Weight Management Techniques
The key to keeping a hip problem at bay is to stay relatively active and to eat right. The most recent government report notes that 56 percent of Americans are overweight. This is bad news for our hips and knees.
Scientifically speaking, our hips form and develop in mass and strength in proportion to the amount of weight our body was designed to hold. So, if you are a small woman, your hips are meant to hold a smaller amount of weight than if you are a six-foot tall man. Although the body is very adaptable and can learn to hold different weights, a point can be reached where the body is simply not comfortable supporting the excess weight.
Let's talk BMI, or Body Mass Index. BMI is the number you come up with when you divide how much you weigh in kilograms by how tall you are in centimeters squared. The number you come up with is your BMI. A BMI between 18.5 and 25 is considered in the normal range. A BMI above 25 is considered overweight and a BMI of 30 or more is classified as obesity. To find your BMI, there are several calculators on the Internet including the BMI recommendations from the Surgeon General.
Losing weight can provide instant relief for the hips. Although we are constantly inundated with new diet fads, remember that logically, the way to lose weight is to consume fewer calories than we burn and the way to maintain weight is to burn approximately the same number of calories that we burn.
Although in reality, this method can be harder to follow than it is to understand, once we build healthy habits, this lifestyle will become easier and easier to maintain. Some diets help you to do this. Others are shams. Be cautious. Anything that seems to good to be true, probably is.
If you have arthritis, there are pain aggravators that should be avoided. For instance, paprika, pepper, tobacco, cayenne, eggplant, large amounts of potatoes and tomatoes can irritate your arthritis because these foods have alkaloids that prevent the repair of collagen and cartilage. Aspartame (found in diet sodas and artificial sweeteners) can also worsen arthritis since in causes inflammation in the joints when regularly consumed.
In study after study, it seems almost innumerable health benefits can be accumulated from eating a diet rich in fiber and complex carbohydrates found in vegetables, whole wheat and fruits. Once again, hips also benefit from this diet.
It is also important to incorporate exercise into your routine if you have hip pain. Although it may seem like a Catch-22 (you cannot exercise because your hip hurts, and your hip hurts more because you cannot exercise) strengthening the leg muscles can be crucial in alleviating hip pain.
The more support the muscles can offer, the less stress and therefore less pain. Please refer to our online exercise library, which will show you several hip strengthening exercises. Also, if your hip hurts and you want to start up an exercise routine, why not try a stationary bike or swimming? While running or stair climbing can be taxing to the hips, the stationary bike and swimming are both excellent cardiovascular activities that only minimally put pressure on the hips.
Treatments you can administer at home
Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory medication, or NSAID's, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Nuprin and Motrin IB) help reduce swelling and inflammation and can be quite helpful to a torn ligament. The ibuprofen also helps mask the pain of a hip injury. Use NSAID's cautiously, however, as taking them regularly over a long period of time can cause ulcers or other gastro-intestinal problems.
Just remember that while using NSAID's, you should also be taking other precautions to heal your pain. COX-2 inhibitors such as Celebrex by Searle and Vioxx by Merck can help lessen the stiffness brought on by arthritis pain. Vioxx can helps manage both osteoarthritis and rheumetoid arthritis pain. While they are able to help with the pain, they also might make it difficult for the body to heal ulcers, so be sure to consult with your doctor to make sure this is the right treatment for you.
Another anti-inflammatory that can be useful are enzymes. The FDA has labeled them GRAS (or generally regarded as safe) which means they can be used to treat hip pain with little to no side effects.
RICE — Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation
This is an easy to remember four-step formula for treating a hip injury that is incurred from activity.
- Rest, means to keep the hip away from any stressful activity, preferably immobile initially.
- Ice means to apply ice to the hip to control swelling and inflammation. Wrap ice in a towel so that it does not agitate the skin.
- Compression will help prevent hemorrhaging or internal bleeding.
- Elevation. Elevate the leg above the heart to reduce internal bleeding.
Your physician may prescribe oral medications for the relief of arthritis pain or joint pain. This can include pills with Aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen which can relieve pain and reduce inflammation. If oral medications fail to provide relief, your orthopedic surgeon may recommend an injection of medication into the joint. An injections can offer quick, effective pain relief. However, joint injections with either cortisone, steroids or other medication have limits because over time excessive use can damage the joint.
Vitamins & Supplements:
Glucosamine & chondroitin sulfate
Jane E. Brody, "Personal Health" columnist for The New York Times, says that European researchers have shown that glucosamine and chondroitin taken by mouth find their way to articular cartilage, and biopsies of some treated patients have shown structural improvements in damaged cartilage. Those who suffer from arthritis pain can find this particularly encouraging. These compounds are already found in the human body and they protect cartilage like a cushion at the ends of the bones. They can structurally improve in damaged cartilage. Glucosamine is able to repair joints by providing the elements the joints need to repair the damage caused by injury or arthritis. The joint cartilage absorbs glucosamine and it helps to form cartilage by capping the ends of bones. Glucosamine also keeps the mechanisms that build and deteriorate cartilage balanced, thereby preventing unnecessary, or untimely tissue loss. Chondroitin keeps the enzymes in the hip from eating away at cartilage, and it helps other enzymes in moving the flow of nutrients to the cartilage in the hip. In test tube studies, chondroitin has been proven to stop certain enzymes from breaking down cartilage further.
Therapy Massage not only feels good, it is an effective way of relieving pain. A masseuse will increase the circulation of the body through rhythmic hand motion. In sports, massage therapy can be used to prevent strain by warming up athletes prior to a workout. The muscles can also be massaged after a workout to bring blood and oxygen into the muscles to flush out metabolic waste and increase circulation to the muscles to bring them the nutrients they need to heal after strenuous activity.
For those suffering from arthritis, massage can also be very helpful. Massage will help blood circulate in the painful area which brings essential nutrients to the muscles and joints which will help reduce inflammation and can also help break up scar tissue and adhesion which is causing pain.