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Back upper hip pain: 6 Causes of Lower Back and Hip Pain

6 Causes of Lower Back and Hip Pain

Published by AtlanticSpine.Breezy
January 16, 2022

Category: Back Injuries

Your lower back and hip are co-dependent on each other. They share many muscle groups, so it’s no wonder that disruption or pain in one tends to cause problems in the other. If you suffer from lower back pain or hip pain, you risk experiencing abnormalities in muscle function or movement.

Let’s take a look at 6 causes of lower back and hip pain:

Sharp Pain in the Lower Back and One Side of the Hip

It’s common to experience a sharp, shooting pain on one side of your lower back and hip. This pain can be caused by muscle spasms, joint dysfunction, or nerve compression. Conditions that can cause this are:

 Piriformis Syndrome

Piriformis syndrome causes a spasm of the piriformis muscle in the buttocks. It can cause moderate to severe pain in the lower back, hip, buttocks, and extend to the back of the thigh. This condition can make it hard to sit at times. You’ll find this pain typically on one side and movement of the hip can worsen it. Even getting out of bed can prove to be problematic. 

This condition is caused by the overactivity of the hip rotator muscles or sitting on hard surfaces for long periods. 

 Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

Sacroiliac joint dysfunction is brought on by inflammation with the joint that connects your lower spine to your pelvis. This condition will cause you to feel a sharp, stabbing pain over the lower part of your back, hip and buttocks. That pain could extend down the back of your thigh. Constant movement, like standing, sitting, or climbing stairs, may cause the pain to worsen. 

The sacroiliac joint can become common in pregnant women or with someone who suffers from arthritis, trauma, or constant stress within the joint. Pain can affect both sides of the lower back and hip, but most often it’s only problematic on one side.


Chronic Lower Back Pain

Pain that lasts for more than a few months is considered chronic. Chronic pain in the lower back usually involves a disc problem, a joint problem, or an irritated nerve root. Some common causes for this type of pain are:

Lumbar Herniated Disc

Our lumbar spine is made up of about 17 bones stacked on top of one another, that consist of the vertebrae. A disk lies between each set of vertebrae to absorb pressure placed on the bones. Each disk is made up of an outer ring and an inner gel. When the inner gel of one of the disks in your lumbar spine slips or squishes beyond the outer ring, the inner gel presses on surrounding nerves. This causes pain known as a herniated disk. As for the slippage, that can be due to trauma or gradual, age-related wear and tear.

Spinal Stenosis

Lumbar spinal stenosis occurs when the spinal canal in your lower back narrows and places pressure on nearby nerve roots. This condition is associated with degenerative changes that occur as a result of aging, being more common in individuals over 60 years old. Initially, symptoms include pain or cramping in the legs. Over time it can become more constant or severe. Additional symptoms such as numbness and weakness may occur.


The spine area is naturally curved. The upper back curves backward; the lower back curves forward. A side view will show this perfect curvature of the bone structure. If your spine curves sideways when viewed from behind, that’s not perfect. It’s called scoliosis, and it’s a deformity that can lead to back pain.

Although the majority of scoliosis cases don’t require treatment, severe curvature can place significant stress on the lower back and lead to more pain.


Spondylolisthesis, often caused by Spondylolysis, occurs when one vertebra slips forward over the one below it. This condition typically causes pain in the low back and leg due to the disks irritating the nerves closest to them.


How We Can Help

Back pain is one of the most common reasons for doctor and emergency room visits in the U. S. It’s a leading cause of lost workdays and long-term disability. Not seeking medical attention and allowing the pain to persist will only cause the condition to worsen. 

Atlantic Spine Specialists are board-certified and specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of back pain. We are dedicated to relieving and restoring function to help our patients have the best quality of life. No matter what the cause of your pain, receiving an extensive spinal examination and accurate diagnosis are the first steps to resolving the issue. At Atlantic Spine Specialists our doctors will prescribe the best treatment plan for you.  

To learn more about diagnosis and treatment, request a consultation at Atlantic Spine Specialists in Morristown, New Jersey. Or call us at (973) 971-3500 to schedule your appointment.


