Have you ever felt pain in your hips with every step you took, while sitting at your desk or even just lying on a couch or bed?
There can be many causes of hip pain, including arthritis, tears or injury to the cartilage in the hip joint, or bony deformities causing impingement. Other causes could be pain radiating from low-back problems or weakness of the muscles around the joint from tightness, causing loss of mobility of the joint.
Symptoms may include pain, which can be located in the groin area or around the lateral hip area. Another common sign is pinching in the anterior and/or groin area with movement.
You may want to be evaluated by a hip specialist if you experience symptoms such as:
- Stiffness or limitation of activity
- Hip pain during and after activity
- Pain in the hip and groin area provoked by motion
- Pressure or tightness
- Locking or catching sensation in your hip joint
How can you relieve hip pain?
There are several approaches to relieving hip pain, including taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain medicines such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, or resting. Using a combination of ice and heat; physical therapy for stretching, strengthening and balance exercises; injections; and surgery are other options that may be tried alone or in conjunction with one another to ease hip discomfort.
If you’re referred to work with a physical therapist, you’ll likely focus on a variety of strengthening, flexibility and mobility techniques. These can either be done post-surgery or as an alternative to surgery.
When should you see a doctor for hip pain?
I typically instruct people to seek medical help if their pain or symptoms persist for two to three weeks and doesn’t respond to self-care treatments such as rest, heat /ice or physical therapy. Or, if pain limits their ability to sleep and to do the things they want to do, then it’s time to see a doctor.
Be sure to talk to your doctor or physical therapist to create the best exercise program for you to prevent further injury.
Below, I demonstrate three simple exercises that can help strengthen muscles around the hips.
Chris Kolba is a physical therapist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.