Many Americans suffer from osteoarthritis. The major body areas where osteoarthritis is prevalent are in hips, knees and in the back, as well as in the joints of the hands and feet.
People who are at risk for arthritis include older patients, those who have suffered previous injuries to joints, as well as obese patients who experience arthritis at a higher rate in knees and hips.
Recent research on hip pain from osteoarthritis was conducted at La Trobe University in Bundoora, Australia. The researchers, led by Kay M. Crossley, compared the pain relief of patients with hip osteoarthritis following water exercise as well as land exercise.
The water-based exercise appeared to give patients the greatest pain relief in the short-term and long term. The land-based exercise also gave some short-term benefit but did not appear to result in long-lasting pain relief. Both types of exercises were deemed far more effective than manual manipulation without exercise.
The best exercise program appeared to be at least twelve weeks in length, incorporating water aerobics and gentle swimming routines that are designed specifically for hip pain sufferers. The exercises targeted strengthening as well as increased range of motion. The participants participated in the program at least three times per week.
Although these research results would not appear at first glance to be ground-breaking, they are instructive. Many physicians are reluctant to encourage exercises to hip pain sufferers, urging them to rely on pain relief medications and manipulation first. Doctors are aware that not all hip pain sufferers will be willing to exercise. In addition, hip pain sufferers need to exercise with the guidance and supervision of pain management physicians, as well as physical therapists. The best scenario is coaching on specific exercises that can reduce the effects of osteoarthritis.
In general, the studies confirm that bedrest and inactivity are the wrong approaches to joint pain, which improves with regular physical activity and movement.