Treatment for lower back and hip pain from arthritis typically begins with medications and physical therapy. When conservative treatments aren’t enough, surgery and certain complementary therapies may help.

If you have arthritis in your lower back or hips, you know that it can cause severe, radiating pain. It can be difficult to move comfortably and perform daily activities with this condition. Fortunately, different treatment options are available to help manage the pain and improve your quality of life.

Keep reading to learn about different treatment strategies, what you can do at home, and when to speak with a doctor.

One of the first lines of defense against arthritis pain in the lower back and hips is over-the-counter (OTC) medication.

Options include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve). NSAIDs can help reduce inflammation and relieve pain associated with arthritis. You can take these drugs by mouth or choose a topical (cream) option.

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is another option that can help alleviate pain, but it doesn’t reduce inflammation as NSAIDs do.

If OTC medications don’t provide sufficient relief, a doctor can prescribe stronger medications to help manage your arthritis pain. These may include:

Sometimes, doctors can prescribe opioids for severe arthritis pain. However, current research doesn’t support the effectiveness of these medications for lower back arthritis. Opioid medications are also highly addictive and have dangerous side effects.

Physical therapy is an essential component of arthritis treatment.

A physical therapist can design a personalized exercise program to:

  • improve your flexibility
  • strengthen muscles
  • enhance mobility

These exercises may include stretching, strength training, and aerobic exercises tailored to your specific needs and abilities. Regular physical therapy sessions can help reduce pain and stiffness while improving overall function.

What exercises are good for lower back arthritis?

Exercises that strengthen the core muscles and improve flexibility are particularly beneficial for people with lower back and hip arthritis. Some effective exercises include:

  • short walks
  • back stretches
  • pelvic tilts
  • bridges
  • hip and hamstring stretches

Read more about exercises for arthritis back pain.

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Occasionally, conservative treatment isn’t enough to sufficiently relieve arthritis pain. In this case, a doctor may recommend surgery.

Surgical options for arthritis in the lower back and hips may include:

  • spinal fusion, which binds together vertebrae in your spine to stabilize them
  • spinal decompression, which aims to relieve pressure on nerves traveling through and near the spine
  • hip replacement, which replaces either part or all of your hip with a synthetic joint

These procedures can have long-term effects in relieving pain, improving mobility, and restoring function by repairing or replacing damaged joint tissue.

Read more about the types of back surgery.

In addition to conventional treatments, some people find relief from arthritis pain through complementary and alternative therapies, like acupuncture and massage therapy. These strategies can provide short-term arthritis relief to many people, but more research is needed to evaluate their long-term benefits.

Some people take supplements or herbs for arthritis pain relief, but there’s little scientific evidence to support their use.

Read more about natural remedies for arthritis pain.

Several home remedies may help relieve arthritis pain in the lower back and hips. These include:

Read more about home remedies for osteoarthritis.

Making certain lifestyle modifications can also contribute to better management of your arthritis. Try the following:

Certain activities or habits may worsen arthritis symptoms in the lower back and hips. These include:

  • sitting or standing for prolonged periods
  • lifting heavy objects improperly
  • engaging in high intensity activities that put strain on your joints

It’s important to listen to your body and avoid activities that cause pain or discomfort.

In addition, try to avoid foods that can worsen inflammation, like processed foods and foods high in sugar or salt.

Be sure to speak with an arthritis specialist if you experience persistent or worsening pain despite trying various treatments for your arthritis.

Additionally, seek prompt medical attention if you experience:

  • sudden onset of severe pain
  • difficulty walking or performing daily activities
  • signs of infection such as redness, swelling, or fever

Arthritis in the lower back and hips can present significant challenges to daily living. Several treatment options can help relieve pain and improve your quality of life. From medications and home remedies to physical therapy and surgery, finding the right combination of treatments tailored to your specific needs is key to managing this condition.