Could Your Lower Back Pain Actually Be Hip Pain?

Your lower back pain may not be coming from your back, but your hips. Hip pain often mimics spinal issues such as degenerative disc disease. Or you could have a combination of both hip and back problems. Here is more information about how hip problems affect the lower back and how you can tell the difference between them.

How Are Hip and Lower Back Pain Similar?

For many people, both conditions affect the lower back area and the pain often radiates down to the legs. You may feel stiffness and loss of flexibility in this area. The pain factor in both hip and lower back pain ranges from light muscle stiffness to painful. In both cases, the pain may come and go until the condition worsens.

How Are Hip and Lower Back Pain Different?

One of the major differences between lower back and hip pain is what you are doing when the pain starts. With hip pain, you generally feel OK when you are sitting or laying down, but experience pain when you stand up and walk around. With lower back issues, you're more likely to experience pain while sitting, but feel much better when you are up moving around. Hip pain tends to concentrate around the hip joint or groin area. Back pain can be more generalized depending on the cause. Sometimes, it's localized to the lower back, other times it might cause pain to radiate down the legs, such as with sciatica. Pinched nerves in the back may also cause numbness in the legs.

What are Common Reasons for Lower Back and Hip Pain?

Most people experience some type of lower back pain in their lives due to normal aging of the spinal discs. However, spinal arthritis and nerve disorders are also not uncommon causes. Hip arthritis and joint degeneration are common causes of hip pain. In both cases, overuse and injury can lead to back and hip problems.

How Can Lower Back and Hip Problems Be Prevented?

If your lower back and hip pain is caused by overuse, then exercising safely and resting when needed can reduce problems. Arthritis, if caught early, can be treated with medications and physical therapy. In severe cases, surgery is necessary. Practicing healthy habits like weight management and not smoking goes a long way in reducing lower back and hip pain problems.

A combination of both a hip problem and a back problem is common with arthritis and sports injuries. In either case, if you are experiencing pain and stiffness in the lower back that's interfering with your life, see a hip or spine doctor right away. Some back and hip conditions could get worse over time without intervention.