Hip pain can have many different causes but as we age the most common cause by far is wear and tear. This is called osteo arthritis of the hip, or just hip oa. The ligaments that hold the bones together degrade as do the tendons that hold the muscles to the bones. The bursa’s that help the muscles glide past each other become inflamed and start do the opposite instead, making movement harder. The joint surfaces become roughened and can feel clicky or grindy as they move.
There are a lot of available therapies for osteo arthritis of the hip but few are very well proven, and none yet seem to be able to reverse the clock on joint degeneration. The one really successful therapy is the hip replacement, a very smooth treatment currently but certainly not for everyone. Drug therapies include pain killers, like low doses of panadol, which can make a difference in the day to day level of pain perceived. At home it may be useful to heat muscles with a wheat bag or hot water bottle. Using an old tennis ball or squash ball (never a cricket ball) to release muscular trigger points can make a big difference. A gentle exercise program like yoga or pilates where movements and joint angles are supervised will also help with symptoms and keep joint structures healthier longer.
Therapies like massage and chiropractic treatment can help control symptoms especially during flare ups. Restoring proper movement to the limb with proper exercises can take the strain off overused muscles and cartilage surfaces. Stretching the joint surfaces away from each will lessen the pain felt at the joint and a firm thumb in the right muscle always make a difference.
If you think your hip is a few years away from replacement time but it’s still having too many bad days come and see a chiropractor and get an opinion.