Hip Arthritis and Joint Pain Symptoms and Relief
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One of the largest of the weight-bearing joints, the hip is a wondrous mechanism that supports the body in both static and dynamic positions, allowing you to sit, bend, walk, run, jump and execute countless other important movements. It connects the leg to the torso via a ball-and-socket joint enclosed in a tough but loose joint capsule that allows a greater range of motion than any other joint, apart from the shoulder. The hip joint functions much like a ball-bearing, making it possible for you to extend your leg, flex it (draw your knee to your chest), and turn your leg inward or outward.
The hip is made up of two bones: the thigh bone (femur) and the pelvis. The femur has a ball-shaped end (femoral head) that fits neatly into a cup-shaped cavity (acetabulum) in the pelvis. Cartilage covers the surface of these bones, allowing the ball to move easily within the socket. Ligaments connect the ball to the socket, holding the bones in place and forming a capsule that provides stability while facilitating motion. Fluid secreted by the joint lining (synovium) further assists in movement by lubricating the joint and reducing friction between the bones.
|About one in four people will develop arthritis of the hip at some point. It typically occurs in those who are over 50, overweight, genetically predisposed to the condition and/or have suffered traumatic injuries to the hip.|
Other causes of arthritis of the hip include previous fractures that have changed the alignment of the hip, and congenital or developmental hip disease. The most common kind of hip arthritis is osteoarthritis, which is characterized by the wearing away of cartilage in the hip joint. As the cartilage breaks down and develops cracks and holes, there can be pain upon movement, stiffness, limited range of motion and limping.
Although it comes in over 100 different "forms," arthritis can be summed up as a disease process that causes pain, inflammation, movement limitation and other symptoms in or near a joint or joints. Osteoarthritis, the most common form of the disease, is characterized by the breakdown of the cartilage in a joint. Without cartilage to "cap" and protect the bone ends within a joint, they begin to rub against each other.
Another fairly common form of arthritis, gout, is triggered by an excess of uric acid in the blood. The body gathers up some of the uric acid and "hides it away" in a joint - often in the "bunion joint" of the big toe - where it causes tremendous pain and inflammation.
While osteoarthritis and gout are "limited" diseases that attack the joints, rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia are body-wide phenomena that trigger pain and stiffness in many areas. Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the immune system attacks healthy body tissue, including the linings of the joints, because it mistakenly views the tissue as foreign. It typically assails matched joints on both sides of the body, such as both elbows or both hips, inflaming them and inflicting a great deal of damage. Fibromyalgia, a disease in which pain in or near the joints is a major symptom, causes fatigue, mood changes, and numbness and tingling in the extremities. Its cause remains unknown.
These are just a few of the many types of arthritis, each with different causes, symptoms and treatments. All forms of arthritis, however, have two things in common: they cause pain and movement limitation in one or more joints.
Arthritis of the hip can range in severity from the merely annoying to the severely crippling, and can last for a brief period of time or endure forever. For example, a case of inflammatory arthritis may be cured by antibiotics in a few days and never return; a mild case of osteoarthritis may last for years or decades, but cause pain that can be managed with rest and careful exercise; while a severe case of rheumatoid arthritis may require a total hip replacement to experience real pain relief.
Among the forms of arthritis that attack the hips are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, infectious arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and post-injury arthritis.
1. Osteoarthritis of the Hip
A joint is a place where the ends of bones meet. In some joints - in the skull, for example - the bones meet but do not facilitate movement. In other joints, like the hip, the bones facilitate movement, which means the bone ends must slide across each other as you bend, flex or rotate the bones.
If the bone ends were unprotected, they would rub against each other, generating friction and wear and triggering pain and other symptoms. To guard against this, they are capped with cartilage, a slick, rubbery substance that helps them glide against each other as easily as two wet pieces of ice. Cartilage is also an excellent shock absorber, greatly lessening the impact of movement that is generated each time you step, run, leap, kick or otherwise use your hip. As long as the cartilage is healthy, the hip joint can easily perform a large range of movements and withstand a great deal of shock.
But should the cartilage begin to break down, the bones in the hip joint can start to grind against each other, possibly triggering small fractures in the bone ends. The body can respond by developing spurs ("calluses") on the bone ends that make movement within the hip joint even more painful and difficult.
Osteoarthritis often comes on slowly and grows worse over the course of months or years as the cartilage continues to degenerate. The pain become more severe and frequent, and may be accompanied by joint stiffness, movement limitation, crackling sounds upon movement and, in some cases of more advanced osteoarthritis, swelling of the joint.
