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For someone with constant hip pain, “do I need a hip replacement” is a great question. The answer is sometimes yes and sometimes no.

The first thing you need to do is determine whether your hip pain is actually coming from your hip joint or not. The reason I mention this is because you can have pain in your hip joint that is actually being radiated there from your lower back, even though your lower back may not even hurt at all.

If one of the discs in your lower back is irritated and swollen, this places pressure on the nerves that travel from the spinal cord into your hip and down your leg. Thus, pressure on the nerve root from the disc can create aching and pain in the hip, and not necessarily pain in the spine or low back muscles. This makes it seem like the hip is painful but actually the hip joint may be fine.

There are a series of tests that are done during an initial evaluation at Cardin and Miller Physical Therapy that help us to determine whether your back is the cause of your hip pain or the hip joint is actually the source of pain.

For instance, if your hip joint is actually the source of pain, certain movements of the hip will be painful and nothing that is done to the low back will increase or decrease the hip pain. Likewise, if the hip can be freely moved and stressed, but the pain in the hip does not change and performing treatment to the low back changes the pain, then it is clear the pain is being radiated to the hip from the low back.

Also, you can have an X-ray of your hip that shows that you have severe degeneration of the hip joint, however, you may not actually have hip pain. Additionally, you may have an X-ray that shows severe hip joint degeneration, but the pain is coming from the lower back as mentioned above.

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The moral of the story is just because you have hip joint pain, doesn’t mean you need a hip replacement.

This can be next to impossible to decipher on your own. The physical therapists at Cardin and Miller Physical Therapy can help you determine whether you need a hip replacement or not. If you have physical therapy and all treatment approaches that are attempted fail no matter what is done—and it is determined that in fact the pain is coming from the hip and not the back—then you are a candidate for a hip replacement.

If your hip pain is keeping you from walking without a limp, walking up and down stairs, sitting for long periods, keeping you awake at night and keeping from doing what you want with whom you want, then call Cardin and Miller Physical Therapy today 717-245-0400 to schedule your free screen with one of our hip pain specialists to see if we can help you resolve your hip pain.

Please email me at smiller@cardinmillerpt.com if you have any questions regarding hip or back pain or any other orthopedic ailment, and I would be happy to answer your questions.

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Steve Miller is the owner of Cardin and Miller Physical Therapy and can be reached by email at smiller@cardinmillerpt.com. His column will appear bi-monthly in the Thrive section of the Sentinel and on Cumberlink.com.

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