Hip pain

Causes | Diagnosis | Treatment

Hip pain is a common complaint among adults but can also occur in children under the age of 17.  With some conditions, pain is not felt directly over the hip area, but instead felt in the groin, thigh, or even knee.


Causes of Hip Pain

Hip pain can be caused by a wide array of problems and underlying conditions.  The most common cause of hip pain is associated with aging and the deterioration of the hip joints.  Sometimes pain felt in the hip area may be caused by a problem in the back and not the hip itself.  This is why getting an accurate diagnosis is important.

Some causes of hip pain include:

  • Arthritis (often felt in the front part of the thigh or groin)
  • Infection
  • Hip fractures (common in the elderly from falls)
  • Bursitis (mostly felt when standing from a sitting position, climbing stairs, driving)
  • Hip flexor strain
  • Groin strain
  • Hamstring strain
  • Sciatica
  • Dislocation
  • Iliotibial band syndrome (IT band becomes swollen from rubbing against the bone)
  • Obesity

Diagnosing Hip Pain

Due to the numerous variables that could be causing your hip pain, an accurate diagnosis is extremely important in order to prescribe the correct course of treatment.  Your doctor will collect a complete medical history to determine if there are past issues that may be pertinent to the current complaint.  Your doctor will also perform a physical exam in order to pinpoint location of pain, evaluate range of motion, check stability, as well as uncover other pertinent factors in determining a correct diagnosis.  X-rays, CT, MRI, diagnostic ultrasound, or other diagnostic studies may be required for accurate diagnosis.

Treating Hip Pain

Treatment for hip pain will depend on the underlying cause of the pain.  Most mild hip pain can be treated with conservative measures such as rest, pain relievers, ice or heat, etc.  The experts at SCU Health can accurately diagnose the cause of pain and devise a treatment plan to get patients back to living an active lifestyle.  SCU Health offers a variety of treatment options and works with patients to determine the best option.


  • Acupuncture – clinical studies have shown acupuncture to be effective in treating hip pain associated with conditions directly related to the hip as well as referred pain from other parts of the body that affect the hip.
  • Chiropractic Care – chiropractic techniques and manipulation to affected joints can increase mobility and relieve pain.  Therapeutic exercise is almost always prescribed.
  • Physical Therapy Modalities/Procedures – these may include cold laser, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and therapeutic exercise.
  • Sports Medicine – our Sports Medicine team treats patients of any level of fitness and works with them to develop a customized treatment plan whether the joint pain is due to an injury or post-operative rehabilitation.
  • Weight Loss – our experts can customize a health, nutrition, and/or fitness plan to help patients lose excess weight that may be causing hip pain.  Losing just 5 to 10 pounds can make a significant different in the amount of pressure put on the hip joints.
  • Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP) – research has shown that PRP therapy improves clinical outcomes and decreases further degeneration in patients suffering with osteoarthritis and other joint diseases or injuries.
  • Stem Cell Therapy – studies have shown that stem cell therapy can relieve pain from osteoarthritis, chronic tendonitis, as well as other hip conditions.
  • Whole-Person Assessment – in some complex cases, factors such as diet, lifestyle, sleep, stress, insulin-sensitivity, gene-environment interactions, and hormone levels may interfere with a person’s ability to heal, and may need to be addressed.

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