Rheumatoid arthritis in the hips is chronic and painful.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms
Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory arthritis that is chronic in nature. Typically, it affects the hands and feet. While osteoarthritis is a “wear-and-tear” problem, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) “affects the lining of (the) joints” that will lead to “bone erosion and joint deformity” as well as swelling that is painful. RA is an autoimmune disorder, meaning that the body’s immune system attacks the body’s tissues by mistake. RA could also impact the eyes, lungs, blood vessels, and skin. It usually strikes after the age of 40, but RA could happen at any age. Women are more commonly affected by rheumatoid arthritis.1 Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis can “come and go”. The disease is either active or in remission. Symptoms return upon relapse or a “flare”. Loss of energy, fatigue, lack of appetite, joint and muscle aches, stiffness, and low-grade fever are common symptoms. It is common for patients to be stiffer after inactivity or in the mornings. During flares, joints “become warm, red, swollen, painful, and tender”.2 Up to 35% of patients with RA can develop “rheumatoid nodules” which are described as “firm lumps located under the skin”. They may be attached to fascia or tendons, or they could be movable. Size-wise, they might range from the size of a pea to a walnut. For some, these nodules could be painful and limit movement and organ functioning. Other might have no symptoms.3 While arthritis in the hands or feet are more common features of RA, hip joint pain is also possible. Stiffness, severe pain, swelling, and even discomfort in the groin and thigh are some symptoms of RA affecting the hip.4 The hip pain is generally dull, and it is located not only by the thigh and groin, but also around the buttocks. RA in the hips is worse in the morning, and it usually lessens with activity, but vigorous activity could worsen the pain.5
Medication may or may not alleviate the pain of rheumatoid arthritis. Some patients may want to consult with their rheumatologists about chiropractic care for their painful symptoms. It is important that the chiropractor has experience with arthritis and “takes a multidisciplinary approach, such as using physical therapy, nutritional counseling and neuromuscular treatments”.6 According to the American Chiropractic Association, it is important to exercise. RA is “symmetrical”, so if one hip is affected, the opposite one is as well. Exercise is crucial for joint mobility, flexibility, endurance, muscle strength, and weight control. Of course, it is important for patients to balance exercise with necessary rest, which reduces inflammation, fatigue, and pain. The ACA suggests that patients rest when the RA is active and exercise during remission. Range-of-motion exercises, stretching, strengthening and weight lifting, aerobic, and endurance exercises will help joints, flexibility, and muscle tone.7
Find out more about chiropractic and arthritis.