At first, the symptoms of osteoarthritis may be quite manageable. You simply take it easy when your hip hurts, get off your feet or maybe ice the joint. As it progresses, however, you may find yourself avoiding activities that trigger symptoms and turning to pain medicines for relief. Stiffness can become a problem as the range of motion of the hip joint becomes limited. Eventually the pain may become very severe, and hip pain can be present even when not moving the hip joint.
It may seem strange that not moving the hip joint can cause pain, but there's a reason for it. Cartilage is not serviced by blood vessels that bring it nutrients and take away wastes. Instead, it relies on the in-and-out flow of joint fluid to "wash in" helpful substances and "wash out" the unhelpful ones. This in-and-out movement of fluid is facilitated by joint movement. For example, every time you take a step, you put pressure on the hip joint, squeezing the cartilage like a sponge and pushing the fluid into the joint cavity. When you relieve the pressure on your hip joint, the joint fluid flows back into the cartilage. Thus, movement is good for the joint. But if movement hurts, you naturally want to stop moving, and the cartilage will suffer because there is no longer an in-and-out flow of joint fluid.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 1.5% of Americans age 25 and older have x-ray evidence of osteoarthritis of the hip.1 It's impossible to say with certainly who will develop osteoarthritis, but we do know that the odds of developing the disease rise if you are over the age or 40, female, overweight, have had a hip injury, have subjected your hips to repetitive stress at work or play, or your parents had osteoarthritis.
2. Rheumatoid Arthritis
The immune system is charged with defending the body against threats including bacteria, viruses, fungi, cancer cells or other foreign matter. In order to accomplish this vital task, it must be able to distinguish "friend" from "foe," to tell the difference between normal, healthy body tissue and invaders. But sometimes the process of distinguishing friend from foe breaks down and, for unknown reasons, the immune system turns on the body, assailing healthy tissue.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a case of the immune system mistakenly attacking the body. It targets the linings of the joints (synovium) and also assails organs such as the heart and lungs. Typically, it attacks matched joints simultaneously - such as both hips or both wrists -triggering inflammation of the synovium. Individual cells from the synovium can start to multiply and grow in an abnormal manner and infiltrate nearby cartilage and bone. Eventually, the joint can become deformed, making movement more and more difficult. In serious cases, the joint can become misaligned, twisted out of shape, and ultimately useless
Pain and inflammation are typically early symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Other possible symptoms include warmth and redness in the joint, swelling, rheumatoid nodules (pea-shaped bumps under the skin) and loss of joint mobility and function. Because the disease also attacks other parts of the body, there may be fatigue, a generalized "sick" feeling, weakness, fever, sweats, anemia, and other symptoms depending upon the parts of the body that are involved.
The disease can strike anyone at almost any age, but women between the ages of 20 and 50 are the most likely victims.
3. Infectious Arthritis
Infectious arthritis occurs when bacteria, viruses or fungi invade a joint, including those that cause hepatitis B, gonorrhea, syphilis, staph infections, Lyme disease, mumps and other diseases.
The invader may enter the joint directly, perhaps as the result of an injection or during surgery, or may migrate to the joint from another part of the body. Once it settles into the joint and begins to multiply, it can cause pain, swelling and stiffness, and trigger potentially serious damage within the joint. Depending on the type of infection, a joint can be severely damaged over the course of a few days or even several hours.
Because of this, treatment with medicines designed to knock out the invader is often begun as soon as the diagnosis is made, sometimes even before the exact cause is identified. The doctor may also extract pus from the joint with or a needle or via surgery.
4. Psoriatic Arthritis
Psoriasis is a common disease of the skin and nails characterized by red raised patches on the skin and thick, pitted nails. The immediate cause is overly-rapid growth of skin cells but why this happens is not understood.
Some people with psoriasis also develop psoriatic arthritis, an inflammation that can settle in the hips, knees, fingers, toes or other joints. The disease triggers inflammation and swelling and, if it lasts long enough, joint deformation. Sometime psoriasis develops before the arthritis strikes, sometimes afterwards. Both the joint inflammation and the psoriasis may come and go in unison.
5. Post-Injury Arthritis
A small injury, or a series of small injuries, may subtly damage the cartilage or cause joint misalignment, either of which can set the stage for arthritis of the hip. A serious injury may directly damage cartilage or tear ligaments that do not heal properly, leading to joint misalignment and exacerbated wear and tear. It may also hamper the flow of blood to a bone in the hip, leading to osteonecrosis or bone death due to lack of blood (also known as avascular necrosis).
