Open Accessibility Menu

Back and Hip Pain

  • Posted On:
Back and Hip Pain

Could your low back pain really be a hip problem?

Low back pain is one of the most common orthopedic-related complaints today. As a matter of fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 25% of adults reported experiencing low back pain at some point in the last three months.

But sometimes, the source of your low back pain isn’t clear, and it may be hard for you to pinpoint where it’s starting. While many spine conditions cause back pain, some people with hip conditions have pain in their lower backs too.

“The tricky thing with hip pain is that it’s a nebulous term,” says Jason A. Davis, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Total Orthopedics Sports & Spine. “Many types of pain get put into the bucket of hip or low back pain. For example, you may have a spot of pain near the buttocks area, and it can originate from the lumbar spine or from the hip.”

Common hip conditions that cause pain

One of the most common causes of what people describe as “hip pain” is hip bursitis. This isn’t a true issue with the hip joint but rather the inflammation of small, fluid-filled sacs between the bones and tissues, called bursa. You may experience pain on the side of the hip, especially with lying on it, but bursitis rarely requires surgical care.

The number one cause of true hip pain is hip arthritis. This pain is usually felt deep in the groin area — from the front of the groin into the thigh or from the groin to the middle of the buttock. However, hip arthritis can also present as low back pain or even knee pain.

“Hip arthritis is more common in people over 50, and it causes varying types of pain, including back pain,” Dr. Davis says. “People have a gradual loss of motion and stiffness, and basic tasks like putting on socks and shoes or pulling weeds out of the garden become more difficult because of pain and loss of flexibility.”

When to get your pain checked

Many causes of low back pain or hip pain are temporary. As pain or stiffness happen, people can often resolve their symptoms with standard home remedies, including:

  • Rest and avoidance of activities that trigger pain
  • Ice or heat
  • Stretching
  • Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen or naproxen

If you’re experiencing low back or hip pain, you may try these at-home care steps for a couple of weeks. While pain may not be completely gone at two weeks, it should be improving. If your pain isn’t improving or it is worsening, that indicates you should visit a doctor.

“When you’ve tried things at home, but it’s been two, four, six weeks, and you are still hurting, that’s a good time to go and get checked,” Dr. Davis says.

Getting to the source of your low back or hip pain

Because understanding the true source of your low back or hip pain can be difficult, an orthopedic specialist can help get to the root of the problem. At your visit, your specialist can perform a detailed assessment to evaluate your pain.

“We’ll listen to your story, look for a pattern of where the pain originates and radiates, and understand the quality of pain,” Dr. Davis says. “From there, we’ll examine you, look at your legs and back, and obtain x-rays.”

If the spine appears healthy, it may signal that your back pain is stemming from the hip. Depending on your condition, your orthopedic specialist can then recommend the next steps for treatment, from non-surgical care to hip replacement surgery.

“Hip pathology can cause back pain, and it can be tricky teasing that out,” Dr. Davis says. “That’s part of what a specialist does. We’re here to help find the source of your pain and address it appropriately.”

Orthopedic Services near McKinney, Allen and Richardson

If back pain is keeping you from your usual activities, and over-the-counter medicines and home treatment isn’t resolving the issue, then the orthopedic specialists at Total Orthopedics Sports & Spine can help determine the issue and treatment plan. Our offices are conveniently located in McKinney, Allen and Richardson. Make an appointment, or contact us today at 972-727-9995!