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  • Emily McGuire

Conquering Hip Pain: Physical Therapy & Other Treatments

Hip pain can be a hindrance to daily life, limiting our ability to comfortably perform routine activities. Depending on the cause and severity, seeking effective treatment could be crucial for restoring mobility and alleviating pain. Today, we’ll explore the common causes of hip pain and some of the treatment options available to you.

Physical therapist treating someone for hip pain

Common Causes of Hip Pain

Before exploring treatment options, it's important to identify the underlying cause of your hip pain. While this blog post outlines some common factors, consulting a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis is crucial. They can provide a personalized assessment and treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.

  • Muscle Imbalances Weak or tight muscles around the hip joint can lead to instability and pain. Muscles like the hip flexors can be strained with exercise or overuse.

  • Injury or Trauma Accidents, falls, or exercise-related injuries can damage the structures in and around the hip joint.

  • Bursitis Inflammation of the bursae, fluid-filled sacs that cushion the hip joint, can result in pain and limited mobility.

  • Labral Tears The labrum is a cartilage ring lining the hip socket. Tears, often due to sports injuries or overuse, can cause pain and instability in the joint.

  • Hip Impingement When abnormal bone shapes in the hip joint run against each other, it can cause pain and stiffness.

  • Sciatica Compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back through the hips and down each leg, can cause radiating pain in the hip and leg.

  • Arthritis Conditions like osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis can cause inflammation and pain in the hip joint.


Treatment Options for Hip Pain

Treatments for hip pain will vary depending on the severity of the condition and its cause. You should always consult a physician before pursuing treatment of any kind. Here are some of the avenues you can explore to treat hip pain:

  1. Rest – For mild hip pain, try resting and avoiding any intense physical activity for a few days to see if the pain resolves on its own.

  2. Pain Relievers – Over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen or ibruprofen can help manage pain and inflammation in the short term. However, if you have persistent pain or severe pain, it is best to consult a doctor about more long-lasting treatment options.

  3. Physical Therapy – Often the first line of treatment, physical therapy can help to address the root cause of the hip pain. A physical therapist works to alleviate pain and promote recovery; reducing symptoms of the underlying condition or injury and facilitating proper healing.

  4. Invasive Procedures & Surgery – For more severe conditions, a doctor may recommend specific injections or surgical procedures. Physical therapy is often recommended after surgery to improve recovery outcomes.


Physical Therapy for Hip Pain

Physical therapy offers a non-invasive treatment option which can address the causes of hip pain and provide long-term relief. Treatment often includes the following methods:

  • Exercise Therapy – Tailored exercises to strength and stretch specific muscle groups and improve overall hip function. Building strong and stable muscles around the hip is essential for a well-rounded recovery.

  • Manual Therapy – Hands-on techniques, such as massage or joint mobilization, alleviate pain and swelling and improve flexibility and range of motion.

  • Education & Lifestyle Modifications – Guidance on proper body mechanics, posture, and lifestyle adjustments to prevent further strain on the hip joint.

  • Pain Management – Advice on how to best manage pain to promote comfort and healing.


Rehab United Can Help

Hip pain doesn't have to dictate your lifestyle. With the guidance of a skilled physical therapist and a comprehensive treatment plan, you can achieve lasting relief and regain your mobility. Whether through tailored exercises, manual therapy, or other treatment options, taking proactive steps toward hip health can set you on the path to a pain-free and active life. Embrace the healing journey and rediscover the joy of movement!


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Emily McGuire is a Marketing Associate and staff writer for Rehab United. With a Bachelor's degree in International Business from UC San Diego, she is a California native with a passion for writing, digital marketing, health, and wellness.

Medically Reviewed by: Arturo Valle, PT, DPT, FAFS, CSCS, STMT-1, BFR-1, CCI, is a Physical Therapist, Clinic Director of Rehab United in Escondido, and Director of Rehab United’s Quality Assurance Program. As a graduate of USC’s Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, Dr. Valle has always emphasized the implementation of Evidence-Based Practice into all plans of care. Throughout his 12 years of experience, Dr. Valle has treated thousands of orthopedic-related and sports injuries and mentored countless Physical Therapists and Students of Physical Therapy.

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