Common Causes Of Lower Back And Hip Pain
Several risk factors come into play when it comes to low back pain. Some risks include obesity, occupational posture, depressive moods, body height, and age.
Constant lower back and hip pain could indicate a problem with the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back down to the back of each leg. When the nerve is under pressure, it causes pain from the lower back spreading to the hips and buttocks. However, there are other causes of lower back and hip pain, which include:
Sprains and strains
This is the most common cause of lower back and hip pains. In medical terms, having a sprain means having a torn or overstretched ligament, while a strain means having a torn or overstretched muscle or tendon.
When you have a sprain or strain, you experience discomfort when performing some activity and only subsides when you rest.
There are many causes of sprains and strains, such as lifting heavy objects, sports injuries, twisting the body in awkward positions, or trauma from falling.
Tight hip flexors
Hip flexors are tendons or muscles that start from the hips up to the knees. The hip flexor works to coordinate motion in the hips and legs. If they get tight and stiff, especially if you remain seated for extended periods, it is common to experience some form of lower back and hip pain.
The Varieties Of Lower Back And Hip Pain
Many of my clients experience lower back and hip pain simultaneously. But all too frequently they receive inadequate guidance from their physicians about possible causes and about how to relieve it in a lasting way.
When X-rays and MRIs come back negative, a physician without adequate training in the musculoskeletal system may not know what to prescribe other than physical therapy exercises.
The problem with this strategy is that PT can aggravate certain conditions. I’ll go into this in more detail with each of the conditions listed below.
The most frequent regions of pain I hear reports about include
Often lower back and hip pain can present as a kind of moving target. Sometimes the pain is centered squarely on the outside of the hip joint near the hip bone.
Other times the pain can wrap around to the gluteal muscles. At times an individual might experience pain in more than one area.
The reason for this medley of possibilities is that muscular compensation is often at the heart of lower back and hip pain.
Further, muscular compensation is a continual process in which muscles are constantly adjusting, trying to figure out how to make do with the circumstances they’re presented with such as postural distortion.
Causes Of Hip Pain In Women
When a female patient comes to Dr. Siegrist complaining of hip pain, she considers the patient’s age, build, and activity level. If the patient is a thin 20-year-old runner or a heavy, sedentary 80-year-old grandmother, the possibilities at the top of my list will be different, she says.
Among the most common causes of hip pain in women are:
1. Arthritis Chronic hip pain in women is often due to arthritis, particularly osteoarthritis, the wear-and-tear kind that affects many people as they age. The ball-and-socket joint starts to wear out, Siegrist says. Arthritis pain is often felt in the front of your thigh or in the groin, because of stiffness or swelling in the joint.
2. Hip fractures Hip fractures are common in older women, especially those with osteoporosis . Symptoms of a hip fracture include pain when you straighten, lift, or stand on your leg. Also, the toes on your injured side will appear to turn out, a sign that can aid your doctors preliminary diagnosis.
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What Causes Lower Back And Hip Pain
When pain in the lower back occurs alongside hip pain, there may be a common cause. Certain health conditions or injuries can affect the nerves in both of these areas.
These pains usually occur as a result of overuse or injury, but they can also be a symptom of an underlying medical condition. People may notice the pain on the left or right side of the body or both.
In this article, we look at possible causes of lower back and hip pain. We also discuss the various treatment options and how to relieve pain.
It is easy to overwork the lower back and hips because they are responsible for lifting, twisting, and moving the legs and trunk. Pains due to overuse and minor injury are common in these areas of the body.
Although these pains are common, people should not ignore them. Rest and early treatment can significantly improve a persons outlook.
The causes are similar in males and females. The following are some of the most common causes of lower back and hip pain.
Sprains and strains
Sprains and strains are a common cause of pain around the back and hips. A sprain is a torn or overstretched ligament, while a strain is a torn or overstretched tendon or muscle.
People with sprains and strains are likely to experience discomfort that worsens with activity and gets better with rest.
Common causes of sprains and strains in this area include:
- sports injuries
- twisting the body in an awkward way
- lifting something heavy
Tight hip flexors
When To See A Doctor
There is not always an obvious cause of lower back pain, and it often gets better on its own. Resting, trying hot or cold therapy, taking OTC pain relievers, and gently stretching may help speed up recovery.
