What Causes Hip, Knee, And Back Pain?

What causes hip, knee, and back pain? JOI explains.A worker with back pain.

The quick answer is our bodies are connected by muscles, ligaments, nerves and bones acting as building blocks to our bodies. Ligament stability, muscle strength, joint mobility and the ability of the nerves to operate without irritation or blockage are vital to normal function. Due to the back, knee, and hip connection, back pain can be a result of numerous orthopedic problems.

Back Pain

The lower back area is made up of vertebral bodies, discs that act as "shock absorbers." At each vertebral level, spinal nerves exit from the spinal cord on either side. Specifically, in the lower back, they supply both lower extremities. Low back pain can cause problems that involve nerve irritation or compression can lead to hip and knee pain. Certain muscles of the low back also attach to the hip, and issues with these muscles can lead to back pain and hip pain together.  It also is not uncommon to have back pain with knee pain as well.  When your low back is hurting, you could change the way that you walk which could cause your knee and hip to start hurting.  Sometimes the knee injury occurs first.  Then due to an abnormal gait pattern, the hip or the low back will become painful. To learn more about how to stretch your lower back, please go to this article: STRETCH


Hip Pain

Weakness of the muscles in the hip can reduce pelvic area support and cause back pain. Increased internal rotation of the femur can lead to knee pain. Hip pain can also originate from a tightness of the iliotibial band due to an irritation of the bursa. Restrictions in the hip joint mobility can cause hip pain and affect the back and knee to do a change in mechanics. Tightness of hip flexors at the front of the hip can affect the position of the lower back and sacroiliac joints. It is common to have knee and hip pain together at the same time.  Your physician or therapist will help determine the cause and develop a treatment plan for both conditions.  Hip pain and dysfunction can certainly cause knee and low back pain.


Knee Pain 

Tightness of the iliotibial band can manifest as hip problems and cause pain to the outside of the knee. Tightness to the rectus femoris muscles, a muscle responsible for straightening the knee, can cause both hip and knee problems.  Some patients may have hip and knee pain together.  It is especially important to be evaluated by an orthopaedic specialist, so that the origin of the pain can be identified. Knee pain and dysfunction can certainly cause hip and low back pain.  To further understand the knee, view this video.

A Physical Therapy evaluation is essential for your therapist to assess how all these factors interrelate and address the problem effectively.  The low back, hip and knee can cause pain and it is important to find the cause so that all areas can be treated.  If you want to make an appointment, call JOI -2000

If you want to learn more about hip pain, go to: https://www.joionline.net/trending/content/hip-pain

JOI and JOI Rehab are now offering Telehealth Appointments and ASAP Fracture and Injury Appointments. 

By: Ehren Allen, PT, Certified Manual Therapist


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