How to Treat Your Lower Back and Hip Pain

If you feel like your low back and hip started aching at the same time, it’s likely not your imagination. The back and hips are often partners in pain. According to the 2019 National Health Interview Survey, some 39% of U.S. adults reported having lower back pain over the last few months, while 36.5% had pain in their hips and lower limbs. 

The hips and spine are connected by muscles, ligaments, and nerves, which create common pathways to pain. Lower back and hip pain may range from a dull soreness to tingling, radiating pain. It often stops you from doing the daily activities you need to thrive. However, back and hip pain usually is not serious and can be treated and prevented with conservative and holistic practices. 

Here are some common causes of back and hip pain, signs to seek medical care, and lifestyle changes to help treat pain and keep it from returning, including simple at-home exercises recommended by our physical therapists.  

What Causes Lower Back and Hip Pain?

Pain in these areas may involve an injury to the soft tissues or an underlying issue with the bones or joints. Sometimes, though, there is no obvious reason for your pain, especially if it persists for more than three months. In this case, it’s much less important to focus on the why of what’s causing your pain. Rather, it’s better to think about how to get relief. Regular gentle movement is often the best thing you can do for chronic back and hip pain.

Even if your doctor finds a structural cause, the majority of people heal without surgery, using at-home remedies such as activity modifications, ice/heat therapy, physical therapy exercises, and over-the-counter medications. 

Here are some of the most common reasons you may experience pain in your lower back and hips.

Muscle strain. The back and hips share a mission: to be a strong anchor for your legs. “If your back and hips are not strong and stable as your leg moves, then they are going to move, too, and that can lead to overuse issues,” says Lori Walter, PT, DPT, a physical therapist at Hinge Health. There are countless ways you might strain your back or hips, from lifting a heavy load to a traumatic fall or injury to sitting for hours at a time. Weak core muscles may also lead to strain, as your back muscles will engage to compensate for underperforming ones. Muscle strain often heals on its own in a few days. 

Pinched nerve. When muscle, bone, or tissue presses down and compresses a nerve, the result is pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness. A pinched nerve in the lower back can cause these symptoms in the back, hips, buttocks, and lower legs. There are many reasons a nerve may become pinched, including arthritis, a herniated disc, a sports injury, repetitive motion, pregnancy, or excess weight. Pinched nerves often heal over four to six weeks with rest, ice/heat therapy, and over-the-counter medications. 

Arthritis. The cartilage that facilitates smooth motion of the small joints in the back of the spine can become worn over time. This can lead to osteoarthritis in the facet joints that support motion of the vertebrae. They may rub together, causing pain and stiffness. Similarly, osteoarthritis of the hip occurs when the cartilage that cushions the hip joint wears away. This can lead to pain, stiffness, and limited range of motion in the hip.

Herniated disc. This is another problem that can be caused by common changes in the spine. As the discs compress, the jelly-like center can push out, causing the disc to press into sensitive spinal nerves. You may feel a sharp or burning pain, along with numbness, tingling, and weakness. Depending on which lumbar nerves are irritated, the pain may radiate through your hip into the front thigh or all the way down to your toes. The majority of herniated discs heal over several weeks without surgery, with physical therapy and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs like ibuprofen) as first-line remedies. 

Sacroiliac joint pain. The sacroiliac (SI) joint connects the lower back to the pelvis. The joint can become inflamed due to arthritis or injury, leading to sharp, stabbing or dull, aching pain in the back, hip, and buttocks. Sacroiliac joint pain may be involved in 10-25% of lower back pain cases.  

Pelvic floor muscle imbalance. The pelvic floor muscles line the bottom of the pelvis and connect to the back through the tailbone. If the pelvic floor muscles become tight or tense, this can lead to pain (often a dull ache). Pelvic floor pain is frequently mistaken for back pain, says Dr. Walter. As pelvic floor muscles struggle to support the internal organs of the pelvis, the back muscles work harder to compensate, leading to overuse and strain. 

What About Sciatica?

You may be wondering if your low back and hip pain could be due to sciatica. This term describes pain that originates in an irritated nerve of the lower back that travels down the sciatic nerve, which runs down the buttock and lower leg. The pain can feel sharp, burning, cramp-like, or like a “pins and needles” tingling. Sciatica is usually caused by a condition that pinches the nerves, such as arthritis (particularly in older adults) or a herniated disc (typically in those under age 40).