However, a person should see a doctor for lower back pain that is severe, does not seem to be getting better, or occurs alongside other concerning symptoms, such as tingling or numbness down the legs.
People with lower back pain should seek immediate medical attention if they also have any of the following symptoms:
- difficulty walking or moving the legs
- loss of bowel or bladder function
- loss of sensation in the legs
- very severe pain
A doctor can help a person identify potential causes of lower back pain and recommend appropriate treatment.
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But I Had Hip Surgery Why Does My Knee Hurt
Your core muscles affect the alignment of your entire lower body. If the psoas and iliacus muscles are tight, they will tug on the entire interconnected line from your back, through your legs, and down to your toes. But you can often trace the source back to tension in those core muscles, even though youre feeling it in your toe.
What Does It Mean If Lower Back Pain Is Shooting Into Legs
Lower back pain can radiate to other parts of the body: up or down from its place of origin. Sometimes lower back pain can be on one side of the back, which is also normal.
If the pain is shooting from the lower back into one or both legs, it could be sciatica , but its not always the case. There are many parts in the lower back that may cause the pain to radiate into the legs, such as facet joints, sacroiliac joints, muscles or inflammation of the bursa.
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Talk To Your Doctor About Radiofrequency Ablation
Radiofrequency ablation is another procedure that has helped some patients. It disrupts the nerves from sending painful signals. This is done with the use of heat to impair or destroy the nerves that are causing pain.
Again, radiofrequency ablation is minimally-invasive. Its a safe procedure for many who are suffering from hip pain. Since pain relief isnt permanent, its best done in combination with physical therapy to resolve the underlying cause of your pain. You can watch a radiofrequency ablation procedure in the following video.
Muscle Relaxation For Lower Back And Hip Pain
Taking time to relax is imperative to muscle health. Many of us often only find time to relax at night as we are falling asleep, but if our muscles are engaged throughout the entire day and only have one instance of relaxation, its not going to be enough to prevent tension from building.
One of the best ways to relax your iliopsoas is to elevate your legs on a couch or ottoman while laying on the floor. This is a traditional restorative yoga practice and can be done for 15-20 minutes at a time.
Consult your doctor about this exerciseif youve just had hip surgery, as having your hip at a 90-degree angle is not advised for about 6 months.
Another very accessible way to achieve muscle relaxation is to get a professional therapeutic massage. Deep tissue massages can be great for relieving muscle tightness, but they tend to be more invasive and too intense immediately post-surgery. Opt for a soothing Swedish instead!
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What Are The Risk Factors For Developing Low Back Pain
Anyone can have back pain. Factors that can increase the risk for low back pain include:
Age: The first attack of low back pain typically occurs between the ages of 30 and 50, and back pain becomes more common with advancing age. Loss of bone strength from osteoporosis can lead to fractures, and at the same time, muscle elasticity and tone decrease. The intervertebral discs begin to lose fluid and flexibility with age, which decreases their ability to cushion the vertebrae. The risk of spinal stenosis also increases with age.
Fitness level: Back pain is more common among people who are not physically fit. Weak back and abdominal muscles may not properly support the spine. Weekend warriorspeople who go out and exercise a lot after being inactive all weekare more likely to suffer painful back injuries than people who make moderate physical activity a daily habit. Studies show that low-impact aerobic exercise can help maintain the integrity of intervertebral discs.
Weight gain: Being overweight, obese, or quickly gaining significant amounts of weight can put stress on the back and lead to low back pain.
Genetics: Some causes of back pain, such as ankylosing spondylitis , have a genetic component.
Smoking: It can restrict blood flow and oxygen to the discs, causing them to degenerate faster.
Backpack overload in children: A backpack overloaded with schoolbooks and supplies can strain the back and cause muscle fatigue.
So What Are The Highlights
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What Can I Expect For My Recovery Time
Because your muscles and joints need to adjust with your changes incrementally, healing and rebuilding is a slow process. It takes time for the weaker areas of your body to respond and support you.
Any treatment plan worth doing will require time, especially in circumstances where injuries have occurred. Many have proven to help provide real relief within the first week of practice.
The best approach is with structured and targeted movements. Not gym workouts but simple and quick movements and stretches. Theyll protect your back, leg and hip mobility.
