When to See a Doctor for Hip Pain

Jan 18, 2024 | Pain Management

Hip pain is awful. It affects your ability to move freely, disrupts your sleep, and can even affect your mood. Worst of all, it steals your ability to do the things in life you enjoy the most. 

It can be difficult for many people to know when chronic hip pain warrants a visit to a physician. How do you know when you should see a doctor for hip pain

In this post, we’ll explain how to tell when hip pain has become more than just an annoyance and may be signaling a serious condition that needs medical attention.

The ABCs of Hip Pain

Hip pain is any discomfort that you feel in or around your hip joint. It can be a sharp, stabbing pain, a constant ache, or a throbbing sensation. If it lasts for three months or more, it’s considered chronic.

The most common causes of hip pain include arthritis, bursitis (inflammation of the fluid-filled sacs around the joint), hip fractures, tendinitis (inflammation of the tendons), muscle or tendon strain, and hip labral tear (tear in the ring of cartilage around the hip joint).

The symptoms of hip pain can differ for each person depending on the underlying cause. They might include discomfort in your thigh, inside or outside of your hip joint, groin, buttocks, or lower back. You might also experience reduced range of motion, stiffness, limping, or joint pain.

When to See a Doctor for Hip Pain

Like many forms of physical pain, it’s very important to pay attention to your body and what it’s trying to tell you. Ignoring pain can lead to other, more serious problems and can even cause new medical conditions if left untreated. 

Whether your chronic hip pain is mild, severe, or something in between, consider the following reasons for when to see a doctor for hip pain:

Seek immediate medical attention if you experience:

  • Severe pain that is intense and debilitating, especially if it comes on suddenly
  • Inability to move your leg or hip
  • Swelling or redness around the hip, which could indicate an infection or inflammation
  • Deformity of the joint (appearing out of alignment or misshapen)
  • Fever or chills
  • Loss of feeling or numbness in your leg

Schedule an appointment with your doctor within a few days if you experience:

  • Persistent pain that lasts for more than a week, even with rest and home remedies
  • Pain that interferes with your daily activities, such as walking, sleeping, or sitting
  • Pain that worsens at night or with certain movements
  • Limited range of motion in your hip
  • Weakness or instability in your leg
  • Clicking or popping sounds in your hip when you move

How Doctors Diagnose Hip Pain

When you visit a doctor for hip pain, they will likely start with a physical examination to assess your range of motion, strength, and tenderness. They may also order imaging tests such as X-rays, MRI, or CT scans to get a detailed view of your bones and soft tissues.

In some cases, your doctor might also recommend a joint aspiration (removing fluid from the joint for testing) or a biopsy (taking a small sample of tissue for testing).

Treatment Options for Hip Pain

Treatment for hip pain will depend on the underlying cause. It can range from simple home remedies like rest and over-the-counter pain relievers to physical therapy, prescription medications, and in severe cases, surgery.

Many pain management clinics and other specialists are more frequently turning to minimally invasive procedures to treat chronic hip pain. Treatments such as nerve blocks, radiofrequency ablations, and trigger point injections can bring some form of relief for many patients. 

Your doctor might also suggest lifestyle changes like weight loss and regular exercise to reduce stress on your hip.

Tips for Managing Hip Pain at Home

While waiting for medical treatment, you can take advantage of several techniques to manage your hip pain at home, such as: 

• Resting your hip

• Applying ice to the area several times a day

• Taking over-the-counter pain relievers

• Performing gentle stretching exercises

Turn to HPM to Treat Your Hip Pain

At HPM, we understand how debilitating hip pain can be. That’s why we operate a growing network of pain management clinics in rural communities. Our highly trained medical specialists have the expertise to pinpoint the source of each patient’s pain. We provide the latest medical treatments that are most effective at reducing chronic pain. 

Contact us to find a location near you and start your journey to a pain-free life.