Hip pain is a common complaint we see at our clinic which can start suddenly or gradually depending on the cause of your symptoms. Identifying the cause of your hip pain and symptoms as early as possible can help minimise the impact on your life and daily activities. If you would like to know how an osteopath could help you with your hip symptoms, contact us today.
Different Types of Hip Pain and Problems
Hip pain can be acute and sharp or dull and achy and this can vary depending on the cause of your pain. There are several different structures that can produce hip pain, these can either be structures from within the hip or surrounding the joint or from more distally e.g. the lumbar spine which can refer pain into the hip area. Muscle imbalances, ligament sprains, osteoarthritis and bursitis are all common hip injuries that we see here at Bright Osteopathy.
The hip is a ball and socket joint that connects the lower extremity to the pelvis. It’s a strong, stable joint that enables us to be mobile and agile. As with other joints, the hip is surrounded by ligaments, tendons and muscles that help provide us with a large range of movement as well as control and stability. Our hip joint works hard in everyday activities such as sitting, standing, walking, running or jumping – all of our day to day activity requires this joint to be strong and flexible.
When a patient presents with hip pain, they commonly describe pain, stiffness or the feeling of instability and these symptoms can range from being mild to severe. Our osteopaths will ask you a range of questions about your pain and symptoms so they can give you an accurate diagnosis. This enables you to get you the best treatment for your symptoms as quickly as possible.
Common presentations of hip pain we see at Bright Osteopathy
Pain, bruising or swelling after exercise
After exercise you may start to notice pain and discomfort in your hip. Now, there are several reasons why these symptoms may be occurring, some of which could be because of muscle tension and tightness, due to arthritic changes within the hip joint or bursitis. These are all common hip issues that an osteopath can help with.
Pain and stiffness after not moving
This is most commonly due to osteoarthritis, but that isn’t the only possible cause of feeling stiffness and pain after being sedentary. Your age, activity level and reason for symptom onset would all need to be taken into consideration. Muscles that are hypertonic can also cause discomfort after being in a static posture.
Severe pain after a fall or injury
Severe hip pain after a fall or traumatic injury needs to be first examined by a doctor in case an X-RAY or further imaging is required. Only once these investigations have been done should you come to see whether an osteopath can help.
Pain worse when walking or after moving
Pain that is aggravated by movement can be debilitating and can make you apprehensive to move. Seeing an osteopath could help diagnose the cause of your pain and help get you back to your normal activities sooner.
Here are some examples of possible diagnoses for your hip pain, but this information is meant as more general advice. Our osteopaths take into account information from your case history and examining your body whilst you are both standing and lying down. It is only then once we have all the information can an accurate diagnosis be made.
This is quite a generalised symptom and it can be caused by many different structures from within the actual hip joint as well as from elsewhere in the body referring pain to the hip. Hip pain can be caused by osteoarthritis, muscle tightness, lower back injuries and ligament sprains.
The feeling of stiffness in the hip can be caused by either the joint or the surrounding muscles or a bit of both! If the muscles around your hip are working too much, they can become hypertonic which can lead to weakness. This could produce the sensation of stiffness.
Weakness or the feeling that your hip might give way is not an uncommon symptom that our patients report. There can be a few reasons for this symptom, most commonly it is due to arthritic changes in the hip joint. Weakness in the hip can also be because of lumbar spine issues, which is why our osteopaths will thoroughly examine not just your hip joint during your initial session.
Muscle strains including hamstring and groin strains are common injuries we see in the clinic. These most commonly happen through playing sport but they can happen in day-to-day life as well. Common symptoms are sudden pain which may be associated with a ‘popping’ or ‘tearing’ sensation, loss of motion, swelling and bruising.
Osteoarthritis can occur in any joint in the body but it does tend to commonly affects the bigger joints, such as the hip and the knee. Common symptoms include pain and a reduced range of movement which can be mild or severe. It is also worth mentioning that people can have osteoarthritic changes in a joint and have no pain or symptoms associated with it.
This is when there is inflammation of the bursa – a small fluid filled sac that helps reduce friction between the muscles / tendons and the bones. We have bursas in all of our joints, but the hip is commonly affected. Bursitis can be caused by overuse or repetitive use of a joint or from trauma, such a fall.
Hip dislocations are quite rare because the hip joint is inherently stable. For a hip dislocation to occur it usually requires a huge amount of force such as in a road traffic accident. Due to the nature of how these injuries occur, it is an uncommon injury for us to see in our clinic.
Causes of Hip Pain and Problems
There are several structures in and around the hip that could be the cause of your hip pain. Your pain could be being produced by soft tissues such as muscles, tendons or ligaments or by the joint itself e.g. because of osteoarthritis or because of referred pain coming from your lower back.
Your osteopath will take a thorough case history from you during your first appointment to establish what your current symptoms are, when did they start, is your pain improving or worsening and what other treatment / investigations have you already had. Taking a thorough case history helps our osteopaths get an in-depth understanding of your symptoms and how they are affecting you and your life.
Treatment of Hip Pain and Problems
How we treat hip pain varies on the cause of your symptoms. Osteopaths will use a combination of joint articulation, massage, muscle stretching and strengthening to help alleviate your hip pain. We will also examine other joints and areas of your body to see whether they could be contributing to your hip pain, such as your lower back or your knee. By helping reduce the stresses and strains being placed on the hip from other areas, it allows your body to function as optimally as possible and helps provide long lasting treatment results.
If your hip pain is caused by osteoarthritic changes, whilst the arthritic change in the joint is irreversible, osteopathic treatment can help keep the soft tissues (muscles, tendons, ligaments) more balanced and our osteopaths will provide you with tailored exercises to help strengthen your muscles allowing them to function as optimally as possible.
Can an Osteopath Help with Hip Pain and Problems?
Yes. Hip injuries and pain can quickly affect and influence your day to day activities. The osteopathic approach which uses a combination of massage and joint articulation to help alleviate your symptoms, allows you to get back to your normal activities as quickly as possible.
Our osteopaths are trained to look at other areas of your body that could be contributing to your hip pain and help these areas function as best they can. Western Acupuncture (dry needling) is a technique our osteopaths use and its aim is to release myofascial trigger points helping muscles relax, be less painful and improve their range of movement.
Our osteopaths will advise you on the best exercises to help stretch and strengthen the body to help prevent your symptoms from reoccurring in the future.