When to See a Doctor

Most of the time, pain that’s affecting your low back and hip will improve within a few days to a few weeks, with conservative approaches like ice/heat, over-the-counter medication, and gentle exercise. However, it’s a good idea to see a doctor if you notice any of the following:

  • You experience weakness in your lower extremities.

  • Your pain is severe, unrelenting, does not improve with time and home remedies, or interferes with your daily activities. 

  • You’ve had a traumatic fall or injury.

  • Your pain occurs with signs of more serious illness such as fever, chills, unexplained weight loss, or loss of bowel or bladder control.

Holistic Treatments for Back and Hip Pain

For long-term relief and prevention of future pain episodes, pain management experts recommend a holistic approach that treats the biological, psychological, and social/spiritual roots of chronic pain. Studies have shown that people’s reported pain levels often do not correspond to structural causes (like herniated discs) seen on imaging studies. Experts now believe this is because ongoing pain actually changes how our nervous system interprets pain. Chronic pain can make people more sensitive to pain. People with chronic pain often develop emotional distress that makes pain worse.

Holistic practices — exercise, stress management, healthy eating, and other lifestyle changes — can bring relief by addressing physical causes as well as psychological and emotional ones. Truly holistic pain management may involve different approaches and providers, including doctors, physical therapists, nutritionists, and mental health professionals. Consider these:

Physical therapy. Physical therapists can help diagnose and treat musculoskeletal imbalances that cause pain. They can design a customized exercise plan to strengthen, stretch, and stabilize muscles and joints to relieve and prevent pain. “Physical therapy also helps desensitize the nervous system to pain,” says Dr. Walter. “By guiding people to move up to the point of pain, and then come out of it, and then moving a little further next time, the brain starts to learn, ‘okay, that movement is safe. ’”

You can see a physical therapist in person or use a program like Hinge Health to access a PT via telehealth/video visit.

Personal training. “After people complete physical therapy, I sometimes recommend personal training to help them stay motivated to exercise or to continue to build strength,” says Dr. Walter.   

Clean diet. European researchers analyzed 10 years of studies on eating patterns and chronic pain. They found that certain diets helped improve pain and quality of life by reducing inflammation or providing important nutrients, including antioxidants and prebiotics. Experts recommend that you reduce your intake of pro-inflammatory foods, such as added sugar, processed meat, and refined grains. Fill up on anti-inflammatory choices such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish, and olive oil.  

Stop smoking. Smoking accelerates disc degeneration of the spine, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.  

Massage. An analysis of 60 studies showed that massage therapy helped people manage their pain better than people who received only sham or placebo treatments.  Experts believe that massage helps people lower stress and deal with the emotional distress of pain better, and also soothe the physical discomfort of tight muscles. 

Meditation. Research shows that women with lower back pain who practiced mindfulness meditation reported lower pain and better quality of life and mental health after eight sessions, compared to those who received standard care. The women learned mindfulness techniques such as body scans and walking and sitting meditations.

Lifting and sitting mechanics. Asking your body to lift or carry more than you’re used to, or to sit in one position for too long are common causes of muscle strain, says Dr. Walter. Avoid lifting when you are tired, and don’t lift much more than what you practice lifting regularly. Bring the object as close to your body as possible and exhale as you lift, using a wide stance for stability.  

When sitting, try to keep your sit bones (the bottom of your pelvis) higher than your knees. Use pillows or rolled-up towels for support if needed. Your computer screen should be at eye level and you want your feet flat on the floor with elbows bent and supported at 90 degrees. Feel free to adjust how you sit, and take regular posture breaks to stretch every 30 minutes. 

Counseling. In a study of adults who participated in an eight-session telehealth counseling program that emphasized that pain is a non-dangerous brain activity rather than physical tissue injury, 66% reported being pain-free or nearly pain free after one month. This suggests that helping patients understand and conceptualize their pain could bring significant relief. Psychological counseling can also help people learn coping skills (such as cognitive behavioral therapy) to combat the depression, anxiety, and emotional distress that develops when chronic pain limits your life and continues without relief.  

