Osteoarthritis (OA) can occur at various sites around the body, but it can be particularly painful if you suffer from arthritis in your hips. So what helps arthritis in hip cases? And how can you find effective hip arthritis pain relief?
Hip arthritis pain relief options are absolutely available, but because there is no foolproof cure for OA just yet, treating it requires a holistic approach. While medication or injections may assist hip arthritis pain relief in the short term, knowing what helps arthritis in hips is key to finding long-term relief.
In this article, we’ve compiled 11 top tips for people looking for hip arthritis pain relief. But before we dive into your options for relief, it’s important for you to have a clear understanding of the issue.
What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis occurs when collagen-rich cartilage tissue, that would normally cushion the impact between bones in our joints, wears away. Nerve cells in our bones alert us that they’re coming into contact with each other, and could be losing their integrity by grinding on each other.
Sadly we only get warning of the onset of arthritis in our joints when it’s already become a problem. Cartilage itself doesn’t contain nerve cells and so it doesn’t alert us that it’s wearing down until it’s already an issue.
So once you have hip pain from osteoarthritis, what should you do about it? Let’s discuss our top tips on what to do for arthritis in hips.
11 tips for hip arthritis pain relief
There are a variety of avenues when it comes to what helps arthritis in hips, and you can mix and match tips from this list to find the treatment that works best for your body and lifestyle.
These tips are targeted towards people looking for hip arthritis pain relief, but they can serve for anyone struggling with osteoarthritis – or trying to prevent it.
1. Learn more about osteoarthritis
Learning that you have, or are at risk of having, osteoarthritis is never convenient. However, it’s important to understand that treatment for hip arthritis without surgery is common around the world. An arthritis diagnosis doesn’t automatically require surgery.
Once you’ve accepted your situation you’ll be in a better position to understand and accept the hip arthritis pain relief options that are out there.
Gather your literary resources (reading our tips is a great starting point!) to learn more about OA and how to handle it independently, but prepare a social support network of family or friends in addition. Also, check-in with a medical health professional. They will know exactly what to do for arthritis in hips.
The road ahead will have good days and bad days. Some days will require more hip arthritis pain relief than others, and knowing you can rely on your team for the bad days makes them easier to manage.
2. Stock up on over-the-counter pain relief
Over-the-counter and prescription medicines are available for hip arthritis pain relief.
Preparation is key to keeping a well-stocked medicine cabinet. Order more when you’re running low, rather than when you’ve already run out.
Over-the-counter pain relief such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and naproxen provide hip arthritis pain relief by reducing swelling in the area. Since pain flares can be unpredictable, having clear access to medication 24/7 gives peace of mind as well as a pain relief option.
3. Ask about prescription medication
If your pain is severe, medical professionals may prescribe stronger pain relief to take. Depending on your individual situation, ask your doctor about how duloxetine or tramadol might be a hip arthritis pain relief solution for you.
Pain relief medicines alone will not cure OA, nor will they provide a complete, reliable solution when used alone. This is because the medication does nothing to regenerate lost cartilage in joints.
Worse, we can build a tolerance to painkillers over time, and the overuse of pain medicine can lead to a life-altering dependence on the drug.
Medicine is a good starting point for hip arthritis pain relief, but it must only be a part of the puzzle. Fortunately, more beneficial avenues are available and are worth paying attention to.
4. Make sure to stretch
Done regularly, stretching can help to relieve aching, stiff, or painful joints. Stretching is a great option for hip arthritis pain relief.
The best starting point is a physical therapist. They can build a stretching regime tailored to the type and severity of your hip arthritis. In all cases, you will be told not to rush into difficult or demanding stretches that could cause a setback in your recovery.
Do stretches gently and build up flexibility slowly. Remember, stop immediately if a stretch becomes painful. This isn’t weight training, and you don’t need to push through any physical barriers to get to where you need to go. Patience and consistency are the keys to success.
As the hip is a key connection point in your body's skeletal and muscular systems, a variety of stretches can activate it.
Stretches from standing, sitting, or lying down can all activate the hip in different ways. If one particular stretch is painful, you may still be able to stretch your hip in another position to gain daily progress without putting yourself at risk of a setback.
Ask your physical therapist about a variety of stretches that you can do, so you have alternative routes to healing.
5. Invest in mobility assistance as needed
Some people have a resistance to using mobility assistance such as canes or crutches, but just as someone with a visual impairment shouldn’t refuse glasses, someone looking for hip arthritis pain relief should be open to the idea of mobility assistance.
If you decide to try a cane, it shouldn’t be too tall or too short for your height. Canes aren’t one-size-fits-all. You should seek professional assistance if you’re not sure which one is right for your height. As a general rule, the height should come to the top of your wrist.
6. Add low-impact exercise to your routine
Low-impact exercise provides solid cardiovascular benefits, muscle and core gains, and potential weight loss while building resistance in arthritic joints.
