Osteoarthritis of the hip is a common joint disorder, which can cause pain, inflammation, and stiffness. Age is a top contributing factor for the disorder. Other factors include family history, obesity, overuse, or a previous fraction or injury. Hip pain caused by osteoarthritis is often combined with stiffness, waving, limited range of motion, and difficulty walking or sitting for extended periods of time.
Positive lifestyle changes can help reduce the symptoms associated with osteoarthritis. Maintaining a healthy diet and weight, getting ample rest, getting your alignment checked and exercising regularly can help limit your pain and stiffness. Exercise helps with strength and movement of the joints. Swimming is particularly beneficial since it can help improve strength and mobility of the joints but is non-weight bearing.
Chiropractic care for osteoarthritis of the hip has been studied and has been recommended as an effective treatment. In a major study, “Comparison of manual therapy and exercise therapy in osteoarthritis of the hip: a randomized clinical trial,” researchers compared the effectiveness of chiropractic mobilizations and manipulations of the hip joint with an exercise only program (no manipulations or mobilizations). 1 The study followed more than one hundred patients with osteoarthritis of the hip in a single-blind, randomized clinical trial. Half of the participants received the chiropractic manual therapy and the other half received the exercise program. Success rates for the manual therapy group were 81% compared to only 50% for the exercise group. “The manual therapy group had significantly better outcomes on pain, stiffness, hip function, and range of motion.” 1
The research shown that while exercise can be beneficial for patients with osteoarthritis of the hip, that manual therapy provided by a chiropractor is superior to exercise alone and can greatly improve a patient's quality of life.
Chiropractic is a natural form of healing that uses manual therapies (commonly adjustments) and other physiotherapy modalities. A chiropractic adjustment is one of the most common forms of manual therapy used by chiropractors. In this study, adjustments were made to the hip and spinal (manipulation or mobilization). A manipulation is a high velocity action performed with specific, directed force, which helps to move the joint beyond the patient's passive (or resting) range of motion to achieve its full range of movement. Mobilization is a low velocity action applied within the patient's normal (active) range of motion.
Chiropractic adjustments are intended to restore proper body alignment, range, and quality of motion. The patients in this study who received the adjustments have experienced a better outcome in managing their hip pain. Further, more than six months after the adjustments, the patients were still experiencing the positive benefits of the manual therapy, suggesting the long- term effects of the therapy.
Chiropractic care is a safe and cost effective alternative to surgery. While some patients with osteoarthritis of the hip will inevitably need surgery, it is well worth the effort to a visit to a chiropractor first. Hip adjustments by a chiropractor may help you avoid or at least delay the need for surgery.
1. Hoeksma HL, Dekker J, Ronday HK, et al. Comparison of manual therapy and exercise therapy in osteoarthritis of the hip: a randomized clinical trial. Arthritis Rheum. Oct 15 2004; 51 (5): 722-729.