What Is The Outlook For People With Lower Back Pain
The outlook depends on the cause of pain. Most people with back strains and sprains recover and do not have long-term health issues. But many people will have another episode within a year.
Some people have chronic back pain that doesnt get better after several weeks. Older people with degenerative conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis may have symptoms that get worse over time. Surgery and other treatments are effective at helping people with a range of injuries and conditions live pain-free.
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Learn More About Hip Injections
Hip injections may be performed to both diagnose and treat hip pain. They involve injecting a local anesthetic combined with a steroid or corticosteroid directly into the outer regions of the spinal cord. This is where nerves lead to the hip, or in the hip joint itself. This procedure can:
- Help diagnose what specific nerve is leading to your pain
- Focus further treatments
- Inhibit pain signals of hip nerves
- Drain fluid in the hip
Hip injections provide a minimally-invasive and safe treatment option for more moderate to severe cases of hip pain.
Complementary Alternative Emerging Treatments
In some cases, doctors suggest therapies that are not considered current standard of care. They probably wont be covered by insurance, but they may be worth considering. Examples include:
. PRP treatments use a small sample of your own blood that has concentrated amounts of blood building blocks known as platelets. Your doctor then injects the PRP directly into a damaged disc. The theory is that PRP injections use your own healing system to accelerate improvement of injured tendons, ligaments, muscles, and joints.
PRP treatment has a longer track record in knee osteoarthritis, but a recent review article in the Journal of Spine Surgery suggests it may have a useful role for back pain, too. PRP needs a lot more research before it can be considered a proven technique.
In this emerging treatment, your doctor injects stem cells harvested from your hip into the intervertebral disc or discs causing your pain. Doing so may lessen pain and the degenerative effects of aging, though, like PRP, more research is needed before stem cells for lower back pain could eventually become the standard of care.
. Your doctor probably doesnt perform acupuncture , but may support you trying it as a complementary therapy. Acupuncture involves careful insertion of fine, sterile needles into specific points on your body. This may stimulate the release of your natural pain-killing chemicals.
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When Should I See My Healthcare Provider About Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain usually gets better with rest and pain relievers. Back pain that doesnt go away may be a sign of a more serious condition.
See your provider if you have:
- Pain that doesnt get better after about a week of at-home care.
- Tingling, numbness, weakness or pain in your buttocks or legs.
- Severe pain or muscle spasms that interfere with your normal activities.
- Fever, weight loss, bowel or bladder problems or other unexplained symptoms.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Millions of people live with low back pain. Stiffness, pain and limited movement can have a major impact on quality of life. But you may be able to avoid lower back pain by maintaining a healthy weight and staying active. Talk to your provider if back pain doesnt go away or if youre unable to do the activities you enjoy. Several treatments can relieve pain, help you move better and get more out of life.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/18/2021.
How Common Is Low Back Pain In America
Low back pain is the second most common cause of disability. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is also the leading type of pain patients report. Almost 65 million American adults reported experiencing back pain recently, with 16 million suffering from chronic back pain.²
Low back pain is more common in adults than children and adolescents, but the figure is rising as young people spend more time on their screens.³
Lower back pain is common in people aged 18 or older and peaks at 80 to 89.
Lower back pain is more common among females than men. Females had a lower back prevalence of 8.01% in 2017, whereas males had 6.94% in the same year.
Fortunately, 95% of individuals affected by low back pain in America recover within a few months.
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Low Back Pain Diagnosis
Getting diagnosed with a specific cause of low back pain is the first step to getting treatment. If you land in your doctors office hoping for back pain relief, theyll use a variety of diagnostic tools and methods, such as:
A thorough medical history including any recent injuries, other diagnoses, family history of disease, and your job, activities and other lifestyle considerations
Physical exams, which may include manipulating the painful area or reflex or other neurological tests
Electromyography, which measures muscle and nerve function
ImagingX-rays can show bone spurs and damage to bone, while CT scans and MRIs can depict damage to soft tissue like discs or ligaments
Ways To Relieve Your Hip Pain At Night
Up to 90% of people with chronic joint pain dont sleep well. And that could be influencing your pain and mobility the next day. If you suffer from hip pain at night, it could be affecting your chances of recovering completely from the injury or condition that caused your pain. In this post well talk about 17 tried-and-true methods for relieving your pain. After, well discuss some of the more common causes of hip pain in more detail.
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