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Medications and injections for hip pain

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Ask your health care provider about medicines that may help relieve your pain.

Over-the-counter pain relievers

Most doctors recommend acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) first because it has fewer side effects than other drugs. DO NOT take more than 3 grams (3,000 mg) of acetaminophen on any one day. Large amounts can harm your liver. Remember that 3 grams is about the same as 6 extra-strength pills or 10 regular pills.

If your pain continues, your provider may suggest nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). You can buy some non-prescription NSAIDs, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen.

Taking acetaminophen or another pain pill before exercising is OK. But DO NOT overdo the exercise because you have taken the medicine.

If you are taking pain relievers on most days, please tell your provider. You may need to be watched for side effects.

Both NSAIDs and acetaminophen can cause serious side effects when taken in high doses or for a long time. This includes bleeding from your stomach, as well as damage to your kidneys or liver.

Capsaicin is an ingredient in hot peppers that makes them spicy. It is used in skin creams to help relieve pain. You may feel a warm, stinging sensation when you first apply the cream. This sensation goes away after a few days of use. Pain relief usually begins within 1 to 2 weeks.

Prescription drugs and injections for hip pain

Your provider can prescribe higher doses of NSAIDs.

Your doctor may place a needle into a swollen bursa to put some medicine in.

A shot of a medicine called a corticosteroid may be used for some people. A numbing medicine (local anesthetic) is also added most of the time. These shots decrease swelling and pain. However, the relief will only last for a short time.

  • This type of shot can be used to speed the healing of bursitis.
  • When injected right into the joint, this shot can also be used to help with swelling and pain from arthritis. More than 2 or 3 injections a year may be harmful.
  • The injection be done under image guidance with ultrasound or X-rays. The medicine can be delivered to specific structures around the hip joint.

When the pain seems to go away after these injections, it may be tempting to go back to activities that may have caused your pain. When you receive these injections, ask your doctor or physical therapist to give you exercises and stretches that will decrease the chance of your pain returning. You can also receive advice on returning to any sports activities.

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Review Date: 12/31/2018

Reviewed By: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, San Francisco, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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