For many of us, our hips are one of the most important joints in our bodies. They connect our thighs to our joints, allowing us to walk, run, jump, and kick. A healthy hip joint protects the lower half of our body, allowing us to stand, sit, bend, and lift objects. Unfortunately, many of us store extra weight in our hips because of the sedentary lifestyles we lead. This extra weight can cause hip pain, which is a common yet often overlooked source of lower back pain.
If you’re suffering from hip pain, you’re not alone. In fact, hip pain is the most commonly reported pain in the United States, according to the National Institutes of Health. This can make hip pain doubly frustrating, as there are many natural remedies that can ease your pain. Reading this article will give you some ideas on symptoms, causes and diagnosis of natural remedies for hip pain.
What are the Symptoms of Hip Pain?
Hip pain is commonly caused by poor posture, arthritis, and infections, but it can also be an early warning sign for other more serious conditions, like cancer. The earliest symptoms of hip pain are often related to the discomfort you feel when you first start walking after sitting for a long time. As time passes, pain can become more constant and severe, but it can also come in waves. Some common symptoms of hip pain include:
- Sharp, intermittent pain, often in the butt or below the waistline
- Timing of pain can be related to activity, but often occurs at night
- Pain can be worsened by movement and getting into bed
- Pain can radiate down the leg or into the foot
- Pain can be accompanied by inflammation of the surrounding tissue, muscle spasms, and tenderness
- Pain is often triggered by stress or a specific activity, like climbing stairs or getting up from a chair
What Causes Hip Pain?
The hip joints are complex, intricate joints that work together to carry out a wide range of movements. Eccentric loading is a major factor in maintaining the health of your hip joint. However, the muscles that support your hip joints also require a certain amount of resistance in order to work optimally.
If the resistance is too low, your muscles will become slack. If the resistance is too high, your muscles will fatigue quickly and your joints will become underworked. Persistent hip pain can be an indication that you’re doing your joints too much harm by lifting weights or engaging in other activities that place too much stress on your joints.
There are four main causes of painful hips: osteoarthritis, inflammation, injury, and a congenital hip disorder.
This is the most common cause of hip pain, and it’s due to wear and tear on your hip joint, as well as genetics. Osteoarthritis is the result of damage to your hip joint cartilage, which is responsible for cushioning your joints. Over time, repeated movements that involve your hip joint, such as walking, running, weight-bearing exercises, and climbing stairs all cause inflammation in your hip. This inflammation is normal and to be expected, but it can also lead to painful hip.
Hip pain that results from an injury usually happens suddenly. It’s often the result of a sudden, jarring movement that injures your hip joint, such as a fall or a car accident.
If the pain persists for more than a couple of days, or if you’ve sustained significant damage to your hip, you should see a doctor.
This type of hip pain is usually related to birth defects or congenital disorders. Many congenital hip disorders are genetic diseases that are passed down through families. Some of these conditions, such as hip dysplasia and congenital hipster syndrome, are more common in certain breeds of dogs.
If you have a congenital condition that causes hip pain, you should see a doctor right away, as this type of pain is usually related to a more urgent condition.
Diagnosis of Hip Pain
Unless you’ve been keeping a diary of your symptoms, you may not know that your hip pain is caused by something other than aging. If you have hip pain, your health care practitioner will ask you about your symptoms and medical history. He or she may also perform a physical examination to rule out other conditions.
During this examination, your practitioner will check your hip joints and surrounding tissue for swelling, tenderness, or redness. Your practitioner may also recommend a blood test to measure how well your body is producing antioxidants and enzymes that protect your joints. If your pain persists, or if you have other symptoms, like fever or morning stiffness, that could indicate a more serious condition.
In cases of persistent or chronic hip pain, your physician may recommend an MRI or X-ray. If your pain isn’t relieved by over-the-counter pain medications or if it comes with fever, your physician may prescribe an antibiotic or anti-inflammatory medication. If your pain is accompanied by other symptoms like dizziness or light-headedness, you should also see your physician.
