Common Causes of Hip Pain and Disability

Hip pain can affect us all, regardless of our age. There are many reasons we can develop hip pain, but certain ones tend to be more common in the younger population and others in the older. Muscle strains are probably the most common source of hip pain and often occur during a sport. They typically heal with time, rest and ice and can be prevented through proper warm-up and training. However, a physical therapist may be needed for a full recovery and to help prevent it from happening again. Another increasingly common source of hip pain in younger individuals is femoroacetabular impingement or FAI. FAI occurs due to excess buildup of bone in the hip which pinches the labrum around the hip socket and hip cartilage with certain movements. If left untreated, it can lead to labral tears and progressive arthritis. Conservative care through physical therapy can be very effective in alleviating the discomfort and improving function. Recent research has shown that FAI can develop in youth that plays the same sport year-round, so a preventative measure could be involved in different sports which would change the repetitive forces going through the joint.

Hip pain in older individuals is most commonly from osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis develops over time and can lead to increasing disability and often a total hip replacement if left untreated. A sign of osteoarthritis is increased pain and stiffness in the morning that gets better in about 30 to 60 minutes as you get moving around.  Skilled physical therapy is often successful at decreasing pain associated with arthritis and improving quality of life. A good rule of thumb with any osteoarthritis is to keep moving, because “motion is lotion.”  Conservative care should always be attempted first because it is not invasive, low risk and a person can only get a limited number of hip replacements in their lifetime.

For more information, please call 717-790-9994 to talk to a physical therapist or to schedule an appointment!

Protect your Back this Holiday Season

It’s November and that mean lots of shopping and decorating for the holidays.  This year do yourself a favor and remember to utilize proper body mechanics so that you can prevent any undue stress on your low back.  Here are some tips to keep in mind as you get out all your holiday decorations.

  1. Before lifting an object, test the load to be sure if it something you can safely lift. If its too heavy ask for assistance from someone else or use a dolly/cart to help.
  2. Utilize your hips and knees to squat down to get the item. Avoid bending at the waist and maintain the natural curve of your spine.  Be sure to tighten your tummy muscles to allow the abdominals to assist with the lifting and decrease the strain on your low back. 
  3. Use a wide base of support to allow for better balance and stability.
  4. Hold objects as close to your body as possible. This reduces the forces of gravity and strain on your low back.
  5. Don’t twist your body when carrying objects. Remember to move your feet.
  6. Have a plan before you lift. Be sure your path is clear.
  7. If you can’t lift an object try pushing it instead of pulling. You can utilize your larger muscle groups as well as your bodyweight to assist. 

As you are out shopping remember to stand tall and keep your belly muscles engaged as you carry your packages.  Try to keep your shopping bags equally balanced on both sides to prevent too much strain on one side of your body. 

If you do wind up with low back pain or a strain this holiday season; call the clinic to set up a physical therapy evaluation as soon as possible.  Let us help you get back to enjoying the holiday season.


Jennifer Buono, PT, DPT

Benefits of Yoga

If you do an internet search about yoga you will find a plethora of information pertaining to the history of yoga, types of practices, videos and the benefits of practicing yoga.   In recent years the information about the health benefits of yoga has exploded.   So is it true or hype?  The advantages of practicing yoga on a consistent basis fall into two categories, improved physical and mental health.  Without delving too deeply, here’s a review of the myriad of positive reasons to take up a regular yoga practice. 

Usually the first thought that comes to mind when people mention yoga is flexibility.  Flexibility is one of the first benefits that you will see.  Increasing flexibility can decrease aches and pains by improving posture and decreasing muscle imbalances in the body.   Posture improvement as the result of yoga will decrease muscle and joint pain over time.

Balance improves with yoga by increasing your proprioception or awareness of the position and the movement of the body.  Having good balance is key to preventing falls which is especially important as we age. 

Yoga can improve heart health by increasing your heart rate during the practice (dependent upon the type of practice), which provides the same benefits as other forms of aerobic exercise.  Decreased blood pressure and blood sugar levels have also been noted from regular yoga practice. 

Yoga improves your strength.  Again, depending upon the type of yoga practiced, this can vary but during the practice of yoga you are lifting your body weight.  Yoga also focuses on increasing your core strength which aides in spine stability for decreasing back pain issues. 

Joint health improves by the poses throughout yoga by circulating the synovial fluid at the joints.  This decreases cartilage break down.

You may see an improvement in the quality of your sleep after practicing yoga.  Yoga nidra is a specific practice, which systematically relaxes the body and mind.  And leaves you feeling well rested.  This element of yoga bridges the gap between the benefits of body and mind. 

As mentioned, yoga decreases stress and anxiety, that negatively impact the body.  Yoga acts as an antidepressant by decreasing levels of cortisol in the body. 

As you practice yoga, you become more mindful… mindful of what you eat; mindful of the moment rather than past or future.   Yoga can increase your self-esteem with positivity and self-acceptance. 

So even if some of the benefits of yoga may be hyped, with all the possibilities why not give it a try?  Yoga is for everyone at every level.  It is something you can enjoy for your entire life! 

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