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Alternative therapies for hip pain and hip arthritis

Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate

Both glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are made naturally by the body. They are building blocks for cartilage in your body. They can both also be bought over the counter as supplements.

  • Glucosamine comes as glucosamine sulfate, glucosamine hydrochloride, and n-acetyl glucosamine. These products may come in tablet, capsule, and powder forms.
  • Chondroitin sulfate comes in capsules or tablets. It is often combined with glucosamine.

These supplements may help decrease pain. However, they do not seem to help your hip joint grow new cartilage or slow your arthritis from becoming worse. Large studies have shown that there's some small benefit to this supplement but the effect is not great. Some doctors recommend a trial period of 3 months to see whether glucosamine and chondroitin help.


Acupuncture is a treatment based on Chinese medicine. It works by altering the pain message that nerves send to your brain.

  • You will lie down on an exam table. Needles are inserted with a twirling or gently jiggling motion. You may not feel the needles at all, or you may feel a twitch or a quick twinge of pain that goes away when the needle is inserted completely.
  • After the needles are placed, you will usually rest for 15 to 60 minutes.

Some studies have found that acupuncture may provide short-term pain relief for people with osteoarthritis.

Massage therapy

Massage therapy may also help provide short-term pain relief. Make sure you work with an experienced massage therapist who understands how to work with sensitive joint areas.

S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe)

S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe, pronounced "Sammy") is a man-made form of a natural byproduct of the amino acid methionine. It has been marketed as a remedy for arthritis, but scientific evidence supporting these claims is lacking.

(Note: Mostly, manufacturers of herbal remedies and dietary supplements do not need FDA approval to sell their products. This means the amount of the active ingredient may vary. Even though they are not technically drugs, herbs and supplements can produce side effects that may be harmful. Always check with your doctor before using any herbal remedies or dietary supplements.)

Cannabidiol (CBD)

Cannabis oil can be used for pain relief. It has less effect on your entire body and can have local pain relief. Can check with your doctor to see whether is appropriate for your use.

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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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