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Problem with left hip. Having pain while stretching the hip. Suggest treatment

Jul 2013
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Orthopaedic Surgeon, Joint Replacement
Practicing since : 1996
Answered : 2148 Questions
I have a problem with only one joint in my body - my left hip. It isn't extremely painful, and only hurts when I stretch the hip. For example, it is painful in exercise when I bend over to touch my toes. But in normal activity, such as walking, it doesn't bother me. I go to the gym three days a week for a total of 100 minutes of aerobic exercise, non-impact, on an elliptical machine. I also exercise at home, strength and yoga, three days a week, different days from when I go to the gym.

I'm 75 years old, and do not take any medication, but take lots of supplements. Other than this relatively minor problem, my health is good as far as I know. I visit the VA clinic once a year for lab work, cholesterol check, etc., but other than that I haven't had an occasion to go to a doctor for many years.

I assume this it is some form of arthritis, in that I haven't injured the hip - no falls, etc. I do not want to go to a doctor and get on a medication regimen. I have an aversion to medication except in an extreme emergency. But I would appreciate some ideas on what, if anything, can be done to alleviate the soreness in my hip - exercises, food choices, etc.
Posted Tue, 5 Nov 2013 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. K. Naga Ravi Prasad 44 minutes later
Brief Answer:
It could be Degenerative arthritis in your Hip.

Detailed Answer:
Hi, thanks for writing to XXXXXXX

There is a high possibility that your pain in the hip joint with specific movements is related to the degenerative arthritis that might have set in, which is common at your age.

An Xray of the Hip joint will confirm the diagnosis. If Xray is normal, then an MRI scan is necessary to establish other soft tissue causes of pain.

The conservative management of Hip arthritis is as follows -

* ACTIVITY MODIFICATION -It is important to maintain as much activity and joint motion as possible, but impact activities will aggravate arthritis. Running and jumping will often accelerate cartilage loss from the joint. The key is to focus on low impact activities, such as swimming or cycling. These are the best forms of exercise with arthritic hips as they do not require significant weight bearing across the hip joints.
* CANES - Canes or walking sticks are useful, particularly when the arthritis affects only one side. It is important to use the cane in the opposite hand from the bad hip or knee. This allows you to lean away from the bad leg, taking weight off of it.
* WEIGHT LOSS - Significant weight loss for obese patients can make a dramatic difference in the pain arising from arthritic joints.
* HIP INJECTIONS - Injection therapies do not "cure" the underlying problems of arthritis, but can be useful for short term relief (potentially for a few months).
* NON STEROIDAL ANTIINFLAMMATORY DRUGS (NSAIDs) - This family of medications includes aspirin, ibuprofen, naprosyn, and other non-narcotic medications to decrease pain and inflammation.
* GLUCOSAMINE / CHONDROITIN SULFATE - There is compelling evidence that it is relatively safe and works by decreasing pain & inflammation in the joint thereby reducing the need for regular painkiller usage.

Well, as you are not interested to use any medication for pain relief, here are some of the natural pain relieving methods-
- Release your inner endorphins : Endorphins are the body's natural pain relievers, and they can be as strong as many of the strongest pain relievers. The body produces endorphins during aerobic exercise. Infact any activity that gets your blood pumping for a sustained period will release pain relieving endorphins into your system.
- Eat cookies : Research shows that eating sweet foods like cookies, chocolate or ice cream, helps reduce the sensation of pain. Or just bake the cookies. Enjoying a smell that is both sweet and pleasant has been shown to reduce the perception of pain.
- Feel the heat :Applying some form of heat (a hot water bottle, electric heating pad) can go a long way in easing your pain. Benefits of heat are twofold: it increases the flow of healing oxygen and nutrients to the damaged area, and it suppresses pain signals being sent to your brain.
- Cool it with ice : Pain almost always comes with some level of inflammation, and ice is the best natural way to reduce it. Ice also helps by acting as a local anesthetic, and by slowing the nerve impulses, which in turn interrupts the pain-spasm reactions between the nerves in the affected area.
- Enjoy the outdoors :Researchers found that Vitamin D helps relieve pain by aiding in the absorption of calcium, which is needed for bone growth and repair. Other research shows vitamin D may directly help soothe pain. About 15 minutes of sun exposure on your face and hands a day is enough to get your daily dose of Vitamin D.
- Meditate twice daily :Easy to learn and immediate results make this one of my favorite paths to natural pain relief. Meditation can also help reduce the depression, anxiety, stress and sleeping problems that often accompany chronic pain.
- Get enough restorative sleep :Getting enough sleep is critical to managing the pain and healing, so it’s important to employ a variety of sleep aids to help you get a healthy amount of sleep.

Hope I have addressed your query. Happy to help further

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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