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What are the Non-Surgical Treatments for Hip Ostearthritis?

If your doctor is not recommending surgery for your hip joint at this time, there are some other ways to alleviate pain and improve mobility.

Medications

Pain relievers are usually the first choice of therapy for osteoarthritis of the hip and knee. Simple pain relievers, such as paracetamol (Panadol), are available without a prescription and can be effective in reducing pain. Non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory medications include other over-the-counter medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Nurofen), or naproxen (Naprosyn) to help reduce pain and swelling in the joint. More potent types of pain relievers are prescription-strength non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that can be prescribed by your local doctor.

Injections

Cortisone injections can provide you with pain relief and reduce inflammation. They can be very useful if there is significant swelling, but are not very helpful if the arthritis affects the movement of your joint. How long the injection works before it wears off is variable, and there is a limit of three your doctor can give you per year.

Viscosupplementation is a treatment in which hyaluronic acid (HA) is injected into the joint. It can help joints to work properly by acting like a lubricant. There are several different types that your doctor will give in various treatment regimes. Due to anatomy around the hip joint, injections into the hip are more complicated and therefore less frequently prescribed. Examples of such medications include Synvisc, Orthovisc, Supartz, Hyalgan, etc.

Weight Loss

Many people with osteoarthritis are overweight. Simple weight loss can reduce stress on your weight-bearing joints, such as the hip or knee. Based upon the physics of the hip and knee joints, you put three to five times your body weight across these joints throughout the day – especially during stair climbing and getting in and out of a chair.

Every 5kg of extra weight that you carry can result in 25kg of weight-bearing pressure across your hips and knees. Losing weight can result in reduced pain and increased function, particularly in walking.

Exercise

An exercise routine can help increase your range of motion and flexibility as well as help strengthen the muscles in your legs. Exercise is often effective in reducing pain and improving function. Unfortunately, in the setting of advanced arthritis (bone-on-bone), exercise can sometimes increase pain in your hip joint. Your physiotherapist can help develop an individualized exercise program that meets your needs and lifestyle.

Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy to strengthen the muscles around your joint may help absorb some of the shock imparted to the joint. Physiotherapy can help to reduce the pain, swelling, and stiffness of osteoarthritis, and it can help improve joint function. It can also make it easier for you to walk, bend, kneel, squat, and sit.

Alternative Therapies

An examples of an alternative therapy includes the use of acupuncture. Acupuncture uses fine needles to stimulate specific body areas to relieve pain or temporarily numb an area. It is used in many parts of the world, and evidence suggests that it can help ease the pain of arthritis.

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Escarpment Orthopaedics & Sports
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