Hip Arthritis Treatment – Methodologies

Conservative management

As hip osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition there is no definite cure, however there are range of methods to conservatively manage the condition and slow down its progression. The most commonly used methods are covered here.

Pain relief

For patients with mild symptoms over the counter analgesic medication such as paracetamol should control the painful symptoms of Hip Arthritis, as well as NSAID’s (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as ibuprofen.

If symptoms worsen it is advisable to visit your GP where stronger pain reliving tablets such as co-codamols or anti inflammatories such as naproxen can be prescribed.

For sufferers with more severe symptoms you GP may decide to refer you to an orthopaedic consultant to investigate whether or not total hip replacement surgery would be appropriate.

Musculoskeletal therapies

There are a range of musculoskeletal techniques that aim to reduce painful symptoms of Hip Arthritis through joint mobilisations and soft tissue manipulation. At the core of these methods is the technique of traction. A physiotherapist, chiropractor or osteopath is trained to apply these techniques.

Hip Traction

Hip traction is a musculoskeletal technique that is widely accepted to reduce the symptoms of hip osteoarthritis. The benefits of hip traction include; stretching the joint capsule to reduce stiffness within the joint, increase range of movement and stimulating mechanoreceptors within the joint to provide hip pain relief.


As well as rest, a patient will be advised to participate in regular, gentle exercise. Hip traction is important for improving exercise tolerance.

A physiotherapist will also provide a specific exercise programme tailored to an individuals requirements. This will include strengthening exercises aimed to strengthen the deep stabilising muscles that support the hip joint. It will also include stretching exercises to maintain muscle length and prevent painful tightening of the muscles surrounding the hip.

Heat & Cold Therapy

Heat therapy is a popular technique. It can be applied to the hip area if a patient is experiencing dull achey pain. Ice therapy can be considered if a patient is experiencing swelling around the hip. Whether hot or cold therapy provides relief is usually a matter of personal preference with patients. A manual therapist would advise how to apply the technique.


Acupuncture is another technique used by manual therapists to relive pain. Specific training is required before a manual therapist can offer this technique.