Due to hurricane damage, the Havelock location is closed until further notice. Havelock therapists Hannah Zhang, Sarah Hall and Judy Hickes are available to see patients at the New Bern location. Please call the New Bern location at (252) 636-9800 to discuss your care.

Physical therapy for hip pain: Does it actually work?

physical therapy for hip pain

No one wants to deal with hip pain. But for some, hip pain is a part of everyday life. It doesn’t have to be this way. You can manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life through physical therapy for hip pain

Physical therapists are licensed health professionals who have a variety of techniques available to help reduce your hip pain. However, if you’ve never been to a physical therapist before, you may be skeptical of the benefits. Continue reading to learn more about how physical therapy can help you take your life back from hip pain.

What is physical therapy and how can it help your hip pain?

Physical therapy is a type of rehabilitative care that focuses on your musculoskeletal system. Your musculoskeletal system consists of your bones, ligaments, tendons and connective tissue. As such, physical therapists tend to treat problems that arise in areas like the neck, shoulders, back, knees and hips.

Physical therapists use specialized techniques to reduce pain, increase mobility and improve limb function. The exact goals of physical therapy for hip pain may look different from patient to patient depending on the potential cause of the pain. A key step in physical therapy is evaluating your symptoms and forming a diagnosis. Once your physical therapist has formed a diagnosis, they will design a treatment plan that will address the root cause of your hip pain. Physical therapy for hip pain may also include exercises to help strengthen the affected area to help prevent future injury.

Physical therapy can help address several muscular injuries and conditions that may be the cause of your hip pain, including:

  • Tendinitis — One of the most common causes of short-term hip pain is inflamed tendons, or tendinitis. Tendinitis occurs when there is a small or complete tear in the tendon, causing inflammation. Most people develop tendinitis from repeating the same motion over and over. This repetitive motion puts stress on the tendons and causes them to tear.
  • Osteoarthritis — If you are experiencing long-term or chronic hip pain, it may be due to osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition where the protective cartilage in your joints begins to break down. This causes the ends of the two bones to rub together. This friction can cause pain, stiffness and other symptoms. Osteoarthritis can occur in any joint and occurs most often in older adults.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis — Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder and is a result of your body’s immune system attacking healthy tissue lining your joints. This can cause pain, swelling, inflammation and stiffness in the joints, including your hip joint.
  • Trochanteric bursitis — Another possible cause of hip pain is trochanteric bursitis. This condition occurs when your hip bursae become inflamed. Bursae are fluid-filled sacs that provide cushion between your muscles and bone. They can become inflamed from traumatic injury to your hip, repeated overuse of the muscle or poor posture.
  • Hip fractures — Hip fractures cause very sudden, severe hip pain and require immediate medical attention. Typically, a hip fracture requires surgery to be corrected. However, you may still experience some pain, discomfort and stiffness post-surgery. Physical therapy is an effective option to help you manage your post-surgical symptoms and boost your recovery.

3 PT techniques that can help treat your hip pain

There are several techniques that your therapist may use as part of your hip pain treatment. Some of these PT techniques may include:

  • Hip joint mobilization — Joint mobilization is a type of manual therapy technique. Your physical therapist will use their hands to move and manipulate your hip joint. Joint mobilization works to loosen the muscles in the affected area. This can increase hip mobility and range of motion while also decreasing muscle spasms and hip pain. This PT technique is especially effective in the case of tendinitis in your hip.
  • Therapeutic exercise — Your therapist may prescribe a therapeutic exercise routine as part of your physical therapy for hip pain. It may seem counterintuitive to exercise when you are in pain; however, staying inactive while you heal can further weaken your injured muscles and cause greater pain. Your physical therapist will evaluate your current abilities as well as your pain levels. They will then design a therapeutic exercise routine that will allow you to safely increase your strength and mobility without causing further injury. 
  • Dry needlingDry needling is a PT technique commonly used by physical therapists to reduce pain in a targeted area. Your physical therapist will insert thin needles through your skin and into “trigger” points in the muscle. A trigger point is a knotted area in your muscles that are often painful when touched. A trigger point in one part of the body can also cause pain in other areas of the body. Dry needling can help decrease tightness, increase blood flow and reduce pain caused by trigger points. As such, dry needling may be a part of your physical therapy for hip pain.

Peak Performance Sports and Physical Therapy is here to help reduce your hip pain

Is your hip pain keeping you from doing what you love? Peak Performance is here to help. Our team of licensed physical therapists is prepared to provide you with quality care for your hip pain. During your initial appointment, a physical therapist will evaluate your symptoms and determine a diagnosis. Then, they will create a physical therapy treatment plan for your hip pain. With the support of a physical therapist, you can jump-start your healing journey today.
Contact us to schedule an initial appointment and learn more about physical therapy for hip pain.