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Real Life Performance
Hip Pain Management & Treatment Options
Treatment and management options
Treatment choices will depend on several things including the severity of your hip pain and the availability of the various options. Talk with your healthcare professionals to make sure your treatment and management options are right for you.
Hot and cold packs can provide some relief for painful joints
When the pain is greater than usual, sometimes referred to as a ‘flare’, cold packs can help to reduce inflammation and, in this way, reduce the associated pain. A few days after the worst of your flare, wrapping a heating pad or warm, damp towel around your hip may also help relieve aches and pains. Heat relaxes the muscles and increases blood circulation.
Supports or aids
A walking stick may help to reduce hip pain by lightening the load on the painful joint. Always use the walking stick on the opposite side to the sore hip. Your occupational therapist may suggest other aids or supports.
Weight control or weight loss 1
Increased body weight places extra burden on weight-bearing joints such as hips, knees and the back. In this way, being overweight or obese can worsen the condition and the associated pain.
The body is designed for movement. Increasing physical activity can reduce symptoms and alleviate pain. By contrast, sitting still or lying still for long periods is often associated with joint pain.
Research shows that regular physical activity can help, specifically to:
- Improve joint mobility and flexibility
- Increase muscle strength Improve balance and posture
- Decrease pain
- Decrease fatigue (tiredness)
- Decrease stress and muscle tension
What exercise can I do?
For people with damaged joints, the exercise needs to be low impact and appropriate to each person’s individual physical condition, your health and your lifestyle. For this reason, talking with a healthcare professional, such as your physiotherapist, is recommended.
Every little bit of activity helps, including walking, light housework, dancing and taking the stairs. You can start in patches of 10 minutes and gradually build up. Warm-up and cool down with gentle stretches and movements.
Make sure your pain management is sufficient to allow you to stay as active as possible. Never exercise through unusual or increasing pain. If the pain gets worse, consult your healthcare professional. Other non-medical treatment and management that may help to relieve pain and make you feel better includes massage, acupuncture, other alternative/complementary medicines and mind techniques such as relaxation and distraction.
Articles in this series
1. The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. Guideline for the management of knee and hip osteoarthritis. 2nd edn. East Melbourne, Vic: RACGP, 2018.