Have you ever had a nagging pain in the region of the pelvis or hip? Pain or discomfort in the pelvic region and the hip may be related. Since the hip is a weight bearing joint, pain and discomfort in the hip can cause problems with sitting, standing and walking.
The bones of the hip and pelvic region act as protection for internal organs such as the bladder. Depending on the severity of the injury, a hip fracture can result in internal bleeding, difficulty urinating and abdominal pain.
Fractures in the pelvis and hip typically result from high-impact trauma. Participation in athletic programs, bicycling injuries and vehicle accidents can also cause fractures.
Low-impact injuries in the elderly are usually precipitated by osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. Falls are a major area of concern for the elderly. Causes include deterioration in balance, impaired vision and unintended obstacles like slippery floors, rugs and even pets. Fractures as a direct result of falls in the elderly can lead to complications such as cardiovascular disorders, pulmonary problems and infections.
The Dual Role of Physical Therapy
A period of rest and recovery is essential after any injury, but hip and pelvic fractures pose unique challenges. An extended period of bed rest is needed to allow time to heal. Reduced muscle tone and weakness may ensue. It can also result in a reduction in joint mobility. Physical therapy helps mitigate the effects of bed rest. Once a patient is weight bearing, a therapist can facilitate recovery using some of the following methods:
- Passive Joint Mobility - If the patient is in bed, a physical therapist will use techniques to keep the joints mobile with a safe and progressive sequence of passive exercises.
- Assisted Joint Mobility - As the individual regains strength, muscle engagement is facilitated. The patient is asked to participate in the movement while being facilitated by the therapist.
- Progressive Weight Bearing - The ability to stand and walk using assisted devices like crutches or walkers is an important part of the recovery process. The supervision of the physical therapist is crucial to ensure a safe recovery.
- Joint and Soft Tissue Manipulation - Specialized techniques help restore movement, and therapeutic massage is used to reduce muscle tension, control pain and facilitate range of motion.
- Customized Exercise Programs - Specialized routines are tailored to the individual abilities of the patient and can be performed with or without equipment. The method increases strength, maintains tone and sustains range of movement.
- Training with Assistive Devices - Physical therapists provide patients with help in learning to move with crutches, canes, wheelchairs, and walkers.
A New Life with Physical Therapy
No one wants to experience pain and discomfort, especially the kind that prevents you from doing simple things like sitting, standing and walking. From a human anatomy standpoint, pain in the hip and pelvis affects your ability to bear weight on those joints. In fact, problems in the lower back are related to hip pain and vice versa.
As your physical therapists, we will conduct a detailed evaluation to answer important questions such as:
- When did the problem originate?
- What causes an increase in pain?
- How can we get you back 'on your feet' as quickly as possible?
Once we gather all the information from you, we use our training and insight to formulate a treatment program designed for your unique needs. If you or someone you know has experienced a pelvic fracture or you have any questions about physical therapy, please give us a call. We will present you with several options to work with us, and answer any questions you might have. Our schedule tends to fill up quickly, so we urge you to call us now. Thank you for reading, and we look forward to hearing from you.