in the hip can come directly from the hip joint itself or it may be
experienced in the hip joint as a referred pain from a problem
somewhere else. Referred pain is pain that travels along a nerve that
comes from the back. The referred sensation of pain is felt in an area
where the nerve travels or ends, but not necessarily from the point of
the back where the nerve is being pinched. On the other hand, pain that
comes directly from the hip joint can be from inflammation due to
injury (Sprains, strains, and fractures), arthritis, infection, or in
rarer cases, malignancy (cancer.)
One example of referred hip pain is a pinched nerve at the level between the fourth and fifth lumbar vertebrae. Pinching of this nerve commonly causes referred pain into the hip. The hip joint will ache or burn or may even experience sharp pain; however, the joint itself should not be overly tender to touch or swollen. Because the pain signal originates in the back, bending the spine to one side may relieve the pain while bending the spine to place more pressure on the nerve may worsen it.
True hip pain (pain from the hip joint itself) can be caused from an acute (usually accident related) or a chronic (usually arthritis related) condition. The treatment goal for an acute hip injury is first to control and reduce the swelling. After the swelling is controlled, the next phase is to help restore the mobility and return the proper function of the hip joint and leg. The goal of treatment of a chronic hip condition is to try and determine what caused the hip joint to become symptomatic, relieve or eliminate that cause, and rehabilitate the hip joint.
A Doctor of Chiropractic has the training and equipment needed to help determine if your hip pain is coming from a pinched nerve in your spine or directly from the hip joint, itself. For more information on referred pain caused by pinched nerves, please see this article: About Pinched Nerves
Acute hip injuries can be initially difficult to treat as the actual hip joint resides a few inches beneath the level of the skin. This makes it difficult to ice the area well enough to control swelling. Care must be taken not to extend the use of ice past twenty minutes to avoid the consequences of ice injury (frostbite.) Proper elevation of the area (elevating the joint above the level of the heart) is also a bit of a challenge. For instance, the use of a recliner is usually ineffective since a recliner will not allow the hip to be elevated above heart level. A better choice for elevation is bed rest by lying on the opposite of the hip injury.
Passive hip range of motion can also be very beneficial to reduce swelling. The application of passive motion is only to be done with an appropriate device or administered by a trained professional. Ask your chiropractor about the use of passive motion to help reduce swelling.
Chronic hip pain requires proper history, examination, and diagnosis to determine a course of treatment. A chiropractor can perform these procedures and will recommend a suitable treatment program for your condition. Your chiropractor may also outline goals and recommend changes in lifestyle to help reduce the chances of a re-injury and to better manage your present complaint.
Adjustive procedures can be made to a hip joint and other therapies such as short-wave diathermy and microwave (two methods to deliver moist heat into deep tissue, and massage can be used to help improve the hip joint. Stretching and exercises can also be added at the appropriate time to protect against future re-injury. Nutritional supplements may also be recommended. For instances, a proper uptake of calcium needs to be obtained by many senior citizens, especially women. Several spontaneous hip fractures could be avoided if bone density checks were checked during routine examines in the forth or fifth decade of life.
Hip problems whether acute or chronic can both benefit from supportive care. Proper exercise, stretching, nutrition, and support can all aid in your recovery and enhance your functionality. The goal is to stay active but not create pain in the joint. Pain generally goes hand in hand with swelling and swelling leads to bone loss in the joint (osteoporosis) create calcium deposits around the tendons and joint (tendonitis and arthritis) and reduces mobility. Your chiropractor will work with you with a number of recommendations to help you maintain mobility while minimizing joint irritation.