Is My Pain from the Hip or the Back?
By Robert Lim, PTA, Site Coordinator Westside Rehab
If you ever lived with low back pain and hip pain, do you ask yourself this question; Is my pain from the hip or the back? You might find yourself sitting in a car, a plane, or at a sporting event for a long period of time, and then suddenly, the onset of pain in your back, as well as in your hip, may come about. Or maybe working in the yard pulling weeds, mowing the lawn, edging, and blowing may cause pain from the hip or the back. These are just a few examples of how patients have injured their hip or back.
Since the hips and back are located very closely together, it is extremely easy to mistake back pain for hip pain. Either way, the biggest common dominator of hip or back pain is aging and overuse. To help cure the pain, individuals might seek a doctor’s assistance or reach out and seek physical therapy to help cure the pain. To answer the question, we will breakdown the possibilities bit by bit.
A Sign(s) that Your Pain is from the Hip
The most common signs of hip pain are pain on the outside part of the hip near the ball and in the groin area. Since the hip joint’s basic anatomy is behind the groin, groin pain usually indicates pain is coming from the hip. Most individuals might point to the front of their hip or the inside part of the thighs near the groin as the area of pain. Another sign that pain is from the hip is that comes over the hip joint itself. Most patients with pain in this area usually point with a finger that the pain is directly over the hip joint.
A hip labrum tear is more common in athletes but can happen to anyone. Those with hip labrum tears often complain of pain in the groin pain or in the “jeans pocket” region. Hip labrum tears are usually diagnosed with a history and physical exam. If a labral tear is suspected, then an MRI is usually ordered. Watch this VIDEO about hip labrum tears.
As we age in life, especially in older individuals, the word osteoarthritis will become your enemy. People that have osteoarthritis report pain in their buttocks and the front of the legs. Individuals that present with just hip pain usually have difficulty with walking short and long periods, difficulty with performing tasks such as walking up and down steps, getting in and out of the car, to having difficulty don and doffing their socks and shoes.
A Sign(s) that Your Pain is from the Back
Common signs that most people present with pain in the back are usually pain near the waist, pain in the middle or to the side of the low back, or pain, numbness, and tingling that shoots down the back of the leg. The most common diagnosis of pain in the back is degenerative disc disease. Other diagnoses of back pain are herniated discs, spinal stenosis, and spondylolisthesis. These conditions cause pain by irritating your back nerves, resulting in pain that shoots down your legs, weakness, and numbness causing difficulty in moving your leg.
Most pain from the back can vary, usually depending on the severity of changes in the back’s anatomy. For example, people with arthritis have difficulty performing bed or table transfers but get better throughout the day. Individuals who present with symptoms that shoot down the leg have increased pain in the back or legs, especially after standing or walking a long time. If you want to learn more about Back Pain, please watch this VIDEO.
How to Properly Tell if my Pain is Coming from the Hip or Back?
The quick answer, to properly tell if your pain is coming from the hip or back; you probably will seek help from a doctor—usually, your doctor with order some imaging. Imaging will either be an x-ray or MRI. X-rays will usually point out any degenerative changes in the joints or actually in the back’s bones. MRI will usually go further and point out any never damage in the back.
Where do I Find Treatment for Hip or Back Pain?
The most common treatment for pain, either in the hip or back, will be anti-inflammatories via the use of ice or the use of oral meds or sometimes shots in the area. Sometimes your doctor might prescribe a bout of physical therapy to improve mobility, flexibility, strength, and stabilization of the back and hips. JOI has 12 Rehab centers in NE, Florida. To find one near you, click HERE.
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