Will Dry Needling Help Hip Bursitis?
Hip bursitis is an uncomfortable inflammation of the bursa, a fluid-filled sac that cushions tendons and bones in your hip joint. It’s an extremely common condition, often presenting as tenderness when pressure is applied to the outer side of your hip bone on its lateral aspect (hip flexion). Physicians typically suggest rest from any activity that exacerbates the pain. Additionally, they may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications or injections.
What is Hip Bursitis?
Hip bursitis is an inflammation of the trochanteric bursa, located around your outer hip bone (trochanteric). This sac acts as a cushion between bones and soft tissue by providing support. Doctors typically diagnose hip bursitis by reviewing your medical history and performing a physical examination. They may also order an X-ray, MRI or bone scan to pinpoint the source of pain.
Inflammation of the trochanteric bursa can cause pain on the outside portion of your hip, thigh and buttock. This may make transitioning from sitting to standing, walking and climbing stairs uncomfortable or difficult. Your doctor is likely to prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce pain and swelling in your hip. They may also suggest cold therapy as a way of decreasing hip swelling.
If your hip bursitis doesn’t improve after a few weeks, your doctor may suggest surgery to remove the bursa. This minimally invasive procedure, called an arthroscopic bursectomy, is typically performed as an outpatient.
Does Dry Needling Work?
Dry needling is a technique in which needles are used to prick irritated areas of muscle in an effort to promote healing and reduce pain. Similar to acupuncture, massage therapy focuses on targeting myofascial abnormalities and sensitive trigger points in muscles. Trigger points can make your hip area painful and stiff even if you don’t have bursitis. Furthermore, trigger points may lead to referred pain that travels throughout other parts of your body.
Your therapist can feel the area to identify which trigger points are causing your hip pain, as well as assess mobility and muscle function. Dry needling is a non-invasive alternative to cortisone injections and does not involve chemicals. It could be ideal for patients who don’t respond to steroid injections or who are concerned about the potential risks of steroids or invasive surgery.
Is Dry Needling Safe?
Dry needling is a safe and effective form of treating muscle conditions. It involves inserting fine needles to stimulate and break up knotted muscles (known as trigger points) that cause discomfort or stiffness. Physical therapists and licensed acupuncturists frequently perform dry needling to aid patients with conditions such as myofascial pain syndrome and sports injuries. They may also utilize it to address conditions that have not responded to other forms of therapy.
Your therapist will assess your condition and determine if dry needling would be beneficial for you. If so, they will apply needles to affected muscles or trigger points to see if it helps reduce pain or tightness. Dry needling can be a safe and effective treatment for hip bursitis. It’s less invasive than steroid injections and offers similar results, making it a less-risky alternative for those who are afraid of needles or have tried steroid injections without success.
Do I Need a Doctor’s Referral?
Hip bursitis is a relatively common condition, affecting up to 25% of Americans. Doctors usually recommend rest, painkillers or corticosteroid injections for relief from the inflammation. But if these treatments don’t alleviate your hip pain, physical therapy could be the answer. Unlike other treatments, physical therapy will target the source of your discomfort to eliminate symptoms and restore normal movement.
Dry needling (DN) is a therapeutic technique in which Physical Therapists utilize thin filament needles to stimulate trigger points in muscles and soft tissue. DN treatment reduces muscle and myofascial pain, releases trigger points, and allows patients to regain movement.