Hip injuries and inflammation can be debilitating, taking you from an active lifestyle to a sedentary one. Strong medications and surgery may seem like the only options, but there may be another way. While surgery may be inevitable later on, there are ways to manage hip pain now to keep yourself active.
Common Causes of Hip Pain
The joint of the hip is the largest ball-and-socket joint in the entire body. While it's designed to take some serious wear and tear, over time, that repeated daily use can take its toll. The pain from hip damage or injury can be felt throughout the middle of the body, including the thigh, groin, back and buttocks.
There are a few main causes of hip pain and discomfort. The first is arthritis, which occurs when the cartilage in the hip joint wears down, leading to bone-on-bone contact that can be incredibly painful. This also decreases range of motion and flexibility. The next common problem is overuse of the muscles or tendons. The muscles and tendons may become inflamed when used too much, leading to pain, swelling and stiffness. Inflammation of the tendons which connect the muscles to the bones, is called tendonitis. Fractures are also a common reason for hip pain. As you age and the bones begins to lose density and weaken (osteoporosis), your risk for fractures goes up, even if you don't fall.
Other causes of hip pain can be poor circulation which causes the bone tissue to die (avascular necrosis), bone cancer and bursitis, which occurs when the bursae become inflamed. These small sacs are filled with fluid to protect the muscles and tendons within the hip joint.
Exercises for Hip Pain
Exercise can help strengthen the muscles and joints to reduce pain and increase range of motion. It also helps you reach and maintain a healthy weight, which can also reduce hip injury and pain. But you have to do it the right way.
The best ways to exercise when you have joint pain are low-impact activities on a smooth, soft surface. You can try walking, using an elliptical machine or bicycle or swimming for cardiovascular activity as well as strength training to keep the muscles and bones strong. However, no matter which you pick, start slowly to make sure you don't cause additional damage to the joint and be sure to stretch before and after activity. Yoga is a great way to get cardiovascular exercise while also stretching and modifications are available to accommodate injured or strained joints and muscles. Take one or two rest days a week and don't push through intense pain. A personal trainer or physical therapist can also help you develop a plan that helps you stay healthy without taxing your hip too much.
When you sleep at night, consider placing a pillow between your knees to promote proper alignment of the hips and back. Also, don't sleep on the sore hip. This may help reduce pain and stiffness in the morning.
Natural Remedies for Hip Pain
Over-the-counter and prescription painkillers and anti-inflammatories are commonly recommended for managing hip discomfort, but they aren't the only option. You can start with herbal supplements you take orally like turmeric, ginger and holy basil. These herbals contain natural compounds known to promote a healthy inflammatory response. Next, make sure you're getting enough minerals into your diet. Calcium and magnesium are essential for bone health and should be a part of your daily routine. Vitamins like D and K work with calcium and magnesium to enhance absorption and utilization within the body. Vitamins like C and E also provide antioxidant benefits, protecting the body from the oxidative stress and damage caused by free radicals. The last type of oral supplement to consider are natural or plant-based analgesics or painkillers. White willow bark is a great example, since it's what aspirin is produced from. California poppy extract is another option and can also help you sleep at night.
Topical remedies are also available and can be applied directly to the site of the pain. Arnica montana is a type of flowering plant also referred to as leopard's bane or wolf's bane. This plant has natural anti-inflammatory and analgesics benefits. Other options with similar effects include DMSO, a type of organic sulfur, and tea tree oil, an essential oil. Follow application instructions carefully with any topical product. Use it on a small area first and wait at least 12 hours to test for allergic reaction. Icing the hip for 15 minutes at a time throughout the day can also help.
As always, consult your doctor before adding any supplements to your routine if you're currently pregnant, breastfeeding or being treated for a medical condition. Don't stop taking any prescribed medications without speaking with a medical professional first.
Shop for a variety of products to help you manage pain and inflammation naturally at eVitamins and let us know how they work for you! Have a great weekend!