The key to finding hip pain relief is not a carefully-guarded secret. In most cases there are plenty of things that can be done to alleviate hip discomfort and pain without signing up for surgery or committing to another chill-inducing treatment such as joint injections. The type of treatment or combination of treatments that works best for you will depend heavily on the underlying source of your pain. For instance, the most effective treatments for an injured hip, pregnancy-related pain, and arthritis will differ from one another; therefore it is important to seek out the appropriate treatment options for your specific circumstance. Some pain management options can even be detrimental to the healing process if the applied treatment does not correspond with the injury. So for example, immobilizing a pelvis that is recovering from a month-old strain could prolong the recovery process because at this point the joints would benefit more from stretching and muscle strengthening, or physical therapy.
The following five tips can be used to relieve hip pain caused by several of the most common ailments to affect this section of the body. If you have not spoken to a doctor about your condition then it would be wise to do so before pursuing activities such as exercise, sports, or even intense stretching.
1. Make Lifestyle Changes According to Your Condition
As mentioned earlier, it is important that you understand the cause behind your discomfort in order to be able to pursue a treatment plan that will work. If you cannot pinpoint the circumstances responsible for the pain, such as a sports-related impact or even pregnancy, then you should visit a doctor to get a professional diagnosis. Understanding your condition will be the best way to determine what types of changes will need to be made to your everyday life in order to ease the pain in this joint. One effective lifestyle changes involves the avoidance of certain actions or movements that have triggered a repetitive strain injury. Many activities can cause repetitive strain to the hip, such as dancing, running, cycling, standing and/or sitting for long periods of time, and even using poor posture while sitting, sleeping, or standing. Other helpful lifestyle changes can include stretching regularly to open the joint area and release bunched muscles or taut ligaments and doing hip strengthening exercises.
If your pain comes from standing for long periods of time then your condition may be the result of wearing poor or unsupportive footwear. In this case, you should look into buying shoes or even sole inserts that provide an even balance of support between the pads, arches, and heels of your feet as well as your ankles. The way that your feet channel and disperse your bodyweight can have a direct effect not only on your hips but also your lower back. Hip pain can also develop sporadically or on a chronic basis for individuals who are overweight. Pelvic issues tend to crop up more in individuals who are significantly overweight or who have put on a great deal of weight in a small amount of time, particularly in the belly and lower-body regions. Losing weight and adopting a low-impact exercise routine could be the answer to alleviating pelvic discomfort for good.
Pregnancy also calls for many lifestyle changes, some of which will be necessary simply to bring about pain relief from pressure caused by the weight of the fetus, placenta, and excess fluids. Hip pain in this regard is often caused by the round ligament, which is a thick cord of muscle-like fibers that anchors the uterus to the pelvis. As the uterus expands to accommodate the growing fetus, the round ligament becomes looser than usual which also makes it more susceptible to strain and over-stretching. Instead of lengthening and retracting slowly, some movements can cause the round ligament to make a fast slingshot action which results in sharp or jabbing pain in the hip and even down the side of the groin (near the panty line). This condition requires that you make slow, purposeful movements and you may even find it necessary to wear a support band for your hips and stomach.
2. Alternate Between Over the Counter Medications
At times it may be necessary to use over the counter medication to manage pelvic pain. NSAIDs, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, are the most recommended medication for joint pain because this type of drug reduces swelling caused by inflammation. This is especially helpful for individuals suffering from arthritis, bursitis, inflamed ligaments, or tendonitis. NSAIDS, like ibuprofen and naproxen, are highly effective and long-lasting but prolonged use can also lead to the development of stomach ulcers. Also, your body may build up a tolerance to this medication making it work less effectively the longer you take it. The best way to avoid this medicine plateau is to alternate between taking NSAID (Motrin and Advil) and acetaminophen (Tylenol). Acetaminophen is also an effective painkiller but it does not contain the anti-inflammatory properties that are found in ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin.
3. Use Heat or Ice Therapy for Flare-Ups or Injury
Whether the injury to the hip is an old one that likes to flare-up on occasion or is a newly-developed issue such as a muscle strain, hot and cold therapy could help to reduce swelling and discomfort. For a fresh injury, you should initially put an ice pack on the hip at 20 minute intervals for about two hours. This will reduce swelling and help to numb the area, which also provides a temporary reprieve from discomfort. During this time, you should immobilize the hip and allow the area to rest for the next 48 hours. Old injuries tend to respond better to heat therapy, which encourages taut muscles and ligaments to lengthen and relax. An electric heating pad works great for this purpose. You could also make your own hot pack using dried lentils or rice and a moist tea towel. Put the rice into the slightly moistened tea towel and wrap it up to secure the rice. Place this into the microwave for about 30 seconds or until the heat pack is warm.
4. Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise can help to strengthen the supporting muscles in the thigh, groin, hip, and lower abdomen – all of which are necessary in order to stabilize the hip joint. If your hips tend to ache after physical activity then you may be suffering from underdeveloped muscles. Stretches and strengthening exercises will not only stabilize your core and pelvic areas but they will also increase your endurance and allow your body to meet the demands that you place upon it. If your pelvis has suffered any kind of serious injury or trauma in the past then be sure to discuss any possible exercise limitations with your doctor before undertaking a serious exercise regimen.
5. Rest Your Pelvis
Sometimes the best course of action for hip pain is good old-fashioned rest. The pelvis is tasked with the burden of carrying the weight of your entire upper body. This is not an easy feat and sometimes the joints in this area will scream out in protest because they are being overtaxed. Try holding off on strenuous activities, particularly those that require a lot of pelvic movement, until you see an improvement in your condition. Also, make sure that you are able to take a 15-minute break for every two hours of standing or sitting that you must do. During this time you can stretch and change position which will prevent nerves from becoming “trapped” and reduce excessive joint wear and tear.