In this blog, I will go over hip health, its likes and dislikes, and life styles that add or take away from a healthier hip presentation. I will then discuss and show videos of different functional exercises you can do on your own to undo some of the damages caused by your daily life style. At the end of the day, it is easier to prevent a problem than to fix it.
What does the hip joint look like?
Your hip joint is a ball and socket joint! That means the end of your thigh bone, looks like a ball that sits inside a socket that is a part of your pelvis. In a healthy situation, the ball is able to move in every direction without causing any issues.
Any imbalance in the surrounding muscles and tendons leads to the jamming of the ball inside the socket, thus interfering with the movement of the ball inside the socket.
Misalignment of the pelvis, where the socket is, is also another reason for the hip range of motion to be decreased and the ‘ball’ to be jammed into the ‘socket’. In other words, no amount of stretching of the hip joint, the lower back, the legs and all surrounding areas is going to remove the misaligned pelvis.
The only solution to this misalignment is chiropractic adjustments of the pelvis, the lower spine and the hips when indicated.
What causes hip pain?
Other than an actual pathology, a disease, causing deterioration of the hip joint, the most common cause of hip disintegration is in fact the misalignment of the ball inside the socket. Let’s explore this some! When I talk about disease, technically osteoarthritis or arthritis of the joint does not fall in that category! In medical/chiropractic schools, they teach us that arthritis is a byproduct of aging and I am here to tell you that I full-heartedly DISAGREE!!
It is an absolute end result of improper alignment. If there is a door that is hanging on its frame for 6 months crooked, is being used regularly, it is fair to say that parts of it hitting the jam are going to show signs of wear. The same door, if sitting on its frame straight will simply show the aged wood and no signs of wear.
The point here is that arthritis, the inflammation of the joint, the destruction of the bones and cartilage, happens as a result of misalignment and not age. After all, how is it that one hip wears out more than the other?!! They are both the same age, right?!
How can I avoid hip pain?
The key to health is MOVEMENT. If you move, you will increase your chances of being healthy. The moment you stop, you will be on the wrong track!! It is THAT simple! Our sedentary life of sitting behind our desks does so much damage that you won’t even realize unless you deal with health naturally. As a Chiropractor, I am a detective.
I don’t give any medication to mask the condition and to fix something, I need to know what caused it to begin with. As a Chiropractor, I am a health expert and not a sickness expert. My fellow medical and osteopathic doctors are the expert in that field!
What are treatments for hip pain?
When it comes to hip pain, most people’s first approach is over the counter medication which helps to some degree but not long enough. Meanwhile, they may start stretching exercises while taking the meds. Stretching exercises are helpful but normally people stretch very minimally and not consistently.
Also, you need to realize that the muscles being stretched are connected to bones across a joint so the alignment of the joint in question is very important.
At times, people see a massage therapist who helps them get rid of the ‘knots’ in the muscle. These knots by themselves cause tension BUT once again, the knots are going to be recreated if the cause of their formation is not addressed.
Next, is going to see their general practitioner to see what is going on. The general practitioner’s typically give prescription meds which now means more serious side effects. Since the cause of the problem is not addressed, the pain persists so another revisit to the general practitioner is the next move. This time, physical therapy is prescribed.
Physical therapists work on calming down the tissue by doing modalities such as ultrasound, electrical muscle stimulation, light massages and then exercises with machines, tubes or weight. This typically helps but since the cause of the problem is not addressed, the pain comes back.
Typically again, another visit to the general practitioner is in order to get a referral to an orthopedist. This time, more than likely another medicine is prescribed or cortisone shot or nerve block or other types of injections is administered over a period of time.
The last resort ends up being a Chiropractor!! By then, so much time has gone by that we have to deal with scar tissue and a lot more damage. X-rays typically shows some sort of structural destruction which cannot be reversed. Now somehow the magic is expected to happen!
In many chiropractic offices, modalities such as ultrasound, electrical muscle stimulation and massage become part of the care but now, adjustments are added to the picture. Adjustments help the alignment but keeping the alignment is the key!!
THAT is where many chiropractic offices fail to get the patients in a much better place for a LONG period of time, if not forever. The reality is very simple: there is no short and simple solution to any complex and long term problem. I wished I could change that but I cannot.
In my office, I start from the very beginning and review the lifestyle all the way down to pillow use when sleeping. You may be thinking that I am dealing with the wrong end! At least, last time you checked, your hip was not by your neck!! That is true but every thing is connected and bad alignment and neck issues cause lower back pain too. I will do a full blog on that and will do a video explaining it in case you want to watch a video instead.
With adjustments, the nervous system is ‘stimulated’ and a ‘spark’ is created. Now specific pertinent exercises are prescribed. Brain exercises to activate and restore better posture are reviewed and implemented. Work and home activities are reviewed and modified when indicated.
Massage therapists at our office target the muscles involved which, by the way, are selected by yours truly, the Chiropractor, so the massage sessions are not the gentle foofoo massages. Now you are ready to start working out to strengthen the muscles whose lack of function led to the pain. This is when physical therapy can play a role. Now you have addressed the cause of your problem and fixed what fell out of balance along the way. Maintaining what you now have is an ongoing process.
As you see, the solution is not difficult but requires investment in time and energy and, clearly, finances. Sometimes we think we cannot afford ‘it’ but what we can’t afford is losing yet another day of our life being unhealthy. All we work for is to be happy and being healthy is a requirement for being happy.
It is all about how you look at it!
Check out a couple of videos below to learn what I do myself and suggest to my patients to do to undo some of the damages of prolonged sitting. There are more videos related to this subject that I advise you to check out. Subscribe to my YouTube channel where you will have full access to all the videos I find useful for my patients.
Remember, you are the Designer and the Director of your own life so design and direct it the way you wish to live it.