The hip is the largest joint in your body, supporting most of your weight and helping you move and balance throughout the day. So it’s no surprise that when hip pain strikes, it can be debilitating to your everyday life. While you should always visit your doctor for chronic or severe pain, there are some hip pain treatments you can try on your own to find relief, whether it’s light exercise or a homeopathic remedy. Let’s explore some common causes of hip pain and delve into how to best treat hip pain.
Causes of Hip Pain
Many things can cause hip pain, from simple strains and sprains to chronic conditions. Here are some common causes of hip pain:
- Fractures. If you fracture your hip, you’ll likely experience intense, sudden hip pain. Hip fractures are more common as you get older due to falls.
- Tendinitis or bursitis. These conditions are both caused by inflammation. Tendinitis usually presents as a dull ache or stiffness in the hip, and pain from bursitis is usually noticed when standing or walking. This is the most common cause of chronic hip pain in women. The pain is often felt in the front part of the thigh or groin.
- Psoas Injury. Most people are unfamiliar with the term. The psoas is a rope-like muscle located deep in the belly, which runs obliquely from spine to the femur. The psoas is they body’s most powerful hip flexor and, when tight or injured, can cause pain and inhibit your regular exercise. Every time you lift you knee the psoas contracts, so you can imagine it is easily overused; especially if you are a runner.
- Injury or overuse. If you’ve over-trained as a runner, you may experience hip pain, which is why it’s important to safely increase your running mileage
- Sports hernias can cause frontal hip pain in women.
- Wear and tear. With age, the cartilage surrounding your hips can wear down or get damaged, or the muscles and tendons in the hip can become sore from overuse.
Ways To Treat Hip Pain
Know When To Use Hot Vs. Cold Therapy
Know when to use hot vs. cold therapy to treat your hip pain: chronic hip pain caused by conditions like arthritis will require heat. Soak in a warm tub or apply a hot compress. However, if you’ve recently injured your hip and it’s an acute injury (less than 6 weeks old) you’ll want to use cold therapy, by applying an ice pack or using a cold compress.
Start Your Day By Stretching
If your hip pain is from tight muscles or injury, start your day with light stretches and yoga poses like bridge pose to relieve your hip pain. Opening up tight hips at the start of the day can help keep you pain-free throughout the rest of the day, especially if your hip pain is caused by simple wear and tear.
If you have psoas or other hip flexor tightness, try crescent lunge on knee pose or other yoga lunges.
Strengthen Your Thigh Muscles
Your thigh muscles help support your hips more than you may think. Particularly if you suffer from arthritis, strengthening those thigh muscles will help support your hips more and hopefully lessen your pain. Try these exercises that strengthen the thigh muscles or add leg lifts and Pilates moves that target the hips and thighs into your exercise routine.
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Try Water Aerobics
When you’re dealing with hip pain, it’s best to avoid high-impact activities that put undue stress on your joints. Instead, change up your workout to make it low-impact. Swimming and water exercises are great for this, as are other low-impact forms of exercise like walking or yoga.
Find Out If Your Feet Are the Problem
Everything in your body is connected, and hip pain can sometimes signal problems with how you’re walking or the type of shoes you wear. If you’re a runner, make sure your shoes have adequate cushioning and support. Chiropractors can also help asses your gait—how you naturally walk—and see if you over-or-under-pronate your foot. Pronation is how your foot rolls inward when you walk and run, but if you over or under pronate it can cause hip issues.
This 3000-year old Chinese practice is used to treat a variety of ailments, from muscle pain to depression. Hip pain sufferers may consider acupuncture as an alternate therapy or something to explore to try and avoid hip surgery.
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Maintain A Healthy Weight
Carrying excess weight can contribute to hip pain, as your hip is a weight-bearing joint, and the more you have to support when walking and moving, the more strain you will put on your hip. Getting rid of excess bodyweight if you’re overweight can help lessen the strain put on your hips.