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Is Your Back Pain Actually Hip Pain?

By Sara Butler

It’s not uncommon for someone to see a chiropractor for back pain only to find out that the pain is actually coming from their hip! There’s quite a bit of overlap between your lower back and your hip; the pain experienced by people in these areas is a side effect of normal wear and tear on the body as you age. So, how do you know if your back pain is from your back or your hip? Here’s what you need to know!

When The Spine is to Blame

When people experience pain in their lower back it is usually the result of a disc problem. If a disc is bulging or herniated, it can press on the nerves exiting the spine and cause issues such as pain down the leg, called sciatica. Sciatica can be felt in the hip as well, but these symptoms are almost always indicative of a problem with the back and not the hip:

  • Pain is in your back, hip or buttock
  • Pain shoots down one leg
  • Pain made worse by bending or sitting
  • Pain better when walking or standing

If your pain is not relieved by lying down at night, you have night sweats or a history of cancer then you need to seek medical help immediately because it could be a more serious issue.

When the Hip is the Problem

Most of the time when the problem is caused by the hip it will be accompanied by groin pain on the side that is giving you problems. The actual hip joint is near the spine at the midline, which is why groin pain is so common. Usually, the pain felt below the belt line is a problem with the hip, the common issue being osteoarthritis of the hip. This type of arthritis often produces these symptoms:

  • Walking with a limp
  • Feelings of stiffness
  • Pain made worse when walking or standing
  • Pain made better with rest
  • Pain that comes and goes but gets worse with time
  • Pain in the groin

When you see your chiropractor and explain your symptoms, they will search for the root cause of your pain and will likely be able to determine if it’s your hip or back that is the actual problem. This highlights the fact that sometimes even if your symptoms feel they are coming from one place on your body it may actually be an entirely different place causing the problem, which is why evaluation and treatment from a medical professional such as your chiropractor is so important.

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