Hip Pain Treatment
Our hip joint is comprised of 3 bones:
The top of the femur, the long thigh bone, called the femoral head, 'the ball'. (The femoral neck attaches the femoral head to the rest of the thigh bone).
Then two of the pelvic bones, called the ilium and ischium. These bones fuse together to form the round cup for the femoral head to sit in, called the acetabular fossa, or 'The socket'.
Other structures that make up the hip:
Thick dense ligaments (the hip capsule),
Large and small muscles
How can the hip become injured?
Direct, Indirect Trauma and Accumulative Trauma
The most obvious way any joint, especially the hip, can become injured is due to trauma. It can be direct blunt trauma like a tackle in Rugby or Aussie Rules, or less obvious is indirect or cumulative trauma, like jumping off a high tractor multiple times a month, repetitious training for triple jump as a teenager, or cycling high kilometres throughout the year.
Have a think about what you have done or do regularly that may have impacted your hip. I think you may be surprised how much cumulative stress you have put your hips under.
Misalignment of the Pelvis
The femoral head (the 'ball') sits inside the pelvis. When the pelvis is out of alignment it will affect how the hip performs.
As Chiropractors we assess pelvic alignment, and it's common for hip movement, function, and pain to improve with every re-alignment.
Structural or Functional Short Leg
If you have broken your thigh, leg, ankle or foot bones, often they will re-set so that the leg is shorter on that side.
If you have had surgery to assist with any fractures then sometimes on the surgery side that leg can be longer due to any hardware, such as screws or plates, used in the surgery.
This asymmetry will contribute to a dysfunctional gait (walking stride) and can accelerate or even cause hip problems. This is called a structural short leg.
If you have a pelvic rotation or asymmetrical pull of tissues around the pelvis, this can contribute to a functional short leg which will also effect the ball within the socket.
Conservative, or the least invasive methods, should always be the first option with hip pain. As Hippocrates said "Above all do no harm". Here are some conservative options people have found hip pain relief with:
A professionally prescribed exercise or functional movement program
Dry needling or acupuncture
More invasive approaches are:
Cortisone or other type of injections
Surgical: arthroscopy, replacement
Assessing the hip will include a number of tests, including but not limited to, postural and gait analysis, range of movement, orthopaedic testing, palpation, spinal and pelvis assessment and muscle testing. A plain film standing x-ray, ultrasound or MRI are incredibly useful tools in diagnosis too.
As Chiropractors we assess for alignment and correct movement patterns. We also look at the hip's alignment in relationship to the pelvis and the lower back. Too often the hip is simply the final straw that broke the camel's back due to the pelvis being out of alignment for way too long.
Lumbar alignment and movement should also be assessed as the nerves for the hips and groin exit from the lumber (low back) bones. If these bones are out of alignment, they can interfere with the nerves travelling to these areas.
Causes of Hip Pain
As can be seen by the list below there are many reasons you could be experiencing hip problems:
Degeneration / Arthritis
Many times, patients will have a number of the above issues and it's the combination of these factors building up that can contribute to rapid deterioration in the hip..
Our Office's Approach to Fix Hip Pain
After the initial assessment, and if necessary, you've had any further testing like imaging, we will explain your results to you. We will then recommend the best way forward for your hip pain solutions. Over the years patients with hip pain have experienced great results with the Chiropractic care we provide and the programs we create for each patient. If we are unable to help you, we will refer you to someone who is more appropriate. Unfortunately, the longer you leave hip problems, typically the worse they become, often without pain. Seek help sooner rather than later.
CLICK HERE on how to avoid common mistakes for hip pain sufferers.
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