Hip pain is relatively common for adults over the age of 60. In fact, in a recent study, 14% of adults over the age of 60 reported experiencing hip pain most days over the course of six weeks. That would be considered chronic hip pain — any pain that is consistent for six weeks or more.
The most difficult thing about chronic hip pain — besides the pain itself — is the impact it has on your quality of life. Continually feeling symptoms in your hip can prevent you from walking or standing for longer periods of time, holding your grandkids, bending down to garden, etc. There are so many activities that may be hindered by your symptoms.
Fortunately, most cases of hip pain can be treated with physical therapy. Depending on the cause of your hip pain, your physical therapist may recommend a specific set of modalities to help reduce your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
Causes of chronic hip pain
One of the most common causes of hip pain is osteoarthritis. Because the hip joint is critical in most lower body movement, the joint can experience natural wear and tear over time. As the cartilage in the hip joint wears down, movement in the hip becomes less cushioned. This can lead to inflammation and pain in the hip.
Other causes of hip pain include:
- Hip fractures.
- Muscle or tendon strain.
- Hip labral tear.
- Hip flexor injury.
In some cases, sciatica can present as hip pain. When the sciatic nerve is compressed in the lower back, the radiating pain can sometimes be felt near the hip. For this reason, many patients confuse sciatica with hip pain.
Symptoms of hip pain
Each person may experience different symptoms associated with hip pain, but the most common symptoms include:
- Pain in the hip, thigh, buttock and/or groin.
- Dull ache.
- Sharp pain during movement.
- Tingling and/or numbness in the buttock, groin, or thigh.
If these symptoms persist after a couple of weeks, you should see a doctor to determine the cause of your hip pain and come up with treatment options for relief.
Most states offer direct access to physical therapy, meaning you do not have to wait for a doctor’s referral to see a physical therapist. Because physical therapy is one of the most common treatment methods for hip pain, you should schedule an appointment right away if you are experiencing these symptoms for longer than a couple of weeks.
Treatments for hip pain
As mentioned, physical therapy is one of the most common treatments for chronic hip pain. A physical therapist can work with you to diagnose the cause of your pain and create a personalized treatment plan based on your current lifestyle and recovery goals.
Most treatments will include a series of the following modalities:
- Manual therapy.
- Mobility stretching.
- Muscle-strengthening exercises.
- Instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM).
If you’re suffering from chronic hip pain, it’s time to take back your quality of life. Find a location near you today to schedule an appointment with one of our physical therapists.