It is a well-documented fact that as you age the condition of your joints can deteriorate. The daily wear and tear on the cartilaginous surfaces in your joints can eventually lead to discomfort and loss of function. The synovial fluid that keeps joint movement smooth can also diminish or thicken. As a result, movement becomes less smooth and your joints may feel stiff.
Degenerative diseases of the hip joint attack the structures, destabilizing them over time. How exactly these diseases attack the joints varies. The most common degenerative disease to affect the hips is arthritis. There are several different types that can affect the hips, they include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- Systemic lupus erythematosus
- Psoriatic arthritis
Hip pain can manifest in a lot of different ways. In many cases hip pain resolves within a few days with rest and pain meds. However, symptoms can come and go, worsen over time, or become disabling.
Common symptoms include:
- Pain when sitting, standing, or laying down
- Worsening pain with certain activities such as walking, running, or climbing stairs
- Reduced range of motion
- Pain in the hip or groin
- Swelling or tenderness over the hip
- Pain the extreme lower back/tailbone
You should seek chiropractic treatment if your pain does not resolve within a few days, is chronic, or has worsened over time. You should seek immediate medical attention if your pain is severe or accompanied by nausea, vomiting, or fever. While some injuries may at first appear to be minor, they can progress to a more serious injury or become infected.
How Can a Chiropractor Help?
Chiropractors take a multi-discipline approach to treating hip pain. They use a combination of therapies to tap into the body’s natural ability to heal itself to restore movement and reduce or eliminate pain. Therapies they might include in your treatment plan are:
When the spine is out of alignment it causes some muscles to weaken while others have to work extra hard to compensate. These imbalances in strength and mobility can pull the hips out of alignment. However, lifestyle and poor posture can cause a misalignment as well. When the hips are not properly aligned it leaves them vulnerable to injury. A misalignment of the hips can also cause spinal misalignment. You cannot treat hip pain without also treating the back. By adjusting the spine your chiropractor can restore normal function to your hips, restoring movement and reducing or eliminating pain.
Misalignment in the spine or hips leads to imbalances in muscle tone and strength. To allow the body to heal and prevent future injury these imbalances have to be corrected. With physical therapy the focus is on strengthening weaker muscle groups to restore balance. This allows overworked muscles to rest and heal, reducing swelling and pain.
Regenerative medicine harnesses the body’s natural ability to heal to repair damaged tissues. Doctors are able to do this by using stem cells. Stem cells are unspecialized cells that have the potential to become any type of cell in the body. When these cells encounter damaged tissue, they develop into whatever type of cell is needed to repair the damage. You are born with a certain number of these cells. They aid the body in healing quickly, which is why children often recover from injuries much faster. But as we age, we have fewer of these cells, and damaged tissues take longer to heal. By injecting these cells into damaged tissues your body can repair them. This can help to restore function to joints or tissues that have not responded well to other treatments.
Call Freedom Health Centers at (972) 542-3300 for more information about chiropractic treatment for hip pain.