Any bone can suffer from osteonecrosis, but the femur (the thigh bone) is among the bones most to. Besides injury, the causes of osteonecrosis include the use of steroid medications and/or alcohol, and it may also be related to chemotherapy, radiation therapy, cancer, lupus, gout and other diseases.
There is no such thing as a single treatment for arthritis, as there are many forms of the disease that affect different people differently. However, physicians can prescribe medications to relieve pain and reduce inflammation, as well as those that treat specific forms of the disease: for example, colchicine for gout and methotrexate for rheumatoid arthritis. They may also recommend the use of heat or cold to relieve pain and stiffness, exercises to keep the joint flexible and strong, and physical therapy to help restore lost function or maintain current function. In extreme cases, surgery may be recommended.
- Weight loss
- Supplementation with JoMo, a 100% natural glucosamine and chondroitin-based joint and cartilage support formula
- Dietary Strategies
- Physical and other therapies
The hip joints bear a considerable amount of the body's weight which, when can greatly aggravate pain, especially when pressing on diseased cartilage, bone ends and/or joint linings. The impact of movement can be particularly painful: every time you take a step, that weight is borne by your hip joints - many times over! Thus, for those who are overweight, simply losing pounds can help relieve some of the symptoms of hip arthritis.
If your hip hurts every time you use it you may be tempted to spend as much time as possible sitting down. But while getting off your feet may temporarily relieve the pain in your hips, it can lead to more trouble down the road, for exercise is necessary to maintain healthy cartilage, joint strength and range of motion. That's why exercise is an important part of any arthritis rehabilitation program.
Benefits of Exercise:
- Increase circulation to the hip joint, which will provide nourishment to the cartilage and aid in the control of inflammation
- Maintain or increase joint flexibility and range of motion
- Strengthen the muscles, tendons and ligaments surrounding the hip joint so these structures can absorb some of the shock and help keep the joint stable and properly aligned
Your exercise program may include weight training to strengthen the hip and related muscles; yoga to improve flexibility: and tai chi to improve balance. Your doctor or physical therapist may also suggest switching from a high-impact aerobic exercise to one that doesn't put so much stress on your hips- for example, substituting swimming for jogging - in order to take the pressure off your hips while you continue to get a good cardiovascular workout.
You might also work with a physical therapist or kinesiologist to make sure that you're walking properly. Yes, there is a "right way" to stride, and if you're doing it wrong you may be putting undue stress on the hip.
Supplementation with JoMo, a 100% Natural Maximum Strength Joint Relief and Cartilage Support Supplement
Medicines for arthritis can be very helpful, but they often have side effects, sometimes quiet serious ones. In a quest to find more natural ways to relieve arthritis symptoms, researchers discovered glucosamine and chondroitin.
Glucosamine and chondroitin are both found in healthy cartilage, where they help keep the cartilage from drying and "flattening" out and provide the building blocks for cartilage repair and growth. A number of studies conducted in the United States and Europe over the past several decades have shown that taken individually or together, glucosamine and chondroitin can help relieve the symptoms of osteoarthritis - and may even slow progression of the disease and help the body repair damaged cartilage.
JoMo was developed by one of the leading orthopedic surgeons for an NBA basketball team to relieve the pain and suffering of joint and cartilage related conditions.
JoMo's active ingredients include:
- Glucosamine (HCL) (2000mg) for healthy joints and cartilage support.*
- Chondroitin (1200mg) for joint lubrication and cartilage protection.*
- Type II Collagen (50mg), which aids in the building and support of the body's natural collagen, the foundation of connective tissue and cartilage fibers.*
- "Superfruit" Antioxidants to fight the inflammation and oxidative stress which often lie at the heart of joint pain and other serious diseases, including cancer and heart disease.*
- MSM (500mg), a sulfur compound that helps stabilize the connective tissues found in cartilage, tendons and ligaments, and is also believed to have anti-inflammatory action that helps reduce pain and swelling in arthritis.*
- Manganese, a mineral essential for normal bone structure and the manufacture of cartilage.*
- Vitamin D (2000IU), for bone health and immunity protection.*
JoMo is 100% natural, contains no shellfish and has no added sugar or artificial flavors.
