From the blog of Dr. Barbara Bergin
Behind knees and shoulders, hips are one of the most troublesome parts of our bodies…particularly us gals. And it goes double during COVID-19, so listen up! I divide hip pain into 3 areas: the buttock, the side of the hip and the groin area. Most commonly, buttock pain is related to the back (sciatica), or strain to the muscles of the buttock. Lateral hip pain, or pain along that bump on the outside of the hip, is usually related to the bursa. The groin is where your hip actually lives, so pain in the groin can be due to arthritis, or other conditions of the hip and surrounding structures.
- Here’s where the ICE part of R.I.C.E. doesn’t work so well. The hip is pretty deep, and it takes a long time for cold to get there. And it’s very hard to keep an ice pack on the side of your hip. Elevation doesn’t work that well because it’s hard to elevate your hip.
- But REST works. If something around your hip is hurting, and you can find a position in which you are not so painful…seek that position more often, and your hip (or any place in your body for that matter) will thank you for it. I also refer to that as mindfulness. We often think that unless we are 100% pain-free, then a treatment isn’t working. Less pain, and being aware, or mindful of how to experience less pain is effective, and it’s the right thing to do. When you’re in pain, it is not really beneficial to work through that pain, especially if it’s in a bone or joint. This goes double during this viral pandemic, since we should try to stay out of doctors’ offices and ERs if possible.
- PILLOWS can help. Put pillows anywhere around your hips, to either cushion them or keep your legs separated, relieving tension from painful muscles or joints. I did a series of posts regarding the use of pillows to decrease pain.
- Cushion your hips. If it hurts the side of your hip when you sleep on it, then you likely have bursitis. Get a 3-inch memory foam mattress topper.
- SLOW DOWN! Hip pain can be exacerbated by walking fast…like power walking.
- Get off the treadmill if you’ve noticed pain anywhere in your legs, since starting the program. I’ve seen a lot of increased hip pain, hip tendonitis, and stress fractures due to aggressive treadmill walking. If you want to use the treadmill for exercise, then make your program as similar to regular walking as possible. Avoid power-walking. Slow down. Avoid constant uphill walking. Wear good shoes. Try not to grab the handrails. If you feel you need to hold on for balance or security, do it intermittently or just touch the handrails occasionally as your exercise.
- Do not see out stairs as a source of exercise. It’s hard on the hips and knees. Climb them if you must, but avoid them otherwise. And while I’m dissing stairs, here’s a post regarding stair safety. You’d be surprised at how many patients I see with injuries they can blame on stairs.
- Sit Like A Man (S.L.A.M.). Yep, sitting with the legs slightly apart, reduces tension on the muscles of the buttock and the iliotibial band, which is the tendon crossing the greater trochanter (that bump on the side of your hip) and the bursa overlying it. Read my posts or watch videos about it on my blog, drbarbarabergin.com
- Read my blog post regarding hip bursitis.
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