Hip pain can happen for a variety of reasons, but if you’ve ever experienced it, you know it can reduce your quality of life and cause potentially debilitating pain. To manage a hip injury, you may think you have to turn to medications, injections, or potentially even surgery for relief. The good news is that before moving to more invasive or drastic options, physical therapy can bring relief from pain and help to heal hip injuries. If you have recently injured your hip, or are suffering from chronic pain as a result of a long-term injury, seeking physical therapy in Atlanta can bring you a number of benefits as you recover.
1. Physical Therapy Is Natural and Non-Invasive
While medications or injections may temporarily relieve symptoms, the goal of physical therapy is to address the root cause of your pain and help the body repair that issue. When successful, physical therapy can also strengthen and heal injuries enough that surgery may no longer be needed. Instead, a series of stretches and exercises can be used to reach your goals for recovery.
2. Physical Therapy Focuses on Range of Motion
Because your hip is a large and central joint, any injury to the hip can greatly impact your range of motion, making it difficult to move your legs, back, or pelvis depending on your injury. When these functions are impacted, your range of motion is diminished, making it hard to perform the activities you did before your injury. With physical therapy in Atlanta, the goal is overall health and function of the body in the long term, including range of motion. With targeted techniques and exercises, physical therapy can focus on regaining or increasing range of motion that has been lost in the hips.
3. Physical Therapy Increases Strength and Stability
Some hip injuries can occur as a result of pressure placed on the joint by daily motions or our own body weight. Exercises that focus on strength and stability help the surrounding muscles to better withstand pressure, or relieve it all together, preventing further damage and managing pain.
4. Physical Therapy Reduces Pain
In addition to exercises that strengthen and improve mobility, physical therapy in Atlanta also consists of techniques specifically designed to reduce or even eliminate pain. Therapeutic exercises can be paired with taping, ultrasound, soft tissue mobilization, and a number of other techniques to directly address pain as a result of injuries.
5. Physical Therapy Improves Balance
In older adults, the most common hip injuries are caused by slips and falls. Physical therapy will be able to design exercises to safely and carefully address any balance issues that put you at risk for future falls. This may include an assistive device for walking more safely, or simple coordination improvement exercises. With these practices in place, you are less vulnerable to falling again and sustaining another hip injury.
What to Expect at Physical Therapy for Hip Injuries
If your first time seeking physical therapy is for a hip injury, it may seem intimidating, but the process is worth it for all the benefits it can provide. Your first visit to a physical therapist in Atlanta will simply aim to correctly diagnose your injury and any resulting conditions and determine a plan for active management through physical therapy in Atlanta. You’ll likely spend the first part of your appointment discussing medical history and symptoms, and this information will be used to perform a focused evaluation.
There are some common assessments and tests you may undergo at this appointment, including:
- Assessments of your gait, or how you are walking. Your physical therapist may video you walking to further study and compare.
- Manual palpitation, in which a therapist manually feels the hips to evaluate the structures.
- Measurements of range of motion when you bend, straighten, rotate, etc.
- Measurements of strength in the hips.
- Tests of your mobility, such as walking or climbing the stairs.
- Special test maneuvers performed around the hips and lower back to determine if the hips are truly the source of pain.
With this information, your therapist will be able to create a customized plan for your treatment. This will likely involve exercises and stretches performed both in the office under their supervision, as well as a “prescribed” routine of exercises to perform at home. It’s harder to confirm how long you should expect to be in therapy because your progress will be assessed over time by your physical therapist to help determine when goals are being met.
If you have recently suffered a hip injury and are in need of physical therapy in Atlanta, AICA Orthopedics offers expert, specialized care. Our physical therapists work with a range of other specialists to create personalized programs for each patient, focused on helping you reach your recovery goals. Contact us today to set up your first consultation!