Most people can find relief from the usual, conservative treatments for hip pain. These might include physical therapy, heating and icing the hip, and rest. But what if these haven’t worked for you?

Some doctors are quick to recommend steroids, but these aren’t always the best solution either. So what if conservative treatments haven’t worked, but steroids aren’t the way to go?

Here at The Spine and Pain Center of California, Dr. Navin Mahallavaram — and the rest of our staff — wants to focus on providing you with the best, most effective treatment for your hip pain. That’s why we don’t stop at steroid injections and in many cases, offer a completely different set of options.

Why steroids might not be the best option for your hip pain

According to a 2020 study, between 12 and 15 percent of American adults over 60 complain of hip pain. A steroid injection to treat this pain is often the first line of defense after conservative treatments have failed to work.

But for many people, this isn’t an effective solution. For one, steroid injections aren’t a long-term treatment, and many patients need continued shots over time to experience pain relief. Also, this treatment can potentially cause many concerning side effects. These may include:

  • Infection
  • Allergic reactions
  • Increase in blood sugar
  • Weakened tendons and ligaments
  • Cartilage damage
  • Nerve damage
  • Thinning of nearby bones

Some of these are more problematic for certain individuals, such as an increase in blood sugar being more likely to affect someone with diabetes. It may be best to avoid steroid injections if you find these side effects are more likely to affect you. But if steroids aren’t right for you, then what is?

Treating hip pain without steroids

Fortunately, hip pain can be treated without steroid injections. At The Spine and Pain Center of California, we start by diagnosing the exact cause of your hip pain using everything from a physical examination to an ultrasound. This will allow us to have a better idea of whether steroids will be effective.

If the answer to steroids is no, there are other treatments available. For example, if you suffer from arthritis or perhaps an injury that occurred years ago, radiofrequency ablation therapy (or RFT) could be an effective option. RFT utilizes an electrical current to keep the pain signals at the affected part of your body from reaching your brain.

Another possible option is platelet-rich plasma (or PRP) therapy. PRP is especially effective for torn tendons and ligaments, muscle injuries that haven’t healed over time, and injuries caused by overuse. PRP involves taking your blood, which is then spun in a centrifuge to separate the platelet-rich plasma, and injecting it into the pain site, allowing for very little chance of infection.

Of course, if none of these treatments are right, arthroscopic surgery is also an option. But we believe it is best to gradually increase the intensity and invasiveness of treatments when necessary, starting with the least intensive and invasive first.

Do I need an alternative to steroid injections?

Many people can receive steroid injections for their hip pain and experience effective results. But depending on your individualized needs, this might not be you. The only way to know for sure is to begin a diagnosis program that will allow you to find the best, most fruitful option for your specific condition.

We would be honored to begin your healing journey with you today. Just call either our Fremont or Pleasanton, CA office or visit us online to make an appointment.