Exploring alternatives with chiropractic care
From 2000 to 2010, there was a 125% increase in total hip replacements.1 There are now roughly 400,000 hip replacements performed every year in the U.S.
It’s not surprising, as the Baby Boomers (people born between 1946 and 1964) are presently estimated at 73 million people. By 2030, all of them will be at least 65.2 This is significant because people between the ages of 45 and 64 make up the prime demographic for hip issues affecting quality of life.3
Factors that contribute to hip joint dysfunction include:
- Aging (Being 40 or over)
- Arthritis (especially osteoarthritis)
- Accelerated wear and tear due to activity like sports and demanding physical work
- Faulty foot biomechanics like overpronation and plastic deformation
- Improper gait functionality
- Trauma or injury
- A diet high in sugar and carbohydrates which contribute to joint inflammation4
As people are working later into life and want to enjoy active retirements, there is a greater need for optimal hip function. Joint replacement has become so common and readily available that it’s seen as simply a step in the aging process. Most people know someone who has undergone a single or bilateral (total) hip replacement. High-tech procedures like robotic surgery result in smaller incisions and shorter recovery times, and hospitals routinely tout “from the rocking chair to round the world travel” success stories to promote their joint replacement programs.
However, hip replacements are still costly, invasive surgeries that involve hospital stays, post-operative care with opioid painkillers, and often lengthy rehabilitation. Like any surgery, they come with risks, such as nerve damage and blood clots.
The average age of a hip replacement is 65, and the hardware typically lasts only about 20 years, requiring follow-up surgery when the patient is considerably older, impacting recovery and increasing their chance for complications.
Breaking the response cycle
The current medical model is to treat the joints only when they become problematic, rather than addressing the musculoskeletal system collectively and proactively. When people first begin to experience hip pain or stiffness, they start by visiting their primary care provider, who will then refer them to a specialist, usually an orthopedist. There will be X-rays and MRIs taken, but no assessment or treatment of the faulty foot biomechanics and improper body alignment that are most likely contributing to the patient’s hip condition.
Chiropractic care that proactively centers on the root causes of joint degradation with a focus on body stabilization and holistic wellness can help people manage their joint health. Those wishing to delay or even avoid hip replacement surgery entirely should explore this option along with custom orthotics.
“Patients interested in taking responsibility for their joint health have to proactively execute some basic components of a joint preservation/restoration strategy.” explains Dr. Brian Jensen, DC, owner of Cave Spring Chiropractic in Roanoke, VA. “This strategy has to take into account all the components of the problem, which includes diet, exercise, spinal and extremity joint biomechanics, as well as the current state of dysfunction of the joint (s).”
Partnering with a chiropractor to protect the joints
People with joint pain and those who want to prevent it can all benefit from ongoing chiropractic care. A chiropractor will perform a thorough evaluation of the patient’s entire musculoskeletal system, including an assessment of the foot structure and biomechanics. They can identify areas of imbalance, weakness and diminished flexibility, and stability issues like flat feet and legs of disproportionate length. In addition to performing regular adjustments to maintain optimal alignment, they may recommend exercises and modifications to the patient’s environment and activities to make them more ergonomic.
The feet are the body’s foundation, supporting weight, providing shock absorption and weight transference, directing movement, and stabilizing the entire structure. When they are out of alignment the entire body is affected and out of balance, impacting every point in the kinetic chain, including the hips and pelvis.
A chiropractor can prescribe Foot Levelers custom orthotics to restore the healthy, symmetrical foundation that lessens excessive joint stress and allows them to function optimally. With greater comfort and support, the patient is able to enjoy a more fulfilling life with regular exercise that contributes to better overall health. Before undergoing an invasive joint procedure, it's best to first explore conservative, non-invasive care that includes custom orthotics.
1Kremers H., Larson, D., Crowson C., Kremers, W., Prevalence of Total Hip and Knee Replacement in the United States. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2015; 97(17):1386-1397
2U.S. Census Bureau
3US Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics National Hospital Discharge Survey: 2010 table, procedures by selected patient characteristics - number by procedure, category and age Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhds/4procedures/2010pro4_numberprocedureage.pdfAccessed June 10, 2013