As we age, pain of different types becomes inevitable. One of the most common types of pain is hip pain. Hip pain can be related to a number of conditions, both temporary and long-lasting.
If you’re experiencing hip pain and want to relieve short-term discomfort, there are a few ways to relieve hip pain for seniors. Of course, if pain worsens or doesn’t go away, it’s always best to consult with your doctor for the best course of action.
Best Ways for Seniors to Relieve Hip Pain
1. Take pain relievers
Hip pain can be relieved by using anti-inflammatory medications. Some over-the-counter pain medications to try when you’re having hip pain include ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and naproxen.
You can also use pain-relieving creams that contain medication to alleviate discomfort. Sometimes gently rubbing cream into the affected area can also help provide some temporary relief.
Topical creams usually contain NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) so you can use these in place of oral medications.
Some brand names of these medications to look for include Tylenol, Motrin, and Aleve. Always consult with a doctor before you take any new medications to make sure they don’t interact with existing prescriptions.
Combine oral medications with other types of therapy for the best results. If you’re having arthritis pain, there are some forms of pain-relieving medication that have special dosages to meet a higher pain level, such as Tylenol Arthritis. These are meant for more severe pain.
2. Low-impact exercise
Stiff hip muscles can be aided by low-impact movements and light stretching. Some types of exercises to consider include yoga, tai chi, walking, and using an exercise ball or bands.
Keeping your muscles loose and flexible means that there’s a lesser chance of muscles becoming tight. You can avoid pulling a muscle or dealing with pain.
Exercising is only recommended for individuals suffering from arthritis or bursitis, not an injury. If you have injured yourself or have a broken hip or hip replacement, contact your doctor before engaging in any exercise or physical therapy.
If you’re just suffering from mild pain or recovering from a pulled muscle or strain, taking a slow walk can keep you moving. Sometimes just staying mobile can keep pain at bay, even if it’s just a short walk a few times a week.
Other types of low-impact exercise to try include swimming, light resistance training, cycling, and physical therapy.
3. Ice therapy
Using ice therapy is an easy way to help alleviate hip pain and pain around the surrounding muscles. To properly use ice therapy, grab an ice pack (or a bag of frozen veggies) and apply it to the affected area.
Leave the ice pack in place for 15 minutes. You can do this several times a day as much as you need to.
Alternately, heat therapy is also a good idea for an aching hip. To take advantage of soothing heat, get into a hot bathtub and soak for a while, or grab a heating pad and relax while you apply heat to your hip.
For severe pain, you can also alternate hot and cold therapy for maximum results. Use the ice pack, rest a bit, then try heat. Try these alternating therapies a few times a day for effective inflammation reduction and pain therapy.
Combine these techniques with anti-inflammatory medication and get some much-needed relief.
You may have a hard time slowing down, but now is the time to rest and relax. If your hip is injured or aching, this may be the time to give your body a much-needed break.
Take a break on the couch and call the rest of the day off! Elevate your aching joints and put your feet up. If you’re having any swelling, resting can help swelling go down while being on your hip too much can put unwanted pressure on it, causing more swelling and pain.
While you’re resting, use this time to try hot and cold therapy along with over-the-counter medication to reduce pain and inflammation. Take a relaxing warm bath or shower!
As you rest, make sure you sit or lay in a comfortable position and make sure there’s no pressure resting on your hip. Avoid lying down on the side that hurts the most.
If your hip pain doesn’t get better after a few days of rest and light movement, you may need to contact your doctor.
5. Lose weight
Did you know that gaining weight can put added pressure on your hips that can cause pain? If you have found yourself gaining weight, try to take off a few pounds to reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation.
You don’t have to rush it – make sure you take it slow in order to lose weight in the most healthful way. You can talk to your doctor about a nutrition plan to make sure you’re getting the right number of calories without overdoing it.
It’s also a good idea to add movement to your life if your hip pain accommodates it. Low-impact exercise, even in the form of swimming, walking, yoga, or other light activities, can get you moving and help you drop pounds.
Losing even five pounds can make a difference in the amount of weight your body carries and the way it affects your joints and how they feel.
6. Lean on a cane
Maybe you don’t ordinarily use a cane to get around, but if you’re dealing with hip pain whether it’s from arthritis, bursitis, or a hip injury, it’s a good idea to take as much pressure off your hip as possible.
Using a cane or walker can give you a temporary break and make walking around a lot easier. This way, if you do need to go out, you can do so a little more comfortably.
Lean on a cane or walker for better support until you start feeling a little bit better. If you don’t take some of the painful pressure from your hip, it could take longer for you to heal or end up causing more damage and pain in the long run.
Don’t worry, you likely won’t need a cane permanently, but until you feel better, it’s the best thing you can do for your hip and the surrounding joints.
7. Use compression
Compression is a good way to keep your joints less stressed. You can use medical compression tape or something like an ACE bandage and wrap it around your pelvic and hip area to help defer pain.
Compression tape also provides necessary support to the area while you move or walk around. Compression can also help reduce any swelling you have around your hips.
Make sure to be careful when you use compression. If you wrap compression bandages or tape too tightly, you could end up in more pain. Make sure compression is comfortable and not too tight but not too loose.
Your doctor or pharmacist can advise you on how to properly use compression. A hip brace or support may be easier to use than compression elastic or tape.
Once you apply the compression, rest and elevate your hip area for a few days. Combining compression with other at-home treatments give you the best chance to feel better faster.
8. Steroid shot
For pesky hip pain that is consistently a bother, your doctor may prescribe a steroid shot. A steroid shot contains two main ingredients that can help alleviate your hip pain.
The first is a numbing agent that will bring quick relief for your painful hip. The second is cortisone, which reduces inflammation and swelling.
The good thing about getting a steroid shot is that they do last up to six months. This can make it easier if you’re dealing with a long-term condition like arthritis.
Then you don’t have to worry so much on a day-to-day basis; the shot will make sure your pain is covered for a while. You can discuss the pros and cons of a steroid shot with your doctor.
It may take a day or so for the steroid shot to take effect, and though there is little risk of side effects, you may feel some pain at the injection site as well as bruising.
9. Wear supportive shoes
Like the rest of your joints, your hips need the right support to maintain everyday health. You may not give much thought to your shoes, but did you know that wearing shoes with the wrong support or no support can contribute to joint and muscle pain?
Switch from unsupportive shoes to shoes that offer your body more comfort and support, and you may notice a visible difference.
Some things to look for when you are shopping for the right pair of shoes include orthopedic insoles that offer the right arch support; soft, comfortable footbed – one possibility is memory foam; and a shoe with shock absorption.
You can always add a removable insole to your existing shoes if you recently purchased a pair or you’d like to keep wearing the shoes you already enjoy wearing. Adding support can help.
Also, avoid heels if you have hip pain. Flat shoes are much better in terms of giving your joints the proper support.
10. Change your posture
When you sit down, straighten your spine instead of hunching over. Curving your back can cause pain in that area as well as pain in your hip joints and legs.
You may need to change the way you walk as well. Ask your doctor or physical therapist to show you the correct way to walk that relieves pressure on the joints.
Having proper posture is beneficial to your entire body and may alleviate a host of other aches and pains.