hip and back pain

Good News: It’s Not Your Hip, It’s Your Back

Close to eighty percent of the population develops debilitating back or hip pain at some point in their life. This issue is the second most common reason for missed work behind the common cold.

When a flare-up of symptoms occurs in our lower back or hips, usually a combination of rest, activity modification, anti-inflammatories, and exercises calms the pain down. But if the pain continues, consulting with an orthopedist is key to determining the correct diagnosis and treatment.

Back pain can easily be mistaken for hip pain, making it difficult to pinpoint the source of your pain. To better help you determine the source of your discomfort, Dr. Nathan Turnbull reviews how to differentiate between hip pain and back pain.

How to Know If It’s Your Hip Causing Pain

In general, people suffering from hip pain have symptoms that appear in the front of the hip and the groin area. Sometimes the pain will radiate into the front of the thigh but very rarely goes past the knee.

After sitting for some time, patients suffering from a hip problems find it difficult to walk when they first get up. The pain is worse initially, but after a couple of limping steps, the hip lubrication kicks in, and the pain subsides.

The common culprit is osteoarthritis in the hip joint. In addition to the groin pain, you’ll often experience:

  • Pain when walking, pivoting, and doing other physical activities.
  • Relief when sitting, although you may have stiffness.
  • Relief with rest
  • Limping
  • Pain that comes and goes but gets worse with time
  • Pain in the groin

How to Know If It’s Your Back Causing Pain

Most back problems that lead to confusion with the hip are from herniated disks that press on nerves in the spinal column. This produces referred pain or “sciatica” which can be felt in the hip region.

Suspect the back if pain:

  • Is limited to your back, buttocks, or lateral hip.
  • Shoots down your leg below the knee, with numbness, tingling, or weakness.
  • Becomes worse when you sit or bend.
  • Improves when you stand or walk.

When to See an Orthopaedic Specialist

If your pain worsens or is accompanied by irregular symptoms, schedule a visit with a specialist. Together, you and your provider can discuss the best form of treatment for your pain and condition. To consult with our team of providers, request an appointment through our online form or call the office to schedule an appointment today.