Hip pain often starts somewhere other than the hip
Hip problems are often the result of misalignment in the pelvis and spine that change the alignment and weight bearing action of the hips. Over time this stresses the ligaments, muscles and cartilage of the hip leading to pain and ultimately to degeneration.
There are more than 30 fairly common causes of hip pain. But the most common hip problems are often simply the result of long term, uncorrected misalignment of the body structure that have ended up causing strain on one or both hip joints.
Driving with your tires out of alignment can cause them to go bald very quickly. In the same way, alignment problems in the spine create imbalance in the hips and wear the hips joints. Even alignment problems in the upper neck can alter the balance of the hips. Correcting these alignment issues through specific chiropractic adjustment allows the body to return to proper balance and heal.
I often see people with “snapping” or “clicking” hip joints that are caused by imbalance in the muscles around the hips. This imbalance is rarely due to a primary problem in the hip. It is most often due to misalignment of the sacroiliac joints (the major joints of the pelvis) or other areas of the spine, even the upper neck. Of course, there are cases where there has been an injury or strain directly to the hip. In these cases the hip joints itself can become subluxated (misaligned) and needs to be adjusted back into place. Having examined many elderly people with hip replacements over the years I find most often that there is a chronic sacroiliac misalignment on the side opposite the damaged hip. In other words, the patient walked around for years while compensating for a silent dysfunction on one side of the body, while they slowly ruined their own hip on the other side.
While many people in middle age and beyond have a significant amount of hip arthritis, there is also largely under-diagnosed condition in the hip involving the cartilage ring around the hip joint, the labrum. This can be somewhat assessed on clinical exam and generally confirmed on MRI.
Another source of hips problems is the foot. Alignment problems in the foot will transfer aberrant stress to the hip joint as well. Foot pronation (when the arch collapses and the foot roles in when stepped down) is especially a problem because the rolling in of the foot also causes the hip joint to rotate medially with each step. This creates a twisting motion at the hip joint which grinds the joint down with every step.
With hip pain it’s very important to evaluate the entire mechanical structure of the body and not focus only on the painful hip.