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Part 1: Your Hip Is Not a Tire

Image from page 167 of "A letter to the Hon. Isaac Parker, chief justice of the Supreme court of the state of Massachusetts : containing remarks on the dislocation of the hip joint, occasioned by the publication of a trial which took place at Machias, inThe incidence of hip replacements has increased. These days, getting a hip replaced is like getting a new set of tires in the minds of many people. But at an average cost of more than $30,000, and with insurance coverage decreasing, now we have a financial incentive not to see a vital joint as a replaceable car part.[i]

For the most part, hips fail because of a progression of treatable situations. Osteoarthritis can cause pain and limited motion. Osteoporosis of the hip causes weak bones that break easily. Alarmingly, both of those conditions are becoming more prevalent in younger people.

As the largest and the second most mobile joint of the body, the hip is designed to do a lot of work. When it can’t handle the load, it’s not because of design—it’s because of use. The systemic tension of the body from stress, and the local strain from injuries, overuse, and misalignment, all cause the soft tissue from the back to the knee to tighten, thereby restricting the hip.

An unnatural stride will put undue stress on particular joints. The knee, being a hinge joint, is the most susceptible. In spite of the hip’s size, however, the uneven wear can wear down the joint. The body naturally compensates for injuries and strain — up to a point. After a while, there is no more room to compensate. Because this process is slow for most people, you often don’t realize that you have a chronic problem until it’s too late.

All my hip replacement patients told me that, while the severe pain was new, the tightness and chronic ache existed for many years, if not decades, before they finally got the replacement. In hindsight, they wished they had listened to the signs of a deteriorating hip.

An additional factor is systemic inflammation from particular foods and chemicals that cause the body to react. Grains (wheat being the worst), sugar, and foods with additives will cause the body to respond as it would to any irritant.[ii]

Hip necrosis, also known as osteonecrosis (“osteo” means bone; “necrosis” means death), results from disruption of the normal blood flow to the femoral head, or the “ball” of the ball and socket joint. If untreated the “ball” dies and collapses, leading to extreme pain, loss of hip motion, and eventually, severe arthritis.

Next week we’ll discuss solutions that do more than treat the symptoms.

Owen Marcus, MA Certified Advanced Rolfer, – call if you have questions: 265.8440.




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