“If you don’t stand your ground, then all that happens is people push you backwards.” – Jordan Peterson
Your hip joint can manage years of repeated motion and a great deal of wear and tear. It is your body’s largest ball-and-socket joint and works to allow for fluid movement in a wide range of directions.
What keeps the bony surfaces of this joint moving together smoothly is a large cushion of thick tissue called the articular cartilage that helps prevent friction as the hip bone moves in the pelvic socket. This articular cartilage provides a smooth, lubricated surface for low-friction articulation.
However, while incredibly durable, your hip joint isn’t indestructible and as you age, and with prolonged use, that cushioning layer of cartilage can wear down or become damaged. In addition, the muscles and tendons in the hip can become overused or injured. Worst of all, the bones in your hip can be fractured in a fall or from some other injury.
And any of these conditions can lead to chronic hip pain.
When Your Hip Start to Hurt – All the Time
Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. These are among the most common causes of chronic hip pain, especially in older adults. Arthritis leads to inflammation of the hip joint and the breakdown of the cartilage that cushions your hip bones. The pain gradually gets worse over time and leads to stiffness and a reduced range of motion in the hip. Osteoarthritis is most likely to show up during your 60s and 70s. In fact, it’s estimated that a third of adults over 60 suffer from it.
Bursitis. Sacs of liquid called bursae are found between tissues such as bone, muscles, and tendons. They reduce friction as these tissues rub together. However, if the bursae become inflamed, they can cause pain. This inflammation, known as bursitis, is usually due to repetitive activities that overwork or irritate the hip joint.
Tendinitis. Tendons are the thick bands of tissue that attach bones to muscles and tendinitis is an inflammation or irritation of these tendons. Usually caused by repetitive movement or action from a sport or work activity and can be quite painful. Once you pass the age of about 40, tendonitis is likely to strike with previously harmless motions as your tendons become less elastic and more prone to injury.
In addition to these tissue conditions, other possible causes of chronic hip pain include muscle or tendon strain.
A less common cause for most people is a hip labral tear. This is a rip in the ring of cartilage (called the labrum) that follows the outside rim of the socket of your hip joint. Along with cushioning your hip joint, your labrum acts like a rubber seal or gasket to help hold the ball at the top of your thigh bone securely within your hip socket. Athletes and people who perform repetitive twisting movements are at higher risk of developing this problem.
Repeated activities can put a strain on the muscles, tendons, and ligaments that support the hips. When they become inflamed due to overuse, they can cause pain and prevent the hip from working normally.
Depending on the actual cause of your hip pain, you may feel pain and discomfort in your:
- Inside of the hip joint
- Outside of the hip joint
Dealing With Chronic Hip Pain
According to WebMD,
“If your hip pain is caused by a muscle or tendon strain, osteoarthritis, or tendinitis, you can usually relieve it with an over-the-counter pain medication such as acetaminophen or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug such as ibuprofen or naproxen.”
In addition to OTC medications, icing and heat treatments can be effective for temporarily relieving your pain and discomfort.
If you know that your pain is due to osteoarthritis, then staying physically active is key to preventing or minimizing the pain. This is because physical activity keeps blood circulating, which can help keep your joints healthy and helps to reduce pain. In addition, by strengthening the muscles around the hip joint you can reduce the pressure on it.
If, on the other hand, your hip pain is caused by tendinitis, an inflammation of the tendons, it can tend to present more pain with additional movement. While surgery is rarely needed, a regimen of RICE therapy (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) can be quite effective. Sometimes, however, physical therapy is prescribed to help stretch and strengthen the hip area, which can be helpful in treating hip tendonitis.
However, treating the symptoms is not the same as addressing to cause. Often, your pain is not due to these conditions, but to misalignment and dysfunction in your gait and movement. By pursuing treatments such as the Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA), Anatomy in Motion (AiM), and Active Release Technique®.
Pain and Performance Solutions for Chronic Hip Pain Relief
For chronic hip pain, the first step in recovery and relief is letting us get to know you and your pain issues. Once you make your first appointment, we’ll want to learn about your present discomfort as well as any history of discomfort.
After a full examination, we can determine which form of treatment is needed to help you on your road to recovery, such as Active Release Technique®. Because our bodies will try to compensate for pain, you may find you can move on with your day. However, by shifting that pain around to compensate for your discomfort, this can lead to other forms of pain.
Getting chronic pain relief with therapies such as Active Release Technique® can only begin when we can understand where your pain started. That could mean it started previously with another injury you might have sustained.
Your trust in us is key, as is your honesty. Ultimately, getting your body working properly and healthy is the only way to achieve total recovery. So, don’t hesitate to reach out. We are here to help and will answer any, and all questions that you may have.