HealthQuest Blog Home

Return to Work, Return to Life, Return to Play

When Hip Pain Won’t Wane

Hip pain is a symptom created by an array of causes and conditions. Any pain is a signal from the body to let you know something is wrong. Hip pain should not be ignored, tolerated or medicated, as it can be an insight into the genesis of future musculoskeletal problems. Instead, the cause should be ascertained immediately to determine the most appropriate course of treatment. This proactive approach can prevent additional problems and help avoid invasive treatments.

Arthritis, characterized by damage to the joints, is a common cause of hip pain. Proactive treatment can include physical therapy, exercise, a healthy diet, and supplements. If conservative approaches fail, hip replacement surgery may be an option.

Another cause of hip pain is trochanteric bursitis; inflammation of the bursa over the outside of the hip joint results in lateral hip pain during movement or under applied pressure. Physical therapy treatment, with an emphasis on stretching, icing and soft tissue massage, is a conservative alternative to manipulation and corticosteroid injections.

Iliotibial band (IT band) syndrome is the most frequently encountered tendonitis (inflammation of the tendon) around the hip. The IT band is a thick band of fibrous tissue that runs down the outside of the leg, beginning at the hip and extending to just below the knee joint. Treatment involves physical therapy. A physical therapist will first recommend proper footwear, icing as needed and perhaps over-the-counter anti-inflammatory meds. When appropriate, a focused stretching and strengthening program will be
prescribed. Left untreated, this condition can lead to the need for cortisone injections and even surgery.

Referred lumbar pain, resulting from herniated discs and sciatica, often causes symptoms around the hip and buttocks. Sciatica will respond initially to a brief period of rest and icing for 15-20 minutes 4 times daily. This can be followed (after 48 hours) by a heating pad on the affected area on the lowest setting. Passive low back stretching may help relieve nerve root compression. However, jerking, bouncing and twisting must be avoided. Finally, physical therapy rehabilitation will include exercises to correct posture, improve flexibility and strengthen the muscles supporting the back.

Strains (small micro tears in muscles) around the hip and pelvis, can cause pain and spasm. This occurs with groin pulls and hamstring strains brought about by a quick twist or pull to the muscle. When properly diagnosed, strained or pulled muscles can be selftreated. See Physical Therapy: Q & A for effective treatment and prevention.

In Conclusion: Determining the cause(s) of hip pain can provide insight into a variety of related problems. Often, addressing a condition in its early stages presents an opportunity to eliminate or inhibit it’s progression. Proactive approaches to treatment can also prevent the potential for additional related complications.


Written by Brooks Juneau

March 1, 2008 at 3:21 pm

Posted in Hip

%d bloggers like this: