Manual therapy can lead to immediate improvements in hip pain, a new study suggests. Earlier research has shown that manual therapies like chiropractic can reduce symptoms in patients suffering from hip osteoarthritis. But what are the underlying mechanisms behind this relief?
A new study from Brazil provides a possible answer to that questions: changes in balance. “Since the hip is an important structure for weight bearing as well as static and dynamic balance, it is suggested that hip impairments may affect weight distribution,” wrote lead researcher Giovanni Esteves Ferreira of the Federal University of Health Sciences of Porto Algre. Poor joint mobility can impede balance by altering how the body distributes weight on the sole of the foot.
Esteves Ferreria and colleagues were interested in seeing whether a single manual therapy session affected balance and weight distribution. A 21-year old woman with hip pain was treated with mobilization treatments of the right hip. Immediately after treatment the woman had reduced pain and better mobility.
The researchers also used a special platform to measure minute changes in the way the woman distributed weight and pressure on her feet. Manual therapy shifted the woman’s weight distribution, with plantar pressure changing from the forefoot to the rearfoot and a reduction in pressure placed on the center of the foot.
This case study suggests that a single manual therapy session can produce positive changes in balance, pain, and mobility in patients with hip disorders. Hip mobilization is a common treatment used by chiropractors to address lower-extremity conditions. A doctor of chiropractic can use a combination of mobilization treatments, spinal adjustments, and exercise therapy to provide natural, effective relief of hip pain.
Esteves Ferreira G, et al. Immediate effects of hip mobilization on pain and baropodometric variables – A case report. Manual Therapy 2013; [E-pub ahead of print].