The 6 Big Lies About Hip Pain, Hip Arthritis & Surgery

Updated: Oct 20, 2021

This article is a transcribed edited summary of a video Bob and Brad recorded in February of 2021. For the original video go to

Bob: Today we want to talk about the six big lies about hip pain, hip arthritis, and surgery. These are common statements that Brad and I have heard over what, 50 some years of treatment?

Brad: Combined.

Bob: Combined, yeah not 50 alone. But we hear these commonly occurring themes and so we're going to address that. So hip pain obviously can occur at any age, you know if you had like a sporting injury, or you have trauma. But, as we age, it can actually can show up for no reason whatsoever. I mean, all of a sudden, you know, you're 50, 60, 70 years old. All of a sudden it pops up one day.

Brad: Right, right. But you know, it can go away too.

Bob: Yeah, it can go away too.

Brad: And so that's what we're going to address a little bit.

Bob: Yeah, so we're going to talk about the typical scenarios. So someone goes in they're 50, 60, 70, they go into the doctor, because they're having hip pain. It just started on its own. First thing the doctor's going to do maybe an X-ray, MRI, CAT scan not the first thing, but depending on the doctor.

Brad: Right.

Bob: But eventually what they're going to show, you're going to see these results of your scans, and it's going to say, there's degeneration and osteoarthritis in your hip. It might be bone on bone, even.

Brad: Right.

Bob: And you're going to say,” oh my gosh now I know what's causing my pain (arthritis is causing your hip pain).” So they're going to do medications, injections and maybe even surgery.

Brad: Sure.

Bob: But what we have found is, and study after study has shown this, that really osteoarthritis degeneration is just part of the normal aging process.

Brad: It's like getting gray hair. There are some things that may increase it. For example, maybe some muscle tightness around the joint is making it worse and if we can loosen those muscles up, the pain can decrease and actually improve things.

Bob: Exactly. So it's not necessarily what you're seeing is the problem, because the studies they've done is they looked at people with no hip pain, did X-rays or MRIs on them and they found lots of these same things.

Brad: Right.

Bob: They found, and the other thing, Brad, I'm sure you've seen this a million times. Somebody comes in and they're going to need surgery on both knees, but they're doing it on the one that looks better to start off because that one hurts more.

Brad: As far as, X-rays?

Bob: Yeah, X-rays of both knees. They're both bad, but one really, really hurts and that's the one they're going to do surgery on and that one doesn't look as bad as the other one.

Brad: Right, so the X-rays and the pain level, they don't always match.

Bob: I bet you right now, we could do an X-ray of our hip Brad and I bet you they find stuff.

Brad: Oh yeah.

Bob: I know they would.

Brad: All right. I want to say that, I had two episodes and I worked with you on both of them. I had severe hip pain where I had to use crutches and I thought, well maybe I better go in and get this X-rayed. And I didn't and both times within three days, the hip pain got better and actually it went back to completely normal.

Bob: And it probably helps that Brad's a therapist, because he knew what you know, what to do as far as calming the pain down. And also, this by the way, is a part of a series of videos on hip pain. If you go to go to the program section look for the one on hip pain and we've got a whole series of videos and you can look through them, pick out the ones you want to watch, but they're going to tell you what to do to calm your hip down and possibly take the pain away.

Brad: Sometimes it's stretches, sometimes heat or ice or strengthening and, they're all about 10 minutes long.

Bob: Yeah, it might be poor daily habits. And hip inactivity too, if you're not moving your hip enough.

Brad: And another big one here, I don't know if we have on the list, Bob, oftentimes you can get pain in the hip here, and we find out it's from the back, a referral pain, which, you know even doctors can get that mixed up. It can be tricky. The human body with referral pain can be tough.

Bob: All right. The second lie, if you have arthritis it's going to just get progressively worse. That's not necessarily true. They've done studies and they've done scans of people a couple of years later, and sometimes it's not worse and sometimes it even gets slightly better.

Brad: Right and maybe if your activity level improves and the pain goes down, that's what we're looking for even if the X-rays didn't show it got better but you can move better and you're feeling better. You know, that's what we’re looking for, that's the bread and butter.

Bob: My wife doesn't like when I mentioned her, but she is an example here. I'm even going to tell her age, 56. When she was 54, her knee fired up and it got so bad she was on crutches. She thought she was going in for surgery. She couldn't even walk. I mean, and not even thinking about running.

