Chiropractic for Hip Pain

Chiropractic for Hip Pain

          Chiropractic for hip pain works by utilizing various chiropractic treatment options to restore function to the hip joint. The frequency of hip disorders in the US was 32%, increasing with age from 18% among males age 38 – 47 to 42% among females age 48 – 67. Hip misalignment is a very common condition that we see as chiropractic providers.  When the hip is out of alignment, it can lead to pain in other parts of the body as well. This is why it is also so important that we understand the condition in its deepest form as well as the western medicine perspective.


Hip Pain


            Containing the largest ball and socket joint, the hip is built for free-flowing 360-degree movement. Although it is a strong and complex joint, its wide range of motion makes it prone to wear and tear especially with old age and continued use on damaged tissue. It can be difficult to pinpoint the root cause of hip pain because there are multiple potential causes to hip pain.


Conditions That Cause Hip Pain:


  • Bursitis – pain is usually on the outside of the hip, buttocks, and/or thigh hurting day to day, not usually activity related pain. It is more prevalent in those who are over 60 years old.
    • Common treatment is rest, ice, anti-inflammatories, and sometimes cortisone injections.
  • Tendonitis – pain is usually at the hip flexor or groin when the patient moves or those areas are touched.
    • Common treatments are the same as bursitis.
  • Sports Hernia (core muscle injury) – pain is in the groin area common in patients who play sports with extreme twisting or turning, i.e. those who are weekend warriors.
    • Common treatment for this is usually rest, but if necessary, surgery.
  • Labral Tears – the cartilage surrounding the hip socket, the pain is in the hip or groin area limiting movement seeming as though the hip is locking or clicking. This is often found in athletes such as ballerinas.
    • Common treatment is a minor surgery involving shaving down the misshaped bone and repairing the labrum to correct the hip’s alignment. This will relieve pain and protect the joint.
  • Hip Impingement (Femoral Acetabular Impingement, FAI) – common in younger people who regularly do hyper-intensive athletics like cross fit and tough mudder races. During these activities, the hip bones sometimes fuse into an irregular shape and limit range of motion. This type of hip pain can also lead to osteoarthritis prematurely.
    • Common treatment is usually physical therapy, and in the worst case scenario, surgery to unlock the hip bones.
  • Gynecological – what may seem like pain in the hip may actually be in the pelvis. Pain in the groin or hip area that coincides with the patient’s period or ovulation could be due to endometriosis, fibroids, or other urological and gastrointestinal issues being confused with hip pain.
    • Common treatments are often to have patient’s visit with another specialist, often a gynecologist or gastroenterologist.
  • Osteoarthritis – pain is consistent, dull pain in the hip. The hip is usually stiff and swollen from inflammation and breaking down of cartilage causing pain. Those who are highly active in their youth with high-impact sports such as running marathons are at a higher risk of getting osteoarthritis. With age, possible obesity, or possible traumatic injuries, the pain can become intense.
    • Common treatments are rest, ice, over the counter anti-inflammatory medications. Other more intensive treatment options would be stem cell therapy and surgery including total hip replacement or resurfacing.
In general, across the board for hip pain in western medicine, activity-related pain is usually treated with rest, arthritis and injuries is treated with pain medications, and any fractures or malformations of the hip require surgical intervention.


Chiropractic & Hip Pain


            Chiropractic treats a variety of hip conditions, and it is usually commonplace, especially with hip injuries, to take a set of x-rays of the hip area and often the entire spine to rule out other possible issues. When the hips are misaligned, it will cause pain not only in the hip region but other areas of the body as well because the body may begin to overcompensate for the misaligned hip causing pain in the back down to the legs.


Chiropractic Treatment Options for Hip Pain:


  • Manual adjustments (spinal manipulations) – the spine being misaligned puts pressure on the spinal cord and nerves that communicate with the rest of the body. This can cause imbalances in range of motion and affect the hips.
  • Ultrasound – targeted ultrasonic sound waves to relax and warm the connective tissues of the hip and stimulate blood flow to speed up the healing process.
  • Massage – beneficial when treating hip pain caused by tight muscles that are tight and overworked. Massage therapy restores range of motion and normal function in the hip.
  • Heat and Cryotherapy – cryotherapy restricts blood flow to reduce swelling and inflammation, and heat stimulates blood flow to increase oxygen promoting faster healing in the hip tissue. Combining these two therapies aids in speeding up recovery and decrease pain.
  • Exercises – strengthen the weak areas of the hip and support the surrounding muscles to compliment spinal manipulation and other treatment modalities creating better stability in the joint.
  • Electrotherapy – the contracting and relaxing of muscles enables soft tissue and weakened muscles to repair. Additionally, it blocks the pain receptors that send pain messages from the hip to the brain.


Although there is not really one cure for many of the conditions that cause hip pain, chiropractic allows us to get to the root issues, and treat the patients for a better quality of life.


Benefits of Chiropractic for Conditions:


  • Arthritis – chiropractic treatment can slow the progression of this condition, and improve the patient’s quality of life.
  • Sciatica – chiropractic treatment helps to alleviate the pain and pressure on the sciatic nerve.
  • High-Impact Injury – chiropractic treatment focuses on pain management and increasing the body’s natural healing abilities.
  • Overuse Injury – chiropractic treatment focuses on restoring hip and spine alignment to promote muscle balance, mobility, and nerve integrity.


When encountering a patient with hip pain, it is important to be sure and ask the proper questions, and use every tool necessary in our chiropractic toolbox to determine a root cause diagnosis. Furthermore, we must advise the patient on regular stretches and exercises at home to strengthen their core that is age appropriate. Nutrition and controlling weight will also potentially play a role in their quest to rid themselves of hip pain in some cases. Incorporating all of these into a cohesive treatment will ultimately lead to a better quality of life.


Hip Pain Treatment with Chiropractic


            The hip is a complex joint that tends to take a beating on those with active lifestyles, and especially as we age. However, since there are no real cure options for those patients suffering from hip pain, a treatment option like chiropractic may be the best bet to incorporate and utilize in their quest for relief from their hip pain. According to statistics in the European Journal of Physiotherapy in a study of prevalence of self-reported hip pain, only 58% of people actually consulted with medical care for their hip problems, and a whopping 92% of those individuals reported disorders in other joints as well as the hip. This shows that something needs to be done in the treatment of hip pain, and chiropractic can help many regain hip mobility.