Tai Chi is one of the most highly recommended low-impact exercises for OA patients. Its low-impact movements enhance balance, strength, flexibility, and self-efficacy. Tai Chi has been proven to reduce pain for people with a number of health concerns – including arthritis.
If Tai Chi isn’t your cup of tea however, consider swimming or aqua-aerobics. Being in the water immediately readjusts the weight-distribution of your body, reducing the impact and bearing load on your affected hip.
Motivation is the key to a successful exercise routine, but it’s easy to understand why OA sufferers may lack motivation to exercise. As a counter to this, it’s recommended that you join exercise or enlist the help of a personal trainer to achieve hip arthritis pain relief.
As with stretching however, low-impact exercise should only go as far as your body is ready for. Pain is an indicator to stop and take things more gradually. Speak to your trainer and they will be able to adapt your routine to something more suitable.
7. Try heat/cold pads for pain relief
As with any medical condition without a clearly-defined cure, you will come across a variety of alternative treatment options. It’s important to be wary of any alternative therapy that promises miracle cures or results that are too good to be true.
That being said, some alternative therapies absolutely have merit for hip arthritis pain relief.
The application of pads, towels, or ointments that cool or heat the painful area around your hips is often referred to as thermotherapy. In clinical trials with OA patients, the use of ice yielded positive results for arthritis pain relief as the cold, like pain medication, acts as an anti-inflammatory.
Heated pads did not record as significantly positive results, although it does improve circulation to the area. There were no recorded negative effects to heating the hips as long as the pads are applied properly.
Benefits from heated pads may be more for overall comfort rather than a true hip arthritis treatment. But that shouldn’t automatically cause you to disregard this treatment if it’s something you’re interested in – you should simply set your expectations accordingly.
8. Adjust your lifestyle
Living with OA may require readjusting other habits or lifestyle choices to avoid excess discomfort.
Take a look at longstanding unhealthy habits you may have such as smoking, alcohol use, irregular sleep patterns, or stressful activities, and make efforts to reduce and eventually eliminate them from your lifestyle.
9. Try to take the weight off
If you’re currently overweight or obese, you will be in greater need of hip arthritis pain relief.
It’s simple physics. The hips are built to support the weight of nearly your entire body when standing, and if you’re carrying more weight then you add more stress to the joint.
It’s easy to see why weight loss is often a medical professional’s initial advice to OA patients; it’s clear and practical advice.
That’s not to say that weight loss is simple. Sudden limited mobility and receiving difficult news can easily lead to weight gain through lack of motivation to exercise and eating for comfort.
Again, good advice here is to create a support network and the creation of healthy routines of diet and exercise.
10. Provide your body with healing nutrients
A balanced diet containing carbohydrates, proteins, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals gives your body what it needs to carry out its vital processes such as maintaining the immune system, circulatory system, and providing energy.
A wound healing diet may also help to heal the inflamed or injured areas in your hips.
11. Take collagen supplements to aid cartilage healing
Considering the cause of osteoarthritis is worn down cartilage, any real treatment for hip arthritis should try to restore the missing cartilage to the joint. Cartilage, like any tissue cell, can heal over time. The problem is that cartilage heals much more slowly than other tissue, and that healing slows as we age generally anyway.
Why is cartilage slow to heal? Because cartilage isn’t as well connected to the circulatory system as other tissues. Living in the impact zone between bones, cartilage can’t afford to contain a delicate blood vessel network. It would get damaged everytime we stood up!
Instead, the main component of cartilage is collagen protein, so it stands to reason that if you want to improve the health of your cartilage, you need more collagen. In fact, collagen protein is used by the body to replenish and reinforce many types of tissue cells.
Collagen protein is the human body’s “go-to” protein. There are a variety of types of collagen, and with its high tensile-strength, collagen protein features heavily in joints and ligaments. Taking collagen for joints can be very beneficial for your osteoarthritis, but also for ligament health and injury prevention, too!
If you are looking for what to do for arthritis in hips, taking a daily collagen supplement may be one of the simplest ways to improve your health and comfort.
The best collagen for hip arthritis pain relief
Supplements are a great, easy, and accessible way to make sure you get the collagen protein you need to keep your body well fueled. That is, if the collagen supplement is high-quality. Most supplements are not regulated by the FDA, so you need to do a little digging to ensure you’re getting a good product.
If you’re looking for relief from hip arthritis, your body needs to be supplied with the best resources to reinforce the cartilage. We recommend looking for a hydrolyzed collagen supplement that doesn’t contain any excess sugars or additives.
Hydrolyzed collagen has been broken down into smaller pieces that are easier for your body to absorb and utilize. Of course, not all hydrolyzed collagen is created equal, either. Look for a trusted company that is backed by science and has plenty of reviews.
And, best yet, you can look for a medical-grade collagen supplement – which is regulated by the FDA and trusted by medical professionals across the country for its healing potential. A high-quality, trusted, and hydrolyzed collagen supplement will be your best bet for hip arthritis pain relief.