The First Steps to Dealing With Hip Pain

The First Steps to Dealing With Hip Pain

Like other types of joint pain, hip pain can set in gradually or very suddenly. If you care for your hip effectively soon after the onset of your hip pain, you may be able to treat the condition conservatively and stall or forgo more invasive treatments such as surgery. You can take important steps in the first few days after a hip problem arises.

Orthopedic specialist Anthony J. Berni, MD, believes early intervention is crucial when it comes to joint pain. Here at our O’Fallon, Missouri, office, he picks up where you leave off when you need advanced treatment for hip pain. 

In this blog, we address what you can do to ease hip pain and joint inflammation in the hours and days after an injury or other hip problem occurs.

Rely on RICE

The RICE method works for many acute injuries, including those due to overuse. RICE is an acronym for four steps you can follow to reduce swelling and ease some of the initial musculoskeletal pain. Here’s what the letters stand for:


Don’t attempt to keep using your hip to the degree you did before the pain set in. Instead, rest the joint moderately. This might require you to stay home from the gym for a few days or hand off your dog to someone else for daily walks. 

Eventually, you can ease back into using the hip again. However, a few days of rest initially can give your hip the opportunity to start healing. 


Applying ice or a cold pack to the painful part of your hip offers a little numbness to help control pain. Additionally, icing reduces inflammation around your painful hip joint. To avoid damaging your nerves, only apply ice for 20 minutes or so at a time, and wrap it in a towel to prevent burning your skin.


Applying pressure around your hip or pelvis with a bandage or compression wear stops fluid from building up in your painful hip joint. Make sure the bandage is secure but not tight enough to cut off blood flow. 


Elevating the injured hip also prevents fluid buildup around the joint after an injury. It doesn’t have to be a challenging maneuver: You can elevate your hip while lying in bed or on the couch by placing a pillow beneath your buttocks. 

Use over-the-counter medications and products

Oral over-the-counter medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are easy to obtain and usually effective for easing hip pain. These medications work by blocking certain chemicals within the body that cause or exacerbate inflammation. Even if your hip pain is due to a chronic underlying condition like arthritis, NSAIDs can offer some relief when the pain appears or escalates. 

While you’re at the drugstore, you can also find topical creams to numb your hip area. While browsing the labels, look for ingredients like lidocaine, which is a numbing agent, or capsaicin, which is the substance that makes peppers taste spicy. These can help ease your hip pain until you can see a specialist. 

Avoid the alcohol

Drinking alcohol can increase swelling in the injured hip, which inhibits healing. Avoid drinking for a while until you can get the care you need for your hip pain.

Visit your orthopedic specialist

Are you dealing with hip pain and need more intensive care? Schedule an appointment with Anthony J. Berni, MD, by calling our office or using our online booking feature today. 

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