How to Ease Hip Pain

Two Parts:Making Lifestyle ChangesExercising and Stretching

The hip is the largest joint in the human body. It supports most of the body's weight and is key to maintaining balance. Because the hip joint and hip region are so crucial to movement, arthritis and bursitis in the area can be especially painful. Chronic hip pain is common as the body ages, but there are various exercises and lifestyle changes you can introduce to treat a painful hip. Follow these steps to help reduce your hip pain.

Part 1
Making Lifestyle Changes

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    Get a diagnosis before anything else. It is really important to know what is causing your pain. See a doctor before you start doing any exercises or taking any medication. There are many reasons your hip could be in pain, including arthritis, bursitis, or an injury you've got while playing a sport. Always ask your doctor what you should and should not be doing, given the cause of your hip pain.
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    Take pain-relieving medicine. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are best when soothing hip pain (which is most often caused by inflammation of the joints.) Ibuprofen, naproxen, or aspirin will both reduce inflammation and alleviate the pain for several hours. NSAIDS block the enzymes that create the chemicals that cause inflammation in the body.[1]
    • If over-the-counter drugs like aspirin don’t seem to be having much of an effect, call your doctor. He or she may prescribe a more powerful pain-relieving medication. You should also always consult your doctor before introducing a new medicine (even one as common as aspirin) into your daily life.
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    Ice your joints. Holding ice to your hips will reduce inflammation of your joints. You should hold an ice pack to the affected area for 15 minutes several times a day.[2]
    • If you find that the ice pack is uncomfortably cold, wrap it in a towel and then place it on the pained area.
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    Heat your joints if you have arthritis in your hips. Heating your joints can soothe the pain you feel. Consider taking a hot bath or shower, or soak in a hot tub if there is one available to you. You could also consider purchasing a hot pad that you can place directly on your hip.
    • Do not use heat to soothe your joints if you have bursitis. Heat can cause hips affected by bursitis to actually become more inflamed.
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    Get some rest. If you have injured your hip, the best thing you can do is to simply give your hip time to heal. Avoid anything that causes you to feel pain in your hip. Instead, grab an ice pack, a bowl of popcorn and watch some movies. You should give your hip a rest for at least 24 to 48 hours.[3]
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    Avoid high-impact activities. If you are in severe pain, chances are you won’t feel like running or jumping anyway, but it is good to keep in mind that these activities should be avoided. High-impact activities will cause your joints to become more inflamed, thus causing your more pain. Instead of running, try taking a brisk walk, as walking has much less of an impact on your joints.
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    Consider losing weight. The more your body weighs, the more weight your painful hip is burdened with supporting. Losing weight can help ease hip pain simply by removing some of that weight that stresses the cartilage and joints. Learn how to get lose weight here.
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    Choose the right shoes. You should buy shoes that give you as much support as possible. Look for shoes that have great cushions, or have removable insoles so that you can add orthopedics. The sole should have good shock absorption, should limit pronation (turning or rotating the foot) and will evenly distribute pressure along the length of your foot.[4]

Part 2
Exercising and Stretching

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    Begin your day by exercising. Getting your blood flowing and loosening the joints can make the rest of your day much less painful. This is a particularly good thing to do if you have arthritis. Start your day by activating your hips with a bridge exercise.[5]
    • Lie on your back on the floor with your legs bent. Your feet should be pressed firmly into the floor and should be hip-width apart.
    • Raise your rear off the floor by pressing down through your ankles. Keep your abs firm and your knees aligned with your ankles. Your body should create a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. You should hold this position for three to five seconds, then slowly lower your rear back down to the floor. Repeat this process 10 times.
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    Exercise in water. Swimming and aquatic exercises are a great way to strengthen your hips without putting too much pressure on them (as you do when you run.) Consider swimming laps or joining an aquatic aerobics class at your local gym.
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    Perform daily exercises. Again, always consult your doctor or physical therapist before you begin an exercise routine meant to ease your hip pain.
    • Stand straight up with your feet ahead of you. Lift your right leg horizontally as far as is comfortable and return it. Do the same thing with your opposite leg. This exercise stretches your hip abductors.
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    Strengthen the muscles of your inner thigh. Your inner thighs play a large part in supporting your hips. Weak inner thigh muscles can hurt even a healthy hip.
    • Lie on your back with your arms outstretched away from your body. Pick up a large exercise ball with your legs and lift your legs so they are perpendicular to the ground.
    • Squeeze the ball using your inner thigh muscles 10 times. Repeat this process for two or three sets of 10 squeezes each.
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    Strengthen your outer thigh muscles. Strong outer thighs can be very helpful when you are dealing with hip arthritis as they support some of the weight of your body.[6]
    • Lie on the pain-free side of your body. It helps to lie on a carpet or yoga mat so that you are not just lying on the hard surface of your floor.
    • Raise the leg which has the hip pain up six inches from the floor. Hold it in the air for two or three seconds, and then lower it back so that it is resting on your other leg (your legs should be parallel with each other and the floor.)
    • Repeat this process of lifting, holding, and lowering 10 times. If possible, do this on the other side as well, but stop if it is too painful.
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    Stretch your hip muscles. Speak to a physical therapist before you begin a stretching routine. Stretching can help ease hip pain, while also strengthening your hip muscles so that you can avoid future pain.[7]
    • Hip rotation stretch: Lie on your back with your arms by your sides. Bend the leg that you would like to stretch, placing your foot flat on the ground. Keep your other leg straight and on the ground with your toes pointing up. Rotate your bent leg out and away from your body. Do not push your leg any further than is comfortable, and if really begins to hurt, stop stretching it. Hold the stretch for five seconds and then bring your leg back so that your foot is flat on the ground again. Repeat this 10 or 15 times on each side.
    • Hip flexion stretch: Lie flat on your back. Choose the leg you want to work on and then bend it so that your foot is flat on the ground. Wrap your arms around your bent leg, holding on to the shin area, and pull your leg towards your chest. Only go as far as your body will allow--if it begins to hurt, release your leg. Hold your leg against your chest for five seconds and then release. Repeat this process 10 to 15 times on both sides.
    • Glute squeezes: Roll a towel into a tight cylinder. Lie on your back with both of your legs bent so that your feet are flat on the ground. Place the towel between your knees. Squeeze your knees together so that you are engaging your buttocks and inner thighs. Hold the squeeze for three to five seconds and then release. Repeat this 10 to 15 times.


  • Talk to a doctor or physical therapist and find out what they recommend to help with the pain. You should always talk to a professional before you begin taking medication, exercising, or stretching.
  • Consider consulting a Chiropractor


  • Do not continue an exercise that hurts your hip further. If any of the muscle strengthening exercises or stretches listed above are painful, try different exercises or stretches.
  • Do not heat a joint affected with bursitis. This can make inflammation worse.

Article Info

Categories: Pain Management and Recovery