Arthritis is a painful chronic condition that unfortunately has no cure and affects a lot of people. There are over 100 types of arthritis, many with different causes. Rheumatoid arthritis for example is caused by the body’s own immune system attacking the joints, while osteoarthritis is caused by damage to joints that results in them rubbing together and ‘grinding’ down over time. This then causes further damage to the joint which results in pain when the joint is moved, as well as swelling and inflammation that causes them to grind more, or is caused by an infection in the joint. Gout meanwhile is caused by a build of uric acid which ends up crystallising and forming deposits around the joints that cause pain and stiffness.
Arthritis can occur in many places, but one of the most uncomfortable and unpleasant is in the hip. Unfortunately in most cases there will be little you can do to eliminate that hip pain.
Some basic guidelines though are not to sit in the same place for long periods of time as this will cause the hip to become stiffer and to seize up to a degree. Try to remain fairly active and make sure when you are sitting to change your position regularly.
It is also important to keep the muscles around the bad joint as strong as possible as this will help take some of the weight off of your bad hip and will help your movement in that joint to be smoother and steadier. Of course the problem here is that exercising the area is likely to cause pain thereby creating a kind of vicious cycle and resulting in muscle loss that makes the problem worse. In cases of osteoarthritis then movement may harm the joint more.
One way to lessen the pain during exercise then is to submerge the hip in warm water and to exercise there. This can help take away the pain and generally improve movement. Swimming is a great exercise that has no impact on the joints.
If you are experiencing swelling then you should try to lessen this effect, either by using anti-inflammatory medication (Ibuprofen has some anti-inflammatory properties) or using an ice pack and/or elevation. If you see a doctor they will be able to give you medication for this purpose along with more powerful painkillers. They might also be able to get you a brace that can hold the joint in place, preventing painful movement and/or help to bear some of the weight. Your final option is surgery, and in some cases by replacing the hip this can stop the pain.
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