Brad: She was using a cane or a crutch.

Bob: She was using two crutches first, then she went to one crutch.

Brad: Sure.

Bob: But we worked on it and she's back. She ran like three, four miles this morning.

Brad: Really?

Bob: Yup, she's been running, no pain. It's just awesome.

Brad: I suppose, running away from you.

Bob: Yeah, it's a motivation. Number three lie is” I wore out my hip because all my life I've been running or hiking or roofing.” I hear farmers say, “ I wore out my knees because of milking.”

Brad: Right, right.

Bob: And in that case, it might be actually true.

Brad: Well, especially on those concrete surfaces as well.

Bob: But actually it's not true as far as running or hiking because active people have better joints.

Brad: Right.

Bob: If you're using a joint, it's going to be actually healthier for you. You increase that synovial fluid, increase the blood flow to the area. It's the inactive people or sedentary people that start having the hip problems and arthritis that doesn't go away easily.

Brad: And there's always exceptions. But as a rule.

Bob: As a rule.

Brad: People who move more within reason, of course and not doing excessive, extreme things, the body likes it, it adapts to it, it's healthier, all the way around.

Bob: Number four. “I don't want to make it worse, so I'm going to rest it.” Now, that is okay to some extent, but people rest it too long or they like, we like the fact that if you can take some of the weight off the hip. It can actually maybe decrease the pain for a while and calm it down.

Brad: So a good example is, if you have hip pain when you walk or when you stand, your body's telling you, don't stand, don't walk so what you can do alternatively is swimming, which may not be a good alternative or not very practical for a lot of people. Also, a stationary bike maybe a nice non-weight bearing motion.

Bob: You're still moving the hip.

Brad: Yep.

Bob: You can even lie on your back and bring your knees up and rotate them back and forth. That even gets a little movement in your hip.

Brad: Right, and we do have a number of these videos where we show motions you can do without stressing the hip with weight bearing.

Bob: Number five lie. “My mom had arthritis so I'm pretty much destined to have it too.” And the fact is.

Brad: That's a possibility.

Bob: There's a possibility but.

Brad: When you do that, it kind of pre-programs you.

Bob: You think, I'm destined to have arthritis, no matter what I do. And the fact is almost everybody gets some arthritis at some point. Your lifestyle and exercise are more important than the heredity factor. So if you can go ahead and do the things that we're going to recommend in these upcoming videos, you can help knock the pain down or keep it down.

Brad: Exactly. I'm reading a book right now about a woman who teaches Pilates and other motions, and she focuses it around, works with people specifically with pain in their joints.

Bob: Oh, sure.

Brad: And the whole concept of keeping moving, doing the right motions that don't irritate it.

Bob: We're reading some of the same books Brad because I'm doing the same thing right now, two of them, it's always about motion.

-Brad: Right, keeping things moving with proper motion that doesn't irritate it, which isn't always easy to find for some people, but you have to look for it and that's why therapists are here and that's why she's there. That's why we have our videos that help you all to find those.

Bob: Yeah, because it can make a big difference in your life especially if you're having some chronic pain.

Brad: Yeah, exactly.

Bob: Number six, the final, big lie. “I'm going to need a hip replacement anyway so I might as well have it now. Now first off, it may not be true that you're going to need a hip replacement. And again, we talked about the arthritis possibly could stall out and not get worse. And if you do some of the exercises and stretches and the strengthening and proper habits, you may never need one.

Brad: Right. I do want to mention, you know, they may say, well I saw my orthopedic surgeon, and he says that hip needs a replacement. And that may be, however if you go to another orthopedic doctor, he might say, well I've seen a number of hips like this and had some therapy and they're able to get away without it. So a second opinion can also be very helpful.

Bob: And you know, if you have a hip replacement when you're two young, obviously they wear out.

Brad: Right, the replacement does.

Bob: And you could end up having to have another one, you know, in 15, 20 years and so you want to delay it as much as you can, if you can. And as long as you're healthy.

Brad: Because if you get one at 45 years old and say if it lasts 20 years, you're 65 and that's called a revision when they redo it. Any surgeon will tell you that it's much harder to do a revision because you’ve got the old hardware you have to remove. It’s a big challenge and they like to avoid that.

Bob: When you're 45, 65 seems like a long time away but it's not.

Brad: It c