More and more people are trying to avoid expensive surgeries and utilize a more natural solution to their hip pain with physical therapy. Physical therapy can be a very effective treatment for most cases of hip pain and can improve flexibility and strength while reducing pain and stiffness. The following are some helpful physical therapy exercises:
Ice and heat
Pain and swelling can be greatly reduced by simply applying ice to the hip area. The ice pack should be wrapped in a towel and applied for about 20 minutes. Once the swelling subsides, apply a heat pack. The heat pack will relax the muscles and surround tissue. It can also help stimulate blood flow, which accelerates the healing process.
If you don’t move your joints for a while, joint stiffness can occur. It will not only cause your hip joint to lose its full range of motion, but it can cause more damage if left untreated. Stretching your hips will help maintain range of motion and improve flexibility. Whether you do the stretches with your physical therapist or alone at home, it’s important to stretch regularly so the joints don’t tighten back up.
During your physical therapy routine, you will partake in exercises that will help increase your hip muscle strength and promote general fitness. Your therapist will guide you on how to properly do each of the exercises so you don’t injure yourself or cause further damage to your hip. If your physical therapist feels confident that you can do the exercises on your own, then they may recommend a home exercise routine.
Modalities are passive treatment options that help strengthen, relax and heal muscles. Passive treatment simply means you don’t have to actively participate in the treatment process. A variety of modalities can be used to help treat your hip pain including:
- Ice/Heat packs: The application of heat and ice is the most common modality used by physical therapists.
- Ultrasound: Ultrasounds use high frequency sound waves that can penetrate deeper tissues.
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator (TENS): Heating equipment that helps relax tight muscles and improves blood flow to your joints.
While the active and passive therapies are an important part of the physical therapy regimen, it’s also important to get familiar with the educational aspects. Your physical therapist will teach you about the different therapies that you can do on your own, and the health benefits to performing those regularly.