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Chiropractic Care as an Alternative to Hip Replacement Surgery

The hip is a very complex joint, with an array of bones, nerves, muscles, cartilage, tendons and ligaments all working in cooperation to maintain support, stability, balance and range of motion. Chronic hip problems and pain are very common, and due to the complexity of the joint, can be caused by a variety of factors.

Many people who suffer serious hip problems have found chiropractic care an effective alternative to hip replacement surgery, offering relief for pain and mobility issues without the risk of complications that can occur with surgical solutions.

Chiropractic Care for Hip Pain

Chiropractic care can be helpful in the treatment of chronic joint conditions, such as hip osteoporosis, as well as hip injuries, ranging from acute injuries like strains or sprains to overuse injuries, such as tendinitis and bursitis. Goals of that care include reducing pain and inflammation and maintaining or restoring flexibility, range of motion, strength and balance in the hip muscles to enhance joint function, alignment and stability, reducing the risk of hip replacement becoming necessary.

The first visit to a chiropractic physician will generally consist of discussing your symptoms, reviewing your medical history and performing an examination to determine the cause of your hip problems. Once that initial evaluation has been done, the doctor will then design a treatment plan to suit your individual needs.

Among the methods that may be used by a chiropractor to improve hip function and reduce discomfort are hip joint adjustments, spinal adjustments and stretching. Hip stabilization, resistance exercise and yoga techniques are often used in treatment, as are deep-tissue massage, joint supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin, heat packs and nutritional counseling.

Why Avoid Hip Replacement?

While hip replacement may seem like a quick and efficient solution to chronic hip problems, it is a bit more involved than many people may realize. It is, after all, major surgery, and making a full recovery from a replacement procedure can take a year or longer, depending upon your particular situation. Additionally, while these procedures are very common, there are risks involved.

First, hip implants have a lifespan that ranges from 10 to 20 years. That means you will need revision surgery to replace that artificial hip once it has reached the end of its lifespan. Premature failure and complications can happen, leading to revision surgery much earlier.

Revision procedures have been a bit more common than usual in recent years, as manufacturers, in an effort to produce more durable, longer-lasting implants, introduced metal-on-metal hip replacement systems. Some of these implants were poorly designed or defective, which led to several product recalls, a number of serious complications and lots of hip replacement lawsuits filed on behalf of injured patients.

Among the problems associated with these devices was metallosis — a serious inflammatory condition that occurs due to debris shed from the implant into the soft tissues around the hip joint, which can lead to severe pain, tissue death, bone loss and implant failure.

Elizabeth Carrollton writes about defective medical devices and dangerous drugs for Drugwatch.com.

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