Osteoarthritis and hip pain
True hip pain is usually seen referring into the groin or is felt deep inside the joint itself. Sometimes it can refer deep into the buttock BUT in my experience, deep buttock pain is more often referred from the lower back OR is a problem called “piriformis syndrome”. This will briefly be explained later on this page.
A full examination must be made of the lower back and hip to try and work out where the pain is coming from. It is not uncommon that there can be a problem in both areas, each one referring to the other.
A true hip OA problem is usually accompanied by a reduction in mobility, sharp pains to the groin or deep in the hip usually worsened by weight bearing. One easy way to check your own hip mobility is to do the following
1/ Lie on a firm bed ( or not too hard floor ), put your knees upward with feet flat on the bed. Now let your knee fall down towards the bed surface. The movement should be 60-90 degrees, smooth and with no pain. IF, the knee will only fall be 10-20 degrees AND is painful, there is a good chance that some OA is present.
2/ Knee hugs. Still lying on the bed/floor, grasp one knee with both hands and pull towards your chest. A healthy hip will easily allow movement of 135 degrees plus. IF you are struggling to move the leg at all or if you can only just make 90 degrees, this is not a good sign ESPECIALLY if the movement in 1/ was also severely restricted.
Sometimes, if the patient is lucky, the hip will be restricted due to very tight internal muscles and tendons often from an old back problem. This problem is reversible – using similar techniques described below.
Treating OA hip
When a hip has well and truly “gone” – constant pain, very poor movement, the only real course of action is ho have an operation. The good news is that these operations are very successful these days. BUT often, one has to wait quite a time to get one of these. While waiting for an operation osteopathy can help make the situation more bearable. Also, if the OA is in it’s early stages, osteopathy along side other sensible precautions can help stop the problem worsening.
Usually there is traction to the joint. Passive movement to the joint – leg swinging with the patient totally relaxed. Deep muscles are worked on with various soft tissue techniques plus frequently some acupuncture to the deeper tissues and joint capsule can be very, very useful indeed. Exercises that are useful here are gentle, slow exercise bike pedalling and exercising in a pool or brine baths ( the water making it non weight bearing movements. ) Heat to the area and anti-inflammatories also help as well as sensible use of a stick/walking aid.
Content to be added