Medication Management - Non Surgical Options

Non-surgical Treatment for Management of Hip Pain

Dull, aching hip pain can make a flight of stairs, a dropped set of keys or a low chair feel like torture. Fortunately, there are several non-surgical treatments you can try to reduce hip pain, and, in many cases, they come with few side effects or complications.


A variety of exercises may be recommended to help you maintain flexibility and manage weight. According to the Arthritis Foundation, research has shown that exercise is an essential tool in managing your arthritis. Exercises can reduce joint pain and stiffness, build strong muscle around the joints and increase flexibility. Exercise is an important part of arthritis treatment that is most effective when done properly and routinely.

Range of motion (ROM) exercises can help you maintain normal joint movement. They also increase flexibility and relieve stiffness in your hip. Strengthening exercises will help you increase muscle strength which helps support and protect joints affected by arthritis. Aerobic exercise improves cardiovascular fitness, can help control weight and may help reduce inflammation in joints.


Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, and Nuprin) and naproxen (Aleve) and prescription NSAIDs such as meloxicam (Mobic) and etodolac (Lodine) among several others, can help with hip pain from arthritis. They work by inhibiting prostaglandins in the body, which contribute to inflammation.

Another treatment option is one of the disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs). These medications, such as methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall) and etanercept (Enbrel) can help slow down the progress of certain kinds of inflammatory arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis. While NSAIDs are typically effective soon after you take the drug, DMARDs won’t have a noticeable effect for weeks or months after you begin the treatment.

Your doctor may recommend a corticosteroid such as prednisone or methylprednisolone (Medrol), anti-inflammatory drugs that can be taken orally. Corticosteroids are typically only used as a treatment in people who have severe arthritis or aren’t getting benefits from NSAIDs or DMARDs. These medications have side effects like weight gain, osteoporosis, increased blood pressure and high blood sugar, among others, and are not typically recommended for long-term use.


Sometimes corticosteroids are given by injection to lower the inflammation that is causing the pain. Doctors inject the medication directly into the hip joint; this approach may have a somewhat lower risk of oral corticosteroids’ side effects. Corticosteroid injections can be repeated at various intervals. A non-corticosteroid medication called hyaluronan (Synvisc, Euflexxa) can also be injected to lubricate a painful joint.

Joint fluid supplements

For patients whose joint pain does not improve with medication or physical therapy, “joint grease” injections may provide temporary relief. With this, the joint is injected with a joint fluid supplement that acts as a lubricant for the damaged joint. Joint injection schedules and duration of relief vary according to the treatment chosen and the individual patient. However, these injections do not cure the diseased joint. This might mean joint replacement may be needed as the joint worsens with time. One common supplement is Hyaluronic Acid injection, which can be effective between 5-13 weeks.

Physical therapy

Working with a physical therapist can help with increasing strength and range of motion in the hip and maintaining muscle tone.

A physical therapist starts with an evaluation of your posture, flexibility, joint mobility (how easily your joints move), strength, gait (the way you walk) and leg lengths. When one or more of these areas are weak, it can lead to pain. Physical therapy can be especially helpful in the management of Osteoarthritis (OA) and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). For example, a physical therapist may recommend:

  • Isometric (“pushing”) exercises to help build muscle strength without subjecting inflamed joints to excessive wear
  • Isotonic (“pulling”) exercises to further increase muscle strength and help preserve function
  • Daily walking, using a cane or other assistive device as needed

The goal is to get you back to the point where you can perform normal, everyday activities without difficulty. Preserving good range of motion is key to maintaining the ability to perform daily activities. Physical therapists provide exercises designed to preserve the strength and use of your joints.

Walking aids

When hip pain makes it difficult to walk, you may need help from a cane or a walker. This is especially important when it becomes unsafe for you to walk without assistance. If you’re losing balance or having a tremendous amount of pain in your hip and are unable to bear weight on it, a cane or walker is typically recommended.

Want to learn more about non-surgical treatment options?

If you want to learn more about non-surgical options for hip pain, call Kathryn Harada today at 805-955-6233. Kathryn brings a passion for helping patients learn and get back to moving without pain. To speak with Kathryn about your situation, call (805) 955-6233 or fill out the form below.

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Kathryn Harada, BSN, BA, RN, PHN, CNOR

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