Troublesome Hips!

Whilst it is fair to assume as a chiropractor I see lots of people with neck pain and back pain I also see lots of patients with hip pain. Hip pain itself is a common problem and can affect patients of all ages.

The first job is to identify whether the pain is actually coming from the hip joint. This may sound obvious but pain around the hip area can be as a result of inflammation of the sacroiliac joint or referred pain from the joints of the low back. A detailed case history and physical examination should be able to identify the specific cause of pain.

So it is the hip joint…now what?

A lot depends on the age and activity levels of the patient as different conditions are more common amongst different groups of the population. For example, somebody under 40 who is particularly active may in fact only have trigger points in the gluteal musculature and this can be restricting normal hip range of motion. Tightness in hip flexors around the front of the pelvis can cause similar problems. In those who are over 60 who display pain and restricted movement of the hip joint osteoarthritis is one of the most common causes. Arthritis UK estimates that over 650,000 people in the UK have painful osteoarthritis in one or both hips.

What does a chiropractor do to treat the hip?

Chiropractic treatment for hip problems will primarily mobilise the hip joint with manual therapy techniques. If joint movement becomes restricted this is usually a response to try and prevent further damage and irritation to the joint. Whilst this is okay in the short term, if the joint remains restricted it often becomes more stiff and painful and so you have to get it moving again .My job as a chiropractor is to slowly mobilise the joint and loosen associated muscles, ligaments and other soft tissues to restore normal joint movement. As a chiropractor I try and view the body as a whole and so treatment for hip problems will often include mobilisation and/or manipulation of the pelvis and low back in addition to working on the hip joint. This is because when you move the hip, the joint does not move in isolation and foot, knee and hip movement all affect pelvic and spinal motion.

How many treatments will it need?

The question everybody asks first! Whatever the cause of hip pain, a course of chiropractic treatment can often resolve symptoms or at least offer some level of improvement. The number of treatments required depends on the cause, activity levels and lifestyle factors of the patient but as a rough guide, 6-8 treatments for younger patients and 8-10 treatments for older patients will usually bring good results. Of course some patients do respond to care faster than this and after a full case history and examination I can give a more accurate estimate of the number of treatments required.

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