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Understanding Hip Pain

The hip is the strongest joint in the body, with a collection of powerful ligaments, tendons and muscles holding the hip together and supporting a wide range of movements. Overcoming hip pain is critical to maintaining an active, independent lifestyle.

How Common Is Hip Pain?

While hip pain is not as common as lower back pain, headaches or migraines, and neck pain, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that about 7 percent of American adults are dealing with hip pain. For seniors age 65 and older, that number more than doubles.

While the knee is the largest joint in the human body, the hip is the strongest. The hip joint contains the iliofemoral ligament, the strongest joint in the body, which connects the hip to the femur, the largest bone in the body. The hip is a ball-and-socket joint capable of moving front to back and side to side and rotating in a circle. The versatility of the hip, along with the constant stress and pressure placed on your hips when you stand, sit, walk, run and jump, make your hips susceptible to different types of hip pain.

Types of Hip Pain

Hip pain generally falls into two categories – acute hip pain and chronic hip pain. Acute hip pain is typically caused by an injury or trauma. For example, we’ve all heard stories about an elderly person falling and breaking a hip. While pain from this type of accident is considered acute, people are often more susceptible to injury because of a chronic, degenerative condition.

Hip pain can come and go, but it can also turn into chronic pain that causes daily discomfort. Chronic pain in and around the hip joint is pain that lasts for an extended period of time. The key is to diagnose the root cause of your hip pain as early as possible instead of waiting for the pain to become unbearable. The longer you wait, the longer it takes to recover, and the longer the odds of a full recovery.

If you experience hip pain and notice swelling, fever, burning or loss of bowel function, see a doctor right away.

Causes of Hip Pain

The hip is capable of supporting up to five times your body weight, which is why hip dislocation, fractures, and strains and tears of the soft tissue can be so painful. Trauma from falls, auto accidents, sports injuries, and overuse injuries are common causes of hip pain. For younger people with healthy bones, the trauma would have to be extremely intense to break a bone or dislocate the joint. For older people with bones weakened by osteoporosis or osteoarthritis, for example, even a minor fall or accident is enough to cause serious injury.

Keep in mind that pain and injuries in other parts of the body (back, knee, feet, etc.) can cause you to compensate for those weakened body parts. This can lead to imbalances that affect the way you move, resulting in hip pain. Obesity and an inflammatory diet can also contribute to hip pain, which is why proper diagnosis and comprehensive treatment are critical.

Diseases and conditions that cause hip pain include:

  • Osteoarthritis, or soreness and swelling caused by inflammation and cartilage breakdown
  • Osteoporosis
  • Spinal issues, such as a pinched nerve or herniated disc
  • Gynecological or pelvic floor issues in women
  • Urological and gastrointestinal issues
  • Prostate cancer

Treatments for Hip Pain

For a mild strain, you might only need rest and ice to recover. However, beware of advice from people who suggest low-impact exercises, stretching, resistance training, or walking. Treatment should be based on the precise cause of your hip pain, not the treatment that seems to work for most people.

Conservative treatment is always preferred, but surgery might be the only option for severe injuries and chronic conditions. For example, a broken or dislocated hip will have to be reset. Once the area has healed, physical therapy and rehabilitation could help you regain your strength, flexibility and balance. However, serious injuries may require surgery to fix the problem and allow for proper healing. Total hip replacement is sometimes the best option when the structure of the hip has broken down due to osteoarthritis and other conditions.

Because hip pain doesn’t always originate in the hip, it’s important to have access to treatment techniques that target the root cause of the issue. For example, hip pain caused by nerve pressure or herniated discs in the spine can be treated with chiropractic care, while hip pain caused by inflammation and obesity can often be reduced through clinical nutrition and supplementation.

Did You Know…

  • The word hip doesn’t just refer to the human anatomy. At the turn of the 20th century, people started using the word “hip” to mean “aware” or “in the know.” During the glory years of jazz in the 1930s and 1940s, “hip” became a term for cool and fashionable.
  • The first hip replacements are believed to have been attempted in Germany in 1891 by a surgeon who used ivory, nickel-plated screws, plaster of Paris, and glue to replace the femoral head.
  • The first metallic hip replacement surgery was performed in South Carolina in 1940. Modern artificial joints are made of stainless steel, polyethylene, and acrylic bone cement.

Are You Experiencing Hip Pain?

If you’re dealing with hip pain, schedule an appointment at Natural Healthcare Center. Let us diagnose and treat the root cause of your hip pain so you can feel better, function better and live longer.

Flagship Office

10 West End Court
Long Branch, NJ 07740
P: (732) 222-2219
(732) 229-8863
Monday: 8AM-7PM
Tuesday: 8AM–7PM
Wednesday: 8AM–7PM
Thursday: 9AM–3PM
Friday: 8AM–7PM
Saturday: 9AM–1PM
Sunday: Closed

Middletown Office

9 Leonardville Rd
Middletown, NJ 07748
P: (732) 671-9005
(732) 671-9006
Monday: 9AM–8PM
Tuesday: 10-3PM
Wednesday: 9AM–8PM
Thursday: 9AM–8PM
Friday: 9AM–6PM
Saturday: 10AM–1PM
Sunday: Closed