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A Weighty Problem
Rest, ice, compression, and elevation can help relieve your hip pain.
You may have been born with two left feet, but when your hip pain acts up, you can relieve the ache the same way dancers do. When members of the Washington Ballet have hip pain, they use a home remedy called the RICE method — this stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation — to relieve the pain and get back to their art form.
Amy Humphrey, DPT, a physical therapist and spokesperson for the American Physical Therapy Association, works with the Washington Ballet and advises dancers to use home remedies such as RICE when hip pain sidelines them.
Anyone can use the RICE method, whether your goal is to slip on a pair of pointe shoes or a pair of sneakers for a daily walk. Here’s what to do.
Rest. The first thing Humphrey tells her patients is to rest, which means avoiding the activities that cause the pain. “It might mean runners stop running for a week and then start back up at a reduced pace and see how it goes,” Humphrey says. She recommends resting for at least 24 to 48 hours.
Applying an ice pack to the area where you’re feeling the pain can reduce inflammation and make your hip feel better. If hip pain is very intense, Humphrey recommends using ice four or five times a day for 10 to 15 minutes at a time. An ice pack can be anything from a plastic baggie filled with ice to a bag of frozen vegetables (peas are great). Wrap a towel around the ice pack to avoid irritating your skin.
Compression. Humphrey uses compression by wrapping a thick Ace bandage around the pelvis and hip.