Treatments of natural remedies for hip pain
1. Over-the-Counter Remedies for Hip Pain
While it’s best to visit a physician if you’ve been suffering from persistent or chronic hip pain, you can try some home remedies to ease your symptoms. Reaching for painkillers is a common mistake among people with hip pain, but over-the-counter (OTC) medications are a safe and effective alternative. The following OTC remedies can help ease your pain when taken as directed:
- Acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol) – Take 2 or 3 tablets every 6 hours for severe pain
- Aspirin – Take only when directed by a doctor
- Ibuprofen (e.g., Advil, Motrin) – Take only when directed by a doctor
- Naproxen (e.g., Aleve) – Take only when directed by a doctor
- Sulfur – Take 2 or 3 tablets up to 3 times daily
2. Food Remedies for Hip Pain
While dietary supplements don’t treat the underlying cause of your hip pain, they can provide quick pain relief. Here are some food remedies you might want to try:
- Avocado – The fatty fruit contains moisturizing oils that can soothe your achy joints. Avocado can be eaten alone or added to soups, salads, or vegetable dishes.
- Broccoli – While it’s best to get your 5-a-day servings of fruits and vegetables, one serving of broccoli contains a fair amount of anti-inflammatory compounds called glucosinolates. Sprinkle broccoli into soups, stews, or casseroles to reduce the pain caused by inflammation.
- Ginger root – The spicy root can be eaten fresh or used to flavor soups, stews, or teas.
- Turmeric – The golden spice is also known as Indian saffron and contains anti-inflammatory compounds. Add ground turmeric to your cooking for a delicious addition to chicken, fish, or vegetable dishes.
Home Remedies for Hip Pain
While over-the-counter medications can provide quick pain relief, you can also try some home remedies for hip pain:
- Ice, cold packs, or bath bombs can reduce inflammation and soothe your aching joints. Place a cold pack on your hip or a frozen chunk of ice on your lower back. Leave it on for 15 minutes, then take it off and massage the sore area with a warmed towel. Do this several times a day.
- Knee-to-chest pose – Kneel on the floor with your knees and elbows bent, resting your upper back against the knees. Keep your hips and spine in alignment and stay in the pose until the pain subsides.
- Knees-up pose – Kneels backward with your elbows and knees bent, resting your hips against your palms. Keep your upper back pressed against your knees and stay in the pose until the pain subsides.
- Relaxation techniques – Controlling your thoughts and emotions can help reduce the stress that triggers your hip pain. Try different techniques until you find the ones that work best for you.
Nutritional Remedies for Hip Pain
While supplements and alternative medicines can provide quick pain relief and mask your symptoms, they don’t address the underlying cause of your pain. The best way to treat hip pain is with natural remedies that strengthen your hip joint and protect your joints from further damage. The following nutritional remedies can strengthen your hip joint and protect your joints:
- Glucosamine – The amino acid is found in both your bone and joint tissue and can help reduce the damage to your joints caused by inflammatory cytokines and oxidative stress. Take 300mg daily or as directed by your doctor.
- Chondroitin – A natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, your body easily absorbs chondroitin and stores it in your joints. Take 1200-2400mg daily or as directed by your doctor.
- MSM – The organic acid found in celery and parsley can help reduce inflammation and strengthen your joints. Take 500-1000mg daily or as directed by your doctor.
Vitamin C – The antioxidant vitamin can help protect your cells from damage and increase your body’s production of collagen, a connective tissue found in ligaments and tendons. Take 1000mg daily or as directed by your doctor.
- vanadium – An essential trace element found in small amounts in most plants, vanadium helps your body produce less oxidative stress and less inflammation. Take as directed by your doctor.
Preventing Hip Pain in the Future
If you’re experiencing frequent or chronic hip pain, consider whether you’re physically fit enough to work out. If not, you may want to consider joining a health club or hiring a trainer to get you moving more often. Once you’re active, focus your efforts on exercises that target your hips, such as hip thrusts, glute bridges, leg presses, or lunges.