Busting the Hip Pain Myth
Hip pain is a condition that is becoming more and more common among people who live hectic lives. The sheer stress of work and social life are enough to cause a mental and physical breakdown in all but the most resilient of people.
As such, hip pain is being experienced at younger ages than ever before. But the myth still exists: that hip pain only happens in old people or people with hip fractures. While this myth may have been a truth in times past, that is no longer the case today.
An apparently healthy 20-year-old man or woman is equally susceptible to hip pain as a retired person. The difference may be in the cause, but the pain is still the same.
As physical activity diminishes, physical ailments begin to rear their ugly heads, and hip pain is no different. Sedentary lifestyles and inadequate physical exercise combined with poor dietary health and mental stress make the perfect recipe for disaster.
The Extreme Option: Hip Replacement Surgery
Irrespective of the age when hip pain sets in, hip surgery is an option that is always available. Today’s surgical procedures are so advanced that it only takes a few weeks to be up and running again after hip surgery – literally.
In addition, total hip replacement may not even be necessary, depending on the extent of damage and the severity of the condition. There are hip resurfacing techniques that are equally effective in dealing with pain and recovering normalcy once and for all.
The choice to undergo surgery has been and should always be the patient’s to make. The doctor merely advises various courses of treatment, of which surgery may be one. You are entitled to a second opinion even if your doctor says that surgery is your only option.
So, before you accept surgery as the only choice, it would be wise to explore other pain management and therapy solutions – some of which can be done easily and in the comfort of your own home.
Replace the Pain, Not the Hip
Hip pain can be effectively managed or eliminated through a variety of means other than surgery. Medication, walking aids and exercise are just three of these methods. Let’s explore these options in more detail.
Medication: The downside to opting for medication for the pain is in the side effects. All types of medication have some side effect or other, with some being more severe than others. For non-inflammation-related hip pain, doctors typically recommend acetaminophen (Tylenol), which is essentially an analgesic, or pain relief medication. This drug, however, can lead to liver when consumed in large quantities (more than 4000 mg) on a daily basis. Though known for not having any known side effects, report any unusual symptoms to your doctor immediately. For non-inflammatory conditions, doctors mostly recommend nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen and aspirin.
Depending on the actual condition, they may be given as a combination. NSAIDs are known to cause stomach irritation and other gastrointestinal problems such as ulcers and bleeding. In extreme cases, the doctor may recommend taking corticosteroids.
Canes and walkers essentially relieve pain to a certain extent, and are by no means permanent or practical solutions. However, they are often used as a means of avoiding surgery, or in cases where surgery cannot be performed due to some reason or other. Canes and walkers bear upper body weight and reduce the strain on the hips while walking. They can also be used as a temporary measure prior to or post-surgery.
Physical exercise involving the lower body can be quite painful if a person is already showing hip pain as a symptom of some deeper problem. Therefore, any exercise should be prescribed by a professional, such as a qualified physiotherapist under advisement of a physician. The benefits of a planned exercise routine cannot be overstated. With regular exercise, most types of hip pain can be managed. Often, a combination of medication and exercise is prescribed as an alternative to surgery.
Beat Hip Pain to a Pulp – At Home
There are several things you can do right at home to deal with hip pain. However, there is a very fine line between dealing with pain yourself and seeking medical help. Never try to suppress the pain or change your lifestyle drastically to the extent that you end up staying in bed all day. Be smart, and know when a doctor’s intervention is required.
That said, home care is about analyzing your activities and making small changes to your regular habits. Here are some of the things you can do:
– It is very important to avoid the kinds of activities that aggravate the pain and make it worse. This could be things like running, skipping, jogging and other high-impact exercises. Certain types of sports should also be avoided. Anything that involves excessive movement of the hip joint is likely to aggravate the problem, so either avoid it or reduce it.
– Don’t shy away from over-the-counter drugs like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. However, extended use is never desirable, so if you find yourself popping pills just to keep the pain away, a much better alternative would be to consult a doctor.
– Hip pain may occur on one or the other side. At night, try to sleep on the side that doesn’t hurt. You can also try putting a pillow between your legs when you sleep.
– For pain related to bursitis, take ice cubes and wrap them in a towel; place the towel directly over the painful area and leave it for a maximum of 15 minutes. Do this about twice to three times daily. Be careful never to leave the ice on for more than 15 minutes, or you may get frostbite.
– When standing, put equal weight on both legs; try to stand on cushioned surfaces or wear cushioned shoes with adequate arch support.
Follow these steps and you will be able to manage most types of hip pain at home and without medical intervention. If the pain persists for very long periods, a doctor’s visit is highly recommended.