7.1% of the population experience hip pain on average. Sports injuries, slips and falls and a list of other reasons, can leave you feeling debilitated, especially when each step becomes labored and painful. Many in this situation have asked themselves Who is the best doctor for this condition and what is the best treatment beyond prescription and OTC medications??? Well I have put together some research that might just help you sort this out and get you on the path to healing! The studies below is split between acute hip injury, meaning it is a recent injury or the long term and sometimes debilitating chronic injury that may include arthritis. We start with a study on acute hip pain. So don’t worry help is on it’s way!
Acute hip (SI) pain improves over 70% after a single manipulation treatment session
Did you have hip pain and not sure which doctor or treatment to try? Chiropractic manipulation of the hip and spine, just might be your go to option. A 2012 study found that after just a single manipulation, hip pain reduced by over 70%. This study recruited 32 women and they were assigned into two groups. The women in one group who received manipulation treatment showed greater improvement in their pain than Those that did not. This study was conducted by Center of Human Movement Science Research, School of Rehabilitation Sciences, Shiraz University of Medical, Iran. (Kamali, et. al., 2012) (Page 53)
Do you have chronic pain in one or both hips? If you are over 40 odds are you have the beginning stages of arthritis. Arthritis also known as osteoarthritis OA, is described as “wear and tear arthritis”. So have you been hard on your hip joints? Have you fallen on the ‘bad hip’ at some time? Many people with hip pain have a history of hip trauma. One 72 year old patient of mine was a skier for many years and she alway “fell on her right side”. Other patients tell stories of same side ankle or knee trauma.
Can something as simple as an ankle or knee sprain lead to a future hip issue? If so, how? Any trauma to an joint, for this case an ankle or knee, the ligaments, aka the connective tissue that hold bone of the joint together, get stretched. This stretched ligaments will forever be loose and sloppy, to some degree. This looseness creates instability with each step you take. In short instability affects the entire leg and the other joints and muscles must adjust and compensate for the extra wobble with each step. Thus those former injuries, can cause instability, which adds a stress vector into the hip and can cause OA.
Repetitive stress can also be a factor leading to instability. Excessive pronation or supination, turning of the foot either in or out, from neutral position, will also streeeetch the ligaments. This is known as ligament creep. Over time, ligament creep can lead to leg instability and affect the hip as well. Ouch! This is a good reason to be fitted for foot orthotics as a preventative measure.
Muscle recruitment is an issue with instability. In an effort to control instability more muscles are “recruited” even for simple tasks. This overuse of muscle groups leads to a blockish type of movement pattern. Blocking is when a person strains to lift the leg, and then moves the leg as if it were several blocks of concrete. As you might guess this creates chronic muscle spasms, in the very least.
So what is the best medicine or procedure for your chronic hip pain? Let’s check the scientific literature and see what research has to say on the matter:
Do you suffer hip pain all the time? If you suffer from hip pain particularly arthritic (chronic) hip pain, you should consider chiropractic as an option. One study from Sweden showed that the arthritic hip pain is reduced by 50% after just 4 chiropractic adjustments. This study was conducted by Scandinavian College of Chiropractic, Solna, Sweden and involved 14 patients. They received the treatments for three weeks and all of them feel relief in their pain after 3 weeks. The study concluded that this treatment can provide short term benefit in decreasing hip pain. (Thorman, et. al., 2010) (Page 90).
So chiropractic is proven to be useful in the short term for those with arthritis, but what about receiving long term care, is that just as useful?
The study from Leyenburg Hospital, The Hague, Netherlands revealed that chiropractic treatment is nearly 3x more effective that with only exercise. This 2004 study recruited 109 patients. At 6 months, the patients who received manipulation noted a 50% decrease in hip pain with walking. The control group that received exercise only experienced a 17% decrease. (Hoeksma HL, et. al., 2004) (Page 222).
The above studies are a great starting point and illustrate the importance of a chiropractic adjustment, hip alignment and the effect that it has on relieving pain. I take it a step further, and we search for and address muscle spasms and use instrument assisted muscle release to minimize recruitment and blocking. Further I give you exercises to retrain proper motion to the hip and leg. The goal is to both minimize pain and dysfunctional characteristics and to rebuild muscle strength and retrain proper gate patterns as close to pre injury status as possible. To minimize pain, as we have seen with the above chiropractic studies, can happen quickly. To rebuild muscle and retrain the nervous system in proper gate patterns however, takes time but is worth the effort. My program is a 2-3 months of focused corrective exercises that are progressive in nature. Once completed, you will have a strong base upon which to stand!