Are you tired of living with hip pain?

February 24, 2012

Health, Natural therapies, Pain, Prolotherapy

Patients with hip injuries rarely have pain that involves only the hip. The lumbosacral, sacroiliac regions or the gluteal muscles may also be involved.

by Dr. Fred G. Arnold — 

Hip pain is one of the more common complaints of patients who come to our office. It frequently results from a recent injury or past traumatic event, such as a motor vehicle accident, fall or sports injury. Patients with hip injuries rarely have pain that involves only the hip. The lumbosacral, sacroiliac regions or the gluteal muscles may also be involved. If these secondary areas of injury are overlooked, complete resolution of the pain is unlikely.

Anatomy of the hip

The hip joint is a ball and socket joint, formed by the head of the femur (thigh bone) and the acetabulum of the pelvis, with associated ligaments. The dome-shaped head of the femur forms the ball, which fits snuggly into the concave socket of the acetabulum. A layer of cartilage covers the acetabulum and extends slightly out of the socket called the labrum, and holds the ball at the top of the thighbone (femur) in place. Numerous muscles attach to the top of the femur by tendons. When all the connecting tendons and ligaments are strong, the hip joint is a very sturdy joint.

Benefits of prolotherapy for hip pain

Prolotherapy, also known as regenerative injection therapy (RIT), ligament reconstructive therapy or sclerotherapy, is a recognized orthopedic procedure that stimulates the body’s natural healing processes to strengthen joints weakened by trauma or arthritis. When hip trauma occurs, either through a single event or repetitive trauma, tendons and ligaments of the hip are torn and stretched. These injured soft tissues become relaxed, resulting in chronic instability and degeneration, with boney changes and thinning of the cartilage. When left untreated, post-traumatic arthritis (or degenerative joint disease) occurs and is the most common condition involving painful hips. Prolotherapy targets the weakened ligaments, tendons and thinning cartilage to strengthen and regenerate the soft tissues of the hip and relieve chronic pain secondary to degenerative changes.

Prolotherapy is a proven treatment for painful hip conditions. In one scientific study, 61 patients (representing 94 hips) who had been in pain for more than five years were treated with prolotherapy. In this retrospective study, patients were shown to have improved their pain, stiffness, range of motion and quality of life even 19 months subsequent to their last session. This pilot study shows that prolotherapy is a treatment that should be considered and further studied for people suffering from unresolved hip pain.

Other areas of the body that are responsive to prolotherapy include neck pain, hand and wrist pain, headaches, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems, shoulder pain, tennis elbow, back pain, knee pain, ankle sprains and foot pain.

Prolotherapy is a very effective treatment for painful hip conditions. Each patient is evaluated with a personal history and physical examination, which includes an observation of the gait. Evaluation of the hip involves palpation of the front, side and back of the joint with specific orthopedic tests.

Tender or painful areas of the hip are usually associated with weakened or damaged tissues (ligaments, tendons and cartilage) that make up and are part of the hip joint. The patient is also questioned about back, sacroiliac, knee and lower leg problems, since hip pain may be related to any of these areas.

On an individual basis, further evaluation may include ultrasound evaluation, X-rays and/or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) before receiving prolotherapy. In cases involving chronic pain, a comprehensive treatment approach is prescribed that includes rehabilitative exercises, nutrition and specific supplements to maximize health and the ability to heal.

Patients are reassessed in two to three weeks, and the injections are repeated at decreasing intervals as their conditions improve or are resolved. It is not always possible to predict the exact number of sessions required because all patients’ conditions are unique in terms of their abilities to repair and regrow new tissue.

Most patients require four to six treatments for a mild to moderate condition, while some patients require only one to two treatments for resolution of their symptoms. Depending upon each patient’s individual pain level, prescription pain medication may be provided. However, most patients do well without pain medication or by just using over-the-counter Tylenol®.


Prolotherapy is a safe, reasonable and proven orthopedic procedure that has provided significant relief to thousands of patients for painful hip conditions. Prolotherapy provides relief of painful conditions when other treatments have failed, because it treats the cause of the problem: weakened ligaments, tendons and degenerative conditions. Strengthening weakened ligaments and tendons, and rebuilding hip cartilage slows down and even reverses the degenerative changes associated with painful hips. Prolotherapy helps to prevent hip surgery and treats pain without the negative effects of pain medications. Prolotherapy should always be considered when other treatments have failed and particularly when surgery has been recommended.


  1. Hackett, George Stuart, M.D., Hemwall, Gustav A., M.D., Montgomery, Gerald A., M.D., Ligament and Tendon Relaxation Treated by Prolotherapy, Beulah Land Press, Oak Park, Il, 2002.
  2. Ross A. Hauser, M.D. and Marion A. Hauser, M.S., R.D., “A retrospective study on Hackett-Hemwall dextrose prolotherapy for chronic hip pain at an Outpatient Charity Clinic in rural Illinois, Journal of Prolotherapy, 2009;2:76-88.


Fred G. Arnold, D.C., N.M.D., specializes in prolotherapy/pain rehabilitation services. He is a Diplomate of the American Academy Health Care Providers and one of the few physicians in the nation with both a naturopathic medical degree and chiropractic degree. 602-292-2978 or

Reprinted from AZNetNews, Volume 30, Number 3, June/July 2011.

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