Many people experience hip pain for a variety of reasons. One reason some may experience hip pain is Greater Trochanteric Pain Syndrome, or GPTS. GPTS is a pain that involves the tendon and small cushioning sacs, called bursae, around the femur, and the most prominent part of your hip. It can be caused by a number of things, including but not limited to, trauma to the hip from falling on it. Also, repeated motions like walking or running or bearing weight on one leg for a long period of time. Even vigorous exercise, especially when your body is not used to it. It could even be the result of a sports injury.
GPTS is chronic, intermittent pain on the outside of the hip. It was believed that this pain was caused by a swollen bursa. And so, began the use cortisone injections to treat the pain. Cortisone injections are used to treat pain and swelling to an affected area. However, Cortisone injections come with many risks. These include infection, nerve damage, temporary increase in blood sugar, weakened or ever torn tendons, and much more. However, researchers now believe that injury to the tendons and muscles around the hip are the cause of pain, and inflammation isn’t even involved.
With an estimated 10-25% of people suffering from GPTS, what solution do they have for their pain, now that risky cortisone shots may not be the most effective treatment? Many researchers now believe dry needling is the best solution. Dry needling is the use of super thin, solid filiform needles. In a study conducted for the treatment of GPTS using dry needling, researchers tested a group of 50 people with GPTS. The study lasted 6 weeks. Patients were randomly assigned to either receive dry needling or cortisone shots. During the 6 weeks, they also recorded how much pain medication was taken by each patient, but no other treatment was provided.
At the end of the study, patients in both groups had similar results. Patients who had dry needling had the same results as those who received the corticosteroid injection. Both groups experienced decreased pain and an improvement in ability to complete daily activities. The difference, however, is that the group that received dry needling, didn’t have to be injected with potentially harmful steroids. Trying dry needling with your physical therapist first may solve your pain just as effectively as cortisone injections. And with much less risk of side effects.