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Hip Arthritis

A “joint” is an area where two or more bones come together. These bones have a slick rubbery protective covering, called “cartilage,” on the areas where they meet. This cartilage serves as a friction reducer and shock absorber, thereby prolonging the health of our joints.

Osteoarthritis, or simply arthritis, occurs when your joint cartilage degenerates as a result of repetitive stress.
Over time, this cartilage can thin and crack, eventually wearing away, leading to a painful “bone on bone” situation. Thinning of your joint cartilage is often accompanied by the development of “bone spurs” and/or joint deformity further disrupting your joint function.

Hip arthritis is common, affecting up to one-third of the population. The likelihood of you developing osteoarthritis increases as you age, and appears to be at least partially inherited from your parents. It is more common if you have been overweight and if you were subjected to repetitive injury, including occupations & sports requiring prolonged standing or heavy physical exertion.

An early symptom of Hip OA is prolonged stiffness upon arising in the morning and following periods of inactivity. You might complain of the inability to put your socks on, shave your legs or climb stairs. Groin, thigh and buttock pain are common. In some cases the pain can radiate into your lower leg. Cracking and popping of your hip when moving is possible.

It is sometimes difficult for doctors to differentiate between hip osteoarthritis and lower back problems that can also cause hip pain. Your doctor will likely X-ray your hip to determine the extent of your arthritis (graded 1-4 based on severity).

Arthritis cannot be cured, but your symptoms can often be relieved. Treatment of hip arthritis may include exercises, especially water-based programs like “water-aerobics.” Your doctor may use physical therapy modalities and will likely stretch and manipulate your hip, as this has been shown to be effective at relieving symptoms.

Your doctor may recommend that you avoid aggravating activities, especially those requiring you to rotate your hip internally (i.e., pigeon toed” movements), and to maintain a healthy weight. You will be taught home stretching and strengthening exercises to help you recover. Taking 1500 mg of Glucosamine and chondroitin has been shown to help some arthritis sufferers.

In more severe cases, you may need to use a cane (in the opposite hand) to take weight off the arthritic hip. If conservative treatment fails to relieve your pain, your doctor might recommend consultation with an orthopedic hip specialist to consider joint replacement.
Here is a brief description of the treatments we may use to help manage your problem.
Joint Manipulation
Your chiropractor has found joints in your body that are not moving freely. This can cause tightness and discomfort and can accelerate unwanted degeneration i.e. arthritis. Your chiropractor will apply a gentle force with their hands, or with hand held instruments, in order to restore motion to any “restricted” joints. Sometimes a specialized table will be used to assist with these safe and effective “adjustments”. Joint manipulation improves flexibility, relieves pain and helps maintain healthy joints.
Therapy Modalities
We may apply electrotherapy modalities that produce light electrical pulses transmitted through electrodes placed over your specific sites of concern. These comfortable modalities work to decrease your pain, limit inflammation and ease muscle spasm. Hot or cold packs are often used in conjunction, to enhance the effect of these modalities. Another available option is therapeutic ultrasound. Ultrasound pushes sound vibrations into tissues. When these vibrations reach your deep tissues, heat develops and unwanted waste products are dispersed.
Myofascial Release
Overworked muscles often become tight and develop knots or “trigger points”. Chronic tightness produces inflammation and swelling that ultimately leads to the formation of “adhesions” between tissues. Your chiropractor will apply pressure with their hands, or with specialized tools, in order to release muscle tightness and soft-tissue adhesions. This will help to improve your circulation, relieve pain and restore flexibility.
Therapeutic Exercise
Muscle tightness or weakness causes discomfort and alters normal joint function, leading to additional problems. Your chiropractor will target tight or weak muscles with specific therapeutic stretching and strengthening to help increase tissue flexibility, build strength, and ease pain. Healthy, strong, and flexible muscles may help prevent re-injury.
 
