Arthritis of the hip

Arthritis of the hip deserves special mention, simply because of its prevalence in our elderly population. Treatment at any stage of the disease may be effective but very often a replacement is in order. The operative procedure for an arthritic hip is very successful and recent changes in surgical technique encourage the patient to be up and out of bed within 48 hours. Complications are rare but poor fixing of the ball and/or socket components does occur and this operation is notorious, especially if the individual does not get out of bed swiftly, for producing blood clots that can lead to pulmonary emboli. These risks are, however, small and the techniques are improving. Twenty years ago it would be necessary to consider replacing a replacement within 5-7 years but now, with techniques and components at a much higher standard, a hip may last up to 20 years.


See Arthritis to for information on how to avoid the necessity of an operation. If an operation is required.

Ensure that good physiotherapy, osteopathy and yoga are all employed before and after any operation. Strengthening the muscles around the hip joint and ensuring re-alignment of the inevitably dislodged pelvis speeds healing and will maintain the joint at a better level of health.

Hip fracture

Gravity has a profound effect on everything and the calcium in our bones is no exception. As we age, the protein matrix in which the calcium sits in bones diminishes, in part due to lack of exercise, decreased oestrogen and, especially, progesterone levels and, for many reasons, the Western diet. The outcome in the longest bone in the body – the femur or thigh bone – is that the top end becomes less dense. For a variety of reasons, including a loss of control in the balance centres in the brain and weakening muscles, elderly people have a greater tendency to fall and this, in combination with the weakened neck of the femur, makes hip fractures one of the two most common breakages in the elderly . supply, will cause a necrosis of the top part of the bone. This can become extremely painful eventually and can also lead to gangrene, which could be fatal.

Any trauma that leads to an immobile or painful hip must be reviewed by an accident and emergency department and X-ray investigation should be undertaken.

See Operations and surgery if surgery is required.

The homeopathic remedies Arnica and Symphytum at potency 30 should be taken every 2hr, decreasing to every 4hr after medical intervention has ceased.

See Arthritis of the hip for recommendations and pre- and postoperative care.

Prevention is the best form of medicine. Unfortunately, bone density is often determined in our teens and by the time a hip threatens to fracture interventional treatment is necessary , which can alter the pelvic bone positions. Inflammation can occur in the lower back joints through osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and certain infections, all of which have to be assessed before a correct treatment can be established.

Use simple measures such as the application of heat or ice and spend time in the ‘neutral’ position: with the head raised by a telephone directory and four pillows under the knees.

Gentle stretching exercises may be relieving.

A visit to an osteopath or chiropractor for a diagnostic consultation should be considered if problems persist.

Polarity therapy, the Alexander technique, yoga and Qi Gong should all be considered as part of a long-term preventative package.

Back pain through pregnancy or menopause may be hormonally related and should be treated by a complementary medical practitioner with an understanding of naturopathic treatments affecting hormones. Homeopathic remedies will be of benefit and should be chosen depending on the symptoms. Arnica, Bryonia, Rhus toxicodendron and Ruta should all be considered.

Shiatsu and massage will be relieving, if not curative, as may acupuncture in association with other body work.

Please review the relevant sections here if a specific condition is causing the lumbago.