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What’s Causing Your Hip Pain?

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Hip pain

Our hips serve a number of functions for our body; they keep us upright, allow us to bear weight, walk smoothly, run, jump, kick, and play. Because the hips are engaged in nearly every way we move, pain in this area can be an inconvenience for patients. Although hip pain is frequently the result of osteoarthritis or injury, it can also be a sign of other health conditions.

Inflammation
Hip pain can derive from the structures within the hip joint or from the structures and ligaments surrounding the joint. Within the joint itself, there is limited space for the femoral head to move in the socket of the acetabulum. If an injury or illness triggers inflammation, this space can become easily filled with fluid or blood, causing pain. Inflammation of the sac outside of the hip, the bursitis, can also be the source of pain. Bursitis is often the result of minor trauma or overuse.

Osteoarthritis and Inflammatory Diseases
Among older adults, osteoarthritis is the most common cause of hip pain. It involves a cycle of progressive cartilage loss and joint degeneration. Although this degenerative disease has no real cure, there are ways to slow its progression and prevent symptoms from worsening.

Overuse Injuries
Heavy wear and tear on the cartilage surrounding the hip joint can cause arthritis and inflammation. Routine daily activities that place stress on the hip can also cause inflammation of the muscles, tendons, and ligaments surrounding the hip. This type of pain can develop gradually overtime.

Trauma
Less subtle than overuse injuries, fractures and dislocations of the hip or pelvis are easier to diagnose since they frequently result from direct trauma and can be detected with an X-ray. In elderly patients, a combination of aging, brittle bones, and poor balance makes them susceptible to falls and hip fractures.

Referred Pain and Other Sources of Hip Pain
Often what patients describe as hip pain may actually be coming from a different part of the body. Some patients who experience pain in the lower back and hips may actually be suffering from dysfunction of the sacroiliac joints, or the joints that connect the sacrum to the iliac bones. Pain in the groin and hip can also be a result of a hernia, when the abdominal wall is torn or weakened.

How Chiropractic Can Help Hip Pain
Multiple studies have found that chiropractic adjustments are effective in relieving sciatica, a common cause of pain in the hip and lower back. In a study comparing the efficacy of chiropractic to surgery for sciatica, 60 percent of chiropractic patients with severe sciatica had substantially improved symptoms that enabled them to avoid surgery. Some patients with hip osteoarthritis (HOA) have also benefited from chiropractic care. In one study, 83 percent of HOA patients improved within nine visits to a chiropractor.

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