Top Techniques to Manage Your Hip Pain More Effectively
Hip pain is a common condition, experienced by thousands of people across the UK each and every day. There are a variety of different causes for chronic hip pain, from arthritis and tendonitis to muscle strain and fracture, but regardless of the reason for your pain, trying to live with the symptoms can be a challenge.
Of course, if you feel that the pain is severe, or if it is affecting the quality of your life to a significant degree, it’s important to see a doctor in order to establish whether or not medical intervention would be of advantage to you. However, if your pain is mild to moderate, you may be able to successfully manage your symptoms yourself.
Managing Hip Pain: Rest and Activity in Balance
In most cases, doctors will recommend first trying to manage your pain at home, rather than resorting to surgical procedures such as a hip replacement operation. There are a variety of ways in which you can cope with your pain successfully, and as a general rule it’s important to maintain a sensible balance between resting the affected area, and keeping it mobile.
As Steven Morgan, an orthopaedic surgeon at Denver Medical Center, US, says: “You need to try to maintain an active lifestyle with activities that don’t aggravate your hip pain. We don’t want to become sedentary if we can help it. That won’t do anything to help your pain.”
In many cases, taking the time to rest the hip, whilst also ensuring that you engage in plenty of regular, gentle exercise such as walking, can clear up the problem. However, for other people, particularly those with chronic conditions such as arthritis, this may not be enough.
Top Tips for Relieving Hip Pain at Home
There are a variety of other techniques you can try if you’re suffering with chronic hip pain. Here are a few ideas that may help relieve your symptoms:
- Harness the power of heat. If the hip shows no sign of inflammation or swelling, heat may help to soothe your pain considerably. Apply a heat pack or hot water bottle to the affected area, or relax in a warm bath for up to 20 minutes. Better still, if you have a whirlpool bath, allow the jets to gently massage the area.
- Go swimming. Swimming is one of the most effective activities for easing hip pain, as water enables the body to remain buoyant, which reduces stress on the joint. Don’t over-do it; instead, aim to do as many laps as you feel comfortable with, at a pace that suits you. Even slow swimming will help stretch and strengthen the supporting muscles in your hip.
- Take painkillers. There may be times when the pain begins to adversely affect your everyday life. In this instance, over-the-counter painkillers may help. According to Arthritis Research UK, simple painkillers like paracetamol are effective to take “before the pain becomes very bad,” and anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen may also help reduce swelling and discomfort.
- Avoid low chairs. It may be that your favourite sofa is actually not quite as wonderful after all, especially if it has a low seat. Any type of chair that has a low seat involves a lot more bending to get up and down from, which can play havoc on your hip. Instead, invest in a higher chair or stool, which won’t place so much strain on your affected joint.
- Many people report that relaxation therapies, such as meditation and yoga, offer great benefit when it comes to managing hip pain, enabling you to focus on your breathing or heartbeat, rather than zoning in on your chronic discomfort. Hypnosis is also widely regarded as a successful complementary therapy for pain management.
Adopting a Proactive Approach
Psychologically, it can be empowering to manage your own pain, as it enables you to take control, and carry on with everyday life. However, if you find that your pain becomes unmanageable, you shouldn’t feel reluctant to discuss things with your doctor. A medical professional may be able to recommend other techniques to manage your discomfort or may recommend, after a more thorough examination, that a hip replacement may be of benefit in the longer term.
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