 
After this initial course of treatment we will reassess your progress. We will determine the need for any additional care after your reassessment.
Sleep Posture
Your mattress and the position you sleep in may affect your condition.
Choose a mattress that provides medium or firm support, such as a traditional coil spring or adjustable airbed. Avoid waterbeds, thick pillow tops and soft, sagging mattresses.
Always sleep on your back with a pillow either underneath your knees or on your side with a pillow between your knees. Avoid sleeping on your stomach.
Keep your neck and back covered while sleeping to avoid drafts that could cause potential muscle spasms.
Workstation Ergonomics
Ergonomics is the science of adjusting your workstation to minimize strain in the following ways:
Maintain proper body position and alignment while sitting at your desk - Hips, knees and elbows at 90 degrees, shoulders relaxed, feet flat on floor or footrest.
Wrists should not be bent while at the keyboard. Forearms and wrists should not be leaning on a hard edge.
Use audio equipment that keeps you from bending your neck (i.e., Bluetooth, speakerphones, headsets).
Monitors should be visible without leaning or straining and the top line of type should be 15 degrees below eye level.
Use a lumber roll for lower back support.
Avoid sitting on anything that would create an imbalance or uneven pressure (like your wallet).
Take a 10-second break every 20 minutes: Micro activities include: standing, walking, or moving your head in a “plus sign” fashion.
Periodically, perform the “Brugger relief position” -Position your body at the chair’s edge, feet pointed outward. Weight should be on your legs and your abdomen should be relaxed. Tilt your pelvis forward, lift your sternum, arch your back, drop your arms, and roll out your palms while squeezing your shoulders together. Take a few deep cleansing breaths.
Standing
To avoid extra stress on your spine while standing:
Avoid high-heeled shoes or boots
Use a footrest measuring 10% of your height
To decrease stress on your back and feet consider leaning on a tall chair.
If excessive standing can’t be avoided, consider shock-absorbent shoes or an anti-fatigue mat.
When transitioning from a sitting workstation to a standing desk, begin gradually by standing 20 minutes per hour and not necessarily in a continuous period. Add an extra 10 minutes per hour each day as long as there is no prolonged stiffness or discomfort.
Exercise- Water Aerobics
“Water Aerobics” simply means that you are exercising in the pool. Water exercise adds resistance but reduces the effect of gravity, and is usually less stressful on your joints. Water Aerobics are better tolerated by people who have joint problems like arthritis.
You do not need to be a swimmer to exercise in the water - most classes are held in chest-deep pools. Check with your gym or local YMCA to inquire about classes.
Working out in a group class can help with motivation.
As with all aerobic exercise, you should start gradually and don’t exceed the “talk test”- meaning you are still able to talk while exercising.
Sports Cream
Sports creams come in a variety of styles that produce either a sensation of heat or cold. These creams do not speed healing, but may provide temporary relief. Their effect is to pleasantly irritate the skin by stimulating the highly sensitive surface nerves, so that your brain can temporarily "forget" about your underlying deeper pain.
Sports creams have no known side-effects when applied in small amounts but do not apply more than a 2-3 of times per day unless otherwise directed.
Racquet Sports
Here are a few pointers for selecting your racquet:
Improper grip size is a known contributor to elbow problems. When you grip the racquet, you should be able to snuggly slide the index finger of the other hand between the tips of your fingers in the base of your palm.
A good grip overwrap can help prevent slipping and decrease the amount of force required to hold the racquet. (Factor the extra wrap into grip size, though)
Players should quickly release their grip tightness after ball-to-racquet strike in order to reduce stress on the elbow.
Increasing the size of your racquet head can help to reduce arm stress.
Avoid choosing “longer” or “heavier” racquets that will increase the amount of stress on your elbow.
Graphite is a light racquet but does not absorb vibration well. When possible, choose a more flexible frame that helps to absorb some of the shock of the ball’s impact.
Avoid playing with old or wet tennis balls as the additional speed and mass of the ball increases stress on your elbow. “Softer” or “stage 2” tennis balls weigh less than standard tennis balls which will produce less stress on your elbow when you strike the ball. These balls can also slow down the game slightly.

 

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