Are there are some days where your hip pain makes you feel like not even getting out of bed?
That may seem like the best way to deal with it, but actually not exercising can make your arthritis worse. You just have to make sure you’re doing the correct exercises in the proper way. That’s where your physical therapist can make all the difference!
But first, let’s understand what’s happening in your hip when you have arthritis, and why exercising and moving around helps relieve pain and stiffness.
What Is Arthritis Doing to Your Hips?
The hip is basically a ball-and-socket joint. The “ball” is the top of your thigh bone, and it sits in a “socket” that’s formed by part of your pelvic bone. Then there’s a tissue called cartilage which covers the bone surface and helps cushion the joint. This cartilage helps ease the friction in the hip so you can move easily and without pain.
The most common type of hip arthritis is osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis occurs when the joint surface cartilage becomes worn away leaving the raw bone beneath exposed. So now your cushion has eroded resulting in a rough joint surface. This is what causes the pain and stiffness.
Osteoarthritis of the hip is a serious condition and it’s also the most common of the more than 100 kinds of arthritis. While this chronic disease isn’t curable, it most certainly is treatable using proper exercise, ice and rest.
Obviously, the hip is a very important joint. And severe pain in this area can definitely have an adverse effect one’s ability to walk, work and perform simple, everyday tasks.
How Exercise Helps Hip Arthritis
Unfortunately, as we age, we lose muscle strength. And any additional weight puts even more stress on a joint that’s already becoming weaker. And with the hip being crucial to our mobility, it’s difficult to avoid putting stress on it.
Exercise helps strengthen the muscles that support your hip, which takes some of the load off this worn-out, weaker joint. Creating an exercise plan with a licensed physical therapist can lead to a decrease in pain and stiffness, easier motion and improved flexibility.
Exercising regularly can also help to enhance balance, boost energy, improve sleep and control weight. And in people with mild to moderate hip osteoarthritis, a study published in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases found that those who exercised for one hour at least twice a week for 12 weeks were 44 percent less likely to need hip replacement surgery six years later, compared with those who did not exercise.
With numbers like that, it really shows that the proper exercises can make a huge difference!
Exercises That Can Help Manage Arthritis Pain
There are definitely exercises that can be incorporated into your daily routine. These will not only manage the pain but also help to keep you moving and active.
- Range-of-motion and stretching exercises – these help maintain and improve flexibility. They also improve stability and endurance.
- Strengthening exercises – they will work your muscles a little harder; just don’t overdo it. You’re doing this to create a stronger foundation, but it takes patience as you slowly build up the muscles.
- Aerobic exercise, like swimming or biking – to help improve cardiovascular health and control your weight. The consistency will help a lot more than pushing yourself too hard.
- Other activities like yoga and tai chi or even just going for walks can pay big benefits as well.
Most importantly, these exercises need to be done correctly, for the right duration and on a consistent basis. You and your physical therapist can make a game plan so you don’t aggravate the joint pain. That would defeat the purpose.
You can also chart your progress and adjust as needed. It will take a little work and patience, but you will see improvement which will make every day worth getting out of bed!