If a doctor looked at an x-ray of any one of us, he or she would say, “Oh, you have arthritis.”
When the doctor can see bony changes in an x-ray, the assumption is that’s the reason for our hip pain as well as any other complaints we have.
Well, maybe. Maybe not.
We all have changes in our bones and joints that show up on x-rays. Do we all have pain?
But when a doctor can see something that could be the cause of pain, they usually figure that it is the cause.
“Oh, you just have arthritis. You will have to live with it.”
Well, maybe. Maybe not.
Large powerful muscles pass over our hip joint. These muscles allow us to move our leg. The hip joint occurs where our thigh bones connect to our pelvic bones.
Those large muscles can get overstretched from crossed-leg positions, overstressed from pressure like sleeping on our sides or car seats pressing on them, or tight from overuse or overstretch.
Your plan is to get back into balance and out of pain.
There are four sides to your hip joint. Front of your leg, back of your leg, inside of your thigh and outer side of your thigh. The outside of your thigh–your hip joint–is likely where you feel your pain.
Here’s the plan of attack.
Please note: Do and observe these moves thoughtfully, being aware of how your muscles are feeling. Pay attention to how you feel afterward, too.
1. Standing in a secure position, lift your leg, with your knee bent, in front of you. Does that cause you pain in your hip joint? If so, your gluteal muscles (butt) may be tight. Those large, powerful muscles need stretching or therapeutic massage to release them.
2. Same position, lift your leg behind you. Does that cause pain? Your front thigh muscles are probably tight. You may need to spend more time stretching your leg back like this, in a gentle and controlled manner, like a dancer.
3. Lift your leg out to the side. Did that movement cause pain? The outside thigh muscles may need strengthening. Just lift in the same way or lay in bed on your other side and lift your bent knee toward the ceiling–just a few inches. You will feel those muscles contract and strengthen.
4. Move your leg across the mid-line of your body. Any pain? Well, then, don’t do it and if you’re in the habit of crossing your leg, try to eliminate that habit. You have probably overstretched your hip muscles.
5. Lay on your back and let your bent knee slowly drop off to the side, away from your body. What is the sensation in your upper inside thigh? Is there tightness? You may feel a direct relationship between the pain in your hip and your inner thigh muscles. If you do, this is a move for you which will help release that hip pain. Use gentle, controlled stretches for just two seconds, back to neutral, and then another two second stretch. Repeat several times.
Moves #3 and #5 are often the cure for hip pain. It may take only several days of movement to relieve your hip pain. Try and see!
Walking or moving with resistance from water in a swimming pool can also be good medicine for hip pain.
Being your own doctor and physical therapist takes some work, but is well worth it.
You can avoid pain medicines and sometimes surgeries by not simply accepting the diagnosis of “arthritis.”