Acupuncture For Hip Osteoarthritis: Does It Work?


Hip osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition of the hip joint that results after an injury causes cartilage to break down. As anyone with hip osteoarthritis will tell you, this process can result in considerable pain that can make walking, sitting, driving, and sleeping difficult. If your hip osteoarthritis has begun to interfere with your ability to engage in day-to-day activities, it’s time to rethink your pain management strategy. You may have heard about using acupuncture for hip osteoarthritis, but does it actually work?

Acupuncture offers patients with hip osteoarthritis relief by reducing pain, stiffness, and inflammation. Over time, regular acupuncture sessions can improve your range of motion and flexibility so you can take a more active role in your life. 

Acupuncture reduces hip osteoarthritis pain

As with other forms of osteoarthritis, the major complaint that people have with hip osteoarthritis is pain. As cartilage breaks down, there’s less cushion inside of the hip joint, eventually leading to bone-on-bone wear. Interestingly, some people only suffer from mild pain, even with bone-on-bone contact. But, for others, hip osteoarthritis can cause debilitating pain. 

The jury’s still out as to whether or not acupuncture can slow osteoarthritis. However, acupuncture’s ability to reduce inflammation and stimulate healing means that it can help hip osteoarthritis patients cope with pain by removing pro-inflammatory byproducts and supporting healthy joint function.

Acupuncture increases circulation, improving the flow of blood and oxygen to damaged hip joints. This enables the body to make necessary repairs and reduce cartilage breakdown. At the same time, acupuncture also stimulates the release of endorphins, all-natural pain relievers produced by the body. 

Endorphins change the way the body responds to pain. By enhancing your mood and fighting stress, endorphins can reduce the sensation of pain simply by enhancing the body’s tolerance to it. As a bonus, endorphins can enhance your mood, too, which will also help you feel better. 

Acupuncture releases muscle tension

When one part of the body becomes injured, the rest of the body has to find a way to compensate for it, especially if you decide to work through the pain. In the case of hip osteoarthritis, it’s not unusual for patients to also struggle with back pain, leg pain, and even neck pain as a result. 

If you sprain your ankle, the pain will most likely remain localized. But if you hurt your hip, that’s another story. The hip connects the back and the leg, and you use your hip joint every time you take a step. Your hips take a lot of wear and tear, and if your hip hurts, that’s going to affect a large part of your body. 

As time goes by, the muscles that have to compensate for the hip pain start to get hurt, too. These muscles get overused and hyperflexed. They may develop knots. The muscle strain that you experience as a result of your hip osteoarthritis can make it even more difficult to get around. 

Acupuncture can help address any muscle pain you may be suffering from as a result of your hip osteoarthritis. When you schedule an acupuncture appointment, the first thing your acupuncturist will do is get to the root of your pain. We can address multiple issues in one session, so you’ll not only experience an improvement in your hip osteoarthritis, but you’ll also see a significant reduction in muscle pain as well. 

Acupuncture improves range of motion in patients with hip osteoarthritis

Good blood flow to the hip joints is the first step towards healthy hip function. Acupuncture supports normal hip motion not just by increasing circulation to the joint itself, but also to the muscles and ligaments surrounding it. The better the muscles surrounding your hip work, the less pain you’re likely to feel. 

It’s worth noting that acupuncture also stimulates collagen synthesis. Collagen makes up about 30% of the protein found in the body and is needed to provide structure and strength to muscles, skin, and connective tissue. 

Collagen improves soft tissue elasticity. Acupuncture can be used to stimulate collagen production in patients with hip osteoarthritis, and this can go a long way toward improving your flexibility, as well as your recovery time after physical activity. 

Often, we advise our hip osteoarthritis patients to engage in corrective exercise therapy in addition to their acupuncture treatments. Corrective exercises show you how to move your body cohesively, with every muscle group working together to avoid musculoskeletal dysfunction. It can also help you gain strength and retain your newfound range of motion. 

Additional therapies that can help you cope with hip osteoarthritis

When a new patient comes into our clinic with hip osteoarthritis pain, acupuncture is our treatment of choice, but it’s not the only therapy that we have to offer. For some people, acupuncture alone may not be enough to manage their symptoms. However, adding a few additional therapies to their protocol can make all the difference. 

Electro acupuncture is another great treatment option for hip osteoarthritis. With this type of acupuncture, electrodes are attached to acupuncture needles, sending an electrical pulse through the body. This therapy compounds the effects of traditional acupuncture, enhancing its benefits. Electro acupuncture is an excellent option for managing pain and improving hip function.

Dry needling can also be helpful as it allows us to target specific areas of the body. If your hip osteoarthritis has led to widespread dysfunction, including lower back pain, we may advise soft tissue mobilization to ease achy muscles and get them working properly again. 

Book your first appointment today

Hip osteoarthritis can make life difficult, but you don’t have to just grin and bear it. We’re here to help. At Lycoming Orthopedic & Sports Acupuncture, we have experience treating patients from all walks of life. We treat each patient as an individual not as a diagnosis. 

From your very first visit, we’ll be happy to work with you to figure out which treatments will help you as you make your way through your health journey. 
Get in touch with us today to learn more and to book your first appointment. You’ll be amazed to find out just how transformative acupuncture can be.

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