If chronic hip pain is keeping you awake at night or interfering with your daily activities, you may have already tried some hip pain remedies. No doubt you’re hoping to find relief without resorting to surgery, and we can offer several suggestions for how to help ease your hip pain.
Several types of stretches and exercises can help make your pain less severe, and you can do most, if not all, of them at home. You might also unknowingly be doing some exercises that are worsening your condition.
If you’re still experiencing hip pain related to osteoarthritis after trying these and other treatments at home, then surgery may be your best option — but let’s try these options first.
Stretches to Ease Hip Pain
Stretches are some of the simplest hip pain remedies to try at home. Tightness in the structure of the hip joint can result in preventing the joint from moving freely and possibly even pinching muscles, ligaments and nerves in and around the capsule.
The right stretches can reduce stiffness, improve your mobility (making it more flexible) and strengthen muscles that support the joint. Try the following four stretches when you’re feeling less pain and stiffness, like after taking a warm shower or bath or after you’ve been up moving around for a while. Start slowly and gradually add more sets and/or repetitions as your pain subsides.
Stretch #1: Knee lift
- Lie on your back with both legs out straight against the floor.
- Keeping one leg straight, pull the other knee up toward your chest and use both hands on top of your knee to gently coax it further toward your chest.
- Hold for 10 seconds and then gently lower your leg back to the floor.
- Do the other side and then repeat 5 to 10 times for each knee.
Stretch #2: Double hip rotation
- Lie on your back with both knees bent and your feet on the floor.
- While keeping both shoulders on the floor, gently lower your knees to one side and turn your head in the opposite direction.
- Hold for 20 to 30 seconds and then bring your knees and head back to the center.
- Repeat on the other side.
Stretch #3: Bridge
- Lie on your back with both knees bent and your feet on the floor. Keep your arms at your sides, palms facing down.
- While engaging your abdominal muscles and keeping your shoulders and upper body on the floor, push down through your heels and slowly lift your pelvis and lower back.
- Hold for 3 to 5 seconds.
- Starting at the upper part of your spine and moving toward your tailbone, gradually roll your back and pelvis back down to the floor.
- Repeat 5 to 15 times.
Stretch #4: Hip extension
- Stand with your legs straight and spaced shoulder-width apart. Support yourself by holding on to the back of a chair, counter, table or wall.
- Keeping one leg straight, lift the other leg behind you without bending it at the knee.
- When you’ve lifted it as high as you comfortably can, tighten your buttock and hold for 5 seconds.
- Lower the leg and do the other side.
- Repeat 5 to 10 times on each leg.
Exercises to Help Reduce Hip Pain
One of the most important steps you can take to ease hip pain — especially if it’s related to osteoarthritis — is to exercise regularly. Like, every day, if possible. Not only can exercise help reduce pain and stiffness in your joints, but it can also improve your flexibility and balance.
Just like stretching, the right kind of exercise can increase the range of motion in your hip joints and strengthen the muscles that support them. Here are three easy, low-impact forms of exercise that can be effective hip pain remedies:
If you’ve been relatively inactive, then walking is a great way to start increasing your activity level. You use just about all of the major muscle groups in your body while you’re walking, and you can gradually increase your pace and distance as you build up your strength and endurance. Walking poles can give you extra stability and help ease any pain you might feel in your hips as you’re walking.
This is one of the best exercises for people with chronic hip pain because the buoyancy of the water reduces the weight on the joint. If the pool is heated, so much the better for your joints, and you don’t even actually have to swim to benefit from being in the pool — walking through the water and doing water aerobics can go a long way toward reducing your hip pain. You might even be able to find an aquatic class specifically for people with arthritis at your local YMCA, health club or rehabilitation center.
You don’t have to go to a yoga studio or fitness facility to do yoga. It’s a great hip pain treatment you can do at home, as long as you’re careful about which poses you do. Many yoga poses are designed specifically to help reduce stiffness in the hips by stretching and strengthening the muscles that support the hip joints. With a quick search online, you’ll discover which poses are best for addressing stiff or painful hips, and plenty of online classes are available as well. Remember to begin with gentle stretches and avoid overdoing it.
Exercises to Avoid if You Have Hip Pain
While we encourage anyone who suffers chronically to be active, there are certain kinds of exercise that you should steer clear of if hip pain is a problem. You don’t want to engage in exercises that will add more strain on your hip joints; those can include high-impact exercises that involve running and jumping, weight-bearing exercises, and exercises that are done while standing.
Many stretching and strengthening exercises that are traditionally done while standing can instead be performed while seated in a chair or on the floor, which can also be helpful if balance is an issue. The key is to avoid exercises that could ultimately increase your hip pain by adding to the burden your hip joints already have, and possibly even leading to an injury.
When to Seek Surgery for Osteoarthritis Hip Pain
Try the hip pain remedies we’ve suggested for a few weeks and see if you notice any difference in your pain level or frequency. If your pain persists, if it’s keeping you awake at night or making it difficult to walk, climb the stairs, and get in and out of chairs and/or the bathtub, then it might be time to consider hip surgery.
You don’t have to just resign yourself to putting up with the pain. In fact, doing so could lead to other health issues, such as weight gain and diminished cardiovascular health. Bear in mind, too, that the healthier you are when you have surgery, the better your outcome may be.
If other hip pain remedies fail to provide the relief you need, then hip resurfacing or a minimally invasive total hip replacement might be the right course of action. For more information or to schedule a private consultation, contact us.