For correcting hip pain in athletes, chiropractic has been found beneficial for treating, and sometimes completely resolving, sports-related injuries
Research published in American Family Physician reveals that athletes are at risk of damaging their hip area, with sports such as tennis, track, soccer, and dance particularly hard on this region of the body.
Additionally, certain hip injuries are more prevalent depending on the age of the sports contender. For instance, adolescents and teens are at increased risk of injuries to their growth plates since the bones are not yet adequately formed, whereas older athletes tend to develop tendinitis more frequently because these same plates are closed.
Regardless of which age bracket your patient falls within, chiropractic has been found beneficial for treating, and sometimes completely correcting hip pain in athletes.
Chiropractic for sports-related hip pain
As an example, one case study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics involved a 32-year-old marathon runner who reported a “popping” in his hip (the diagnosis was psoas major snapping hip syndrome). This was accompanied by pain in his left hip and lower back. Although he had run consistently for several years, he was no longer engaging in this sport due to the pain.
After receiving four sessions of side posture diversified manipulation and psoas muscle myofascial release which were both administered at the rate of two sessions per week for two weeks, engaging in neuromuscular facilitation exercises, and swimming instead of running, the patient was reassessed. Both the pain and popping were gone.
Another condition that can affect athletes is hip osteoarthritis. Yet, a study in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatology involving 109 patients with this condition found that the success rate of those in the manual therapy group was much higher than those who were assigned to perform active exercises instead, at 81% success for the former and 50% for the latter.
Athletes and hip surgery
Certainly, chiropractic cannot correct hip pain in athletes in every instance. However, because recovery from hip surgery can be lengthy, it’s best if it can be avoided.
Harvard Medical School shares a few strategies for preventing the need for this type of surgery, which include:
- Engaging in physical therapy to build the muscles supporting the hip joint, which include the glutes and hip flexors;
- Performing strength-building exercises such as hip extensions using a chair from a standing position;
- Losing weight, if necessary, to reduce the pressure on the joints; and
- Taking chondroitin and/or glucosamine supplements, though Harvard does admit that this option is always effective and, if it is, it may take some time to provide any benefit.
It’s also important to recognize that, in some cases, surgery may be necessary to correct the issue. Harvard indicates that there are a few signs that this type of treatment may be the only option.
Among them are:
- Finding it impossible to complete your normal tasks on your own;
- Pain that is persistent and significant;
- Medications for the pain are causing severe side effects;
- Other forms of treatment either haven’t helped or are unlikely to help;
- The patient is “worn down” physically, emotionally, and mentally; and
- The damage to the hip area is severe and/or the disease is advanced.
In instances such as these, where surgery is the only remaining option, chiropractic can still be a valuable part of recovery.
For example, in one case study, a 45-year-old male was experiencing pain in his left hip after having it replaced. Yet, after engaging in chiropractic manipulation to his lumbar and sacroiliac joints and taking part in a rehab program, his pain improved, as did his flexibility and strength.
Hip injury prevention
It’s often said that the best injury is the one that is avoided. And when it comes to injuries to the hip area, chiropractic can help offer some protection.
For instance, chiropractic has been found to improve hip extension in athletes with joint restrictions. One such study published in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine involved 17 male middle distance runners between the ages of 17-20. Participants receiving high-velocity, low-amplitude manipulations directed toward the sacroiliac joints had “significantly greater hip extension ability” when compared to the control.
Correcting hip issues before they become a major problem can also help prevent issues appearing in other areas of the body. As an example, one study reports that bilateral congenital dislocation of the hips can contribute to chronic pain in the lower back and legs.
For correcting hip pain in athletes, the sooner hip issues are corrected and injuries overcome, the less likely it is that athletic patients will develop a condition that may potentially threaten their time on the court, field, or in the gym.