Non-Surgical Approaches for Hip Pain Prevention: Do They Work?
An Aggravating Issue
Hip pain is very common; according to current estimates, about 14.8 percent of older adults suffer with it.  Resulting from a wide range of health conditions and diseases—everything from osteoarthritis to cartilage injury—this condition is incredibly disruptive, leading to significant medical costs. And while most may immediately think of surgery as the only treatment option available, there are a number of approaches for management that can be tried on your own.
Surgeries are no doubt effective for hip problems, especially because these rely on the latest advances in techniques and technologies, but they’re quite disruptive and challenging. This is why it’s worth taking a look at your other options. Let’s take quick stock of them:
Often found in shellfish, glucosamine is a compound that plays a part in the structure of cartilage. The thinking is that taking supplements of this or emphasizing natural forms from foods will help protect the cartilage that cushions the hip bones.  In addition, the anti-inflammatory effect of this substance is touted as helping with some of the effects of painful hip conditions.
Unfortunately, the positive effects of glucosamine supplements have likely been overstated. Despite some evidence of mild to moderate relief for hip pain, most double-blind studies—what essentially sets the highest standard of evidence—found little differences between those who took glucosamine and those that took a placebo.  This was the case both for joint diseases and osteoarthritis (OA) in the hip. That said, some other studies showed some improvement for those with severe arthritis cases, though none for mild to moderate ones. 
While some swear by this approach—and you have little to lose in trying it out—the weight of evidence is scant when it comes to glucosamine supplements.
Representing the most common protein found in the body, collagen is associated with keeping tissues flexible, which lets bones and joints bear more weight. Notably, it’s the deterioration of this substance that leads to wrinkles as we age. A newer approach for those with hip osteoarthritis involves supplement with this protein to help prevent decay and damage of cartilage, tendon, and bone structures.
Since this is a more recent innovation, there are gaps in what we know about it; work is ongoing to determine the efficacy of collagen use for arthritis patients. Still, the early research is largely positive. According to one review assessing 16 studies and considering data from over 2,000 patients, taking a collagen supplement daily for three or more months does confer some benefit. 
Still, these early results need replicating, and the full scope of how this works is not fully understood; taking collagen may help but at best in a limited capacity.
Long touted for their anti-inflammatory effects, it’s thought that rosehip extract—taken from the berries of plants of the same name—can be effective in mitigating hip pain. Inflammation is indeed at the center of many pain problems so any means of reducing it is thought to be effective in taking it on. Use of this herb is more focused on managing symptoms than preventing them, but does it work?
There’s certainly room for more research in this regard, but some positive evidence is turning up. According to The Daily Mail UK, a 2005 study published in Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology found that 80 percent of arthritis patients “experienced pain relief within three weeks, and 40 percent were able to cut the number of painkillers they were taking.”  A subsequent review article also noted a clear and distinct, if only moderate to mild effect for those experiencing knee pain.
The problem? As yet, few if any studies have looked into rosehip efficacy specifically for hip pain. Largely, too, this herb is effective for more short-term cases, and may not work as well in the long-run.
Staying On Your Toes
While none of the above treatments are going to make problems completely disappear—and sometimes surgery will be the only full-proof option—they’re certainly worth trying. Ultimately, those that experience hip pain have a tough task ahead of them; however, alongside medical care, there is a great deal they can do. Not everything is going to work, and sometimes hype is just that, but so long as you’re willing to put in the effort, it’ll certainly be worthwhile.
If you’re experiencing pain in the hip or any other joint in the body, the team at Onward Orthopedics is ready to help. The experts here employ the latest in minimally-invasive surgical techniques—as well as a number of other treatments—to ensure positive outcomes for their patients. Learn more about what they do by calling (800) 577-1693 today!
- “How Common Is Hip Pain Among Older Adults?”. 2002. The Journal Of Family Practice51 (4). https://www.mdedge.com/jfponline/article/60006/pain/how-common-hip-pain-among-older-adults.
- Robert H. Shmerling, MD. 2016. “The Latest On Glucosamine/Chondroitin Supplements – Harvard Health Blog”. Harvard Health Blog. Accessed May 29 2018. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/the-latest-on-glucosaminechondroitin-supplements-2016101710391.
- Hobson, Judy. 2018. “Want To Avoid An Op? Then Follow Our Simple Tips To Keep Swivelling Those Hips”. Mail Online. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2100721/Want-avoid-hip-op-Then-follow-simple-tips-swivelling-hips.html.