3 Non-Surgical Alternatives to Hip Replacement Surgery

May 7th 2016

While hip pain due to osteoarthritis, bursitis and injury is often significant enough to disrupt daily functions, consider alternative therapies before deciding on total hip replacement. In many cases, medications and physical therapy combined with lifestyle changes such as weight loss and daily exercise could help you regain strength and mobility in the hips, allowing you to avoid irreversible surgical treatments on a temporary or permanent basis.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy can be extremely beneficial treat hip pain due to osteoarthritis, injury and hip joint bursitis. Physical therapy treatments include massage, exercise, and gentle manipulation of the muscles and joints that allow for increased strength and flexibility. Physical therapy also helps to minimize inflammation and improve the overall function of the hip joints.

Anti-Inflammatory and Corticosteroid Medications

Joint inflammation often exacerbates hip pain caused by arthritis and past injuries. Treating the inflamed hip joints and surrounding tissues can often help to decrease pain and allow sufferers to avoid hip replacement surgery. Cox-2 inhibitors have shown significant effectiveness in reducing inflammation.

If non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications do not provide relief, doctors may also prescribe oral corticosteroid medications. Oral corticosteroids also help to minimize inflammation and pain. However, the medications are known to cause side effects, so the prescribing physicians must closely monitor dosages.

Viscosupplementation Treatments

Viscosupplementation is a non-surgical procedure in which the doctor injects a synthetic form of hyaluronic acid directly into the hip joints. The hyaluronic acid provides additional lubrication to the joints, allowing for decreased stiffness and easier movement. Hip joint injections can be difficult to administer, so doctors do not utilize this treatment as often as other alternative therapies.

Conclusion

If you suffer from chronic hip pain due to osteoarthritis or a previous injury and your physician has recommended a hip replacement, obtain a second opinion and weigh your options when it comes to non-surgical treatments.

In many cases, lifestyle changes and continual therapy can help to reduce pain and discomfort while avoiding the risk of complications such as infections and prosthesis failure that can occur with total hip replacements. Educate yourself on alternative treatments so you can make an informed decision on whether hip replacement surgery is the best treatment to suit your particular medical needs.

Sources

MedicineNet.com "Total hip replacement" http://www.medicinenet.com/total_hip_replacement/article.htm
WebMD.com "Arthritis physical therapy" http://www.webmd.com/osteoarthritis/guide/physical-occupational-therapy
Meriter.com "Non-surgical alternatives for hip pain" http://www.meriter.com/services/orthopedics/hip-surgery/nonsurgical-alternatives-for-hip-pain
AAHKS.org "Caring for your hips and knees without surgery" http://www.aahks.org/care-for-hips-and-knees/caring-for-your-hips-and-knees-without-surgery/
NIAMS.NIH.gov "Questions and answers about hip replacement" http://www.niams.nih.gov/health_info/hip_replacement/#3

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