Recent international double-blind studies have shown that glucosamine and chondroitin supplements provide pain relief for people with moderate to severe osteoarthritis of the knee. The Mayo Clinic notes that, "The consensus of expert and industry opinion supports the use of chondroitin and its common partner agent, glucosamine, for improving symptoms and stopping (or possibly reversing) the degenerative process of osteoarthritis." The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons adds that recent studies appear to support the idea that glucosamine and chondroitin relieve osteoarthritis pain. Learn More
It's important to take JoMo consistently for a few months to get the maximum benefit. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons points out that...you may need to take the supplements (referring to glucosamine and chondroitin) for a couple of months before you see any results...Learn More
Healers have long searched for foods that relieve the pain and other symptoms of arthritis. While a food that can eliminate arthritis has not been found, there are a number of dietary strategies that can be helpful, including the following:
- Shed excess pounds. Prudent dieting combined with exercise can help you shed excess weight that may be exacerbating your symptoms.
- Reduce intake of inflammation-generating foods. Inflammation is a part of the disease process in many forms of arthritis, so it makes sense to cut back on foods that may contribute to it. These include meat, poultry, many fast foods, corn oil, safflower oil and other foods containing linoleic acid. (The body converts linoleic acid into arachidonic acid, which plays a role in the inflammation process.) Click here for more information on inflamation causing foods.
- Increase inflammation-reducing foods. In addition to cutting back on food substances that encourage inflammation, it may also help to increase consumption of substances that do the opposite. These include salmon, butternuts, green soybeans and other foods containing omega 3 fatty acids. More on foods that decrease inflammation
- Increase nutrients that support strong bones to lessen risk of fracture. Eat plenty of foods that contain calcium, vitamin D and vitamin K, including milk, dried figs and cheese (good sources of calcium), vitamin D-fortified dairy products and cod liver oil (good sources of vitamin D), and broccoli, Romaine lettuce, spinach and other green leafy vegetables (good sources of vitamin K).
Eat a balanced diet. Consuming a healthy mix of lean protein, complex carbohydrates, and fats high in omega 3 fatty acids can help maintain healthy joints and joint supporting structures.
- Decrease intake of "Nightshade Vegetables"
A number of other therapies have been used to treat arthritis of the hip. Some seek to relieve or manage symptoms, while others strive to improve the body's ability to heal itself. These therapies include:
Acupuncture - An acupuncturist inserts fine needles into selected acupuncture points on the body in order to release blocked energy and improve the body's natural healing abilities.
Chiropractic - A chiropractor will manipulate the spine in order to relieve impingements that are putting pressure on spinal nerves and interfering with the body's efforts to heal itself.
Electrical Stimulation (TENS) - A physician or physical therapist will send a mild electrical current into the painful area to reduce the perception of the pain. TENS can also be used to "push" painkilling medicine through the skin.
Infrared Sauna and Steam - Special heaters are used to introduce infrared radiation into the joint, acting on the theory that it penetrates more deeply into the body than the heat of a regular sauna. This is done to improve circulation and help the body release stored toxins that may contribute to arthritis.
Magnetic Therapy - Acting on the theory that the body cannot heal itself unless it is in electromagnetic balance, the magnetic healer will place magnets on various parts of the body to restore the balance.
Massage Therapy - Using different techniques to manipulate the soft tissues, massage improves circulation and range of motion and may otherwise help the body to heal itself.
Osteopathy - Osteopaths use a system of gentle, hands-on manipulation to strengthen the musculoskeletal system and encourage the body's natural healing systems.
Physical Therapy - Physical therapists use exercise, massage, heat and cold, ultrasound and other techniques to improve a joint's range of motion and function.
Reiki - The Reiki therapist "lays hands" on or near the patient to improve the patient's energy system and help the self-healing process.
Surgery is utilized only after all other options have been exhausted. The surgeries designed to relieve arthritis-related hip pain include:
Arthroscopy - Performed through small incisions and using instruments as thin as a pencil, arthroscopy is used to "clean up" or repair damaged tissue, remove bone spurs and damaged areas that cannot be repaired, and remove lose pieces of cartilage in the joint.
Osteotomy - This surgery is designed to relieve arthritis symptoms and improve joint function and structure by cutting and repositioning the bones, and placing healthy cartilage in appropriate places.
Hip Replacement (Arthroplasty) - If your hip has suffered a lot of damage, your doctor may recommend removing the entire joint and replacing it with a metal or ceramic implant. If the surgery and rehabilitation process go well, a replacement can restore pain-free function to the hip.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Individual results vary.
**As with any program of diet, exercise, weight loss or therapy, consult your medical practitioner, especially if you have a history of heart disease or other conditions.