Starting Conservative Treatment for Hip OA with Physical Therapy
For the conservative treatment of hip osteoarthritis to be effective, it must include some level of education, manual therapy, and therapeutic exercise. While over-the-counter(OTC) and prescription painkillers may relieve pain, they do nothing to counteract the progressive tightening of the joint capsule and decreasing range of motion(ROM). This is why physical therapy is so important in the management of hip OA, as it can both relieve the pain and improve mobility, by mobilizing the joint capsule in the hip and relaxing the muscles around it. This reduces patients' need for drugs and improves their ability to move and exercise. That in turn decreases the possibility of other co-morbidities which often accompany the direct pain and other symptoms of hip osteoarthritis, making this a win-win for patients and the healthcare system.
Unfortunately, in the United States, many providers who diagnose hip osteoarthritis are not aware of how physical therapy can provide natural pain relief and help patients maintain their quality of life in the period between diagnosis and possible hip replacement surgery, which often extends multiple years. Patients may need to request physical therapy and a referral if needed. Watch the video below or read more on this here.