Osteopathy Case Study 1 – Hip Arthritis

Margaret is a 65-year old retired book-keeper who has come in at the insistence
of her neighbour who is worried about her increasing difficulty with walking. She
clearly struggles getting out of the chair in the waiting room and finds the stairs
problematic. She reports pain in the left buttock and groin which sometimes
radiates into the front of her thigh and her left knee. She can’t remember when
the symptoms started but has noticed they have been getting worse over the
last 6 months. She has now given up her dancing class and on bad days finds
walking her dog difficult.

The osteopath takes a full case history including all details of her general health
before deciding to examine her.

On observing Margaret standing, it can be seen that she stoops slightly but her
back movements are fine and pain-free. When she is lying on her back the
osteopath starts to examine her hip joints and observes that her left hip is
significantly stiffer and that some movements are painful. After some further
examinations it becomes clear that Margaret’s pain is coming from her left hip
joint and that it is probably due to osteo-arthritis.

The osteopath explains her findings and suggests that Margaret should see her
GP and discuss whether she needs an x-ray to confirm the diagnosis. She says
that, at present, the hip isn’t too bad and is unlikely to need replacement for a
while. In the meantime, osteopathic treatment may well help with the symptoms
and some simple exercises will strengthen the muscles. She also encourages
Margaret to stay active, if necessary taking some paracetamol daily.
Margaret agrees to this plan, receives some treatment on her first visit and
agrees to return in a couple of weeks.

On returning, she reports a better couple of weeks. She still feels stiff in the
mornings but does her exercises first thing and this helps her get moving. She is
sleeping better and feels more positive. She has managed to walk her dog daily
and has started to go swimming.

It is decided that she will come back at monthly intervals for a session of
treatment and the osteopath will monitor her symptoms. At six months she is
still coping well and is remaining active and independent but an x-ray has
confirmed hip arthritis and her GP has agreed to refer her to a surgeon should
she start to struggle again.