While all of the above steps can help lower back and hip pain, one of the most effective is regular exercise therapy. Hinge Health recommends these moves to reduce and prevent back and hip pain as part of a holistic health routine. Those moves are safe to do daily. Start slowly, aiming to do them once or twice a week, and build from there. If you’re wondering if these moves are right for you, check with your healthcare provider.

The information contained in these videos is intended to be used for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice or treatment for any specific condition. Hinge Health is not your healthcare provider and is not responsible for any injury sustained or exacerbated by your use of or participation in these exercises. Please consult with your healthcare provider with any questions you may have about your medical condition or treatment.

PT Tip: Use a Stool During Standing Chores

When you’re standing at a counter for a long time, such as while cooking or cleaning, put one foot up on a stool, as if you are about to step up. “This puts the back in a more neutral position and rotates the pelvis,” says Dr. Walter. “This increases comfort and allows you to tolerate standing longer.” If you don’t have a stool, open a low cabinet and put your foot on the floor of the cabinet.

How Hinge Health Can Help You

If you have joint or muscle pain that makes it hard to move, you can get the relief you’ve been looking for with Hinge Health’s online exercise therapy program.

The best part: You don’t have to leave your home because our program is digital. That means you can easily get the care you need through our app, when and where it works for you.

Through our program, you’ll have access to therapeutic exercises and stretches for your condition. Additionally, you’ll have a personal care team to guide, support, and tailor our program to you.

See if you qualify for Hinge Health and confirm free coverage through your employer or benefit plan here.

This article and its contents are provided for educational and informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice or professional services specific to you or your medical condition.


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Pain in the lower back and lower extremities. Causes and treatment in Samara

The most common source of pain is irritation of pain receptors in muscles, ligaments or joints.

Lower back pain may be associated with changes in the lumbar spine, but diseases of internal organs (inflammatory changes in the urinary system, diseases of the pelvic organs, intestinal diseases) can also cause pain

High static load contributes to the development of degenerative changes in the spine ( “sedentary work”, a sedentary lifestyle), high physical activity, spinal injuries, overweight.

The intervertebral disc gradually loses water during life, becomes “dry”, “cracks” and does not perform its shock-absorbing function. Over time, with the aggravation of the situation, a protrusion of the disk appears – a displacement of the central part of the disk (nucleus pulposus) to the periphery – thus a protrusion is formed.

With continued negative impact, injuries, physical stress, protrusion may increase and disc herniation is formed – protrusion of the nucleus pulposus into the spinal canal.

Hernia pain is caused by irritation of pain receptors, posterior longitudinal ligament of the spine, external disc structures and muscle spasm. When displaced into the spinal canal, the hernia can “compress” the adjacent spinal root. Inflammatory changes, edema appear in the root area.

The source of pain can also be deformity of the intervertebral joints, displacement of the vertebrae (instability) relative to each other, narrowing of the spinal canal due to various changes in the spine (hernia, protrusion, instability).

Lumbodynia – pain in the lumbar spine. It is provoked by physical overstrain, hypothermia, prolonged stay in an uncomfortable position, trauma.

The pain does not radiate to the legs, it is associated with muscle spasm in the lumbar spine, inflammatory changes due to degenerative changes in the spine (intervertebral arthrosis, displacement of the vertebrae, changes in the ligamentous apparatus). The nerve root in this case does not suffer.

Lumboischalgia – pain in the lumbar spine radiating to the leg (one or both). The provoking factors are the same as with lumbalgia.

This pain can be radicular in nature (that is, it can occur due to compression of the nerve root), or it can be due to local muscle spasm, irritation of pain receptors.

Herniated disc is a common cause of pain, especially in people under 40-50 years of age. It manifests itself depending on which disk is damaged and at what level the nerve root is compressed, pain in the lumbar spine radiating to the leg, numbness in the limb (in the thigh, in the lower leg, in the foot – depends on the level of the damaged root), burning, “tingling » in it, weakness in the leg (most often in the foot). May only cause pain in the leg. A formidable symptom is a violation of the function of the pelvic organs (urination, stool), increasing weakness in the leg, numbness in the perineum.


  • X-ray of the lumbar spine
  • MRI or CT scan of the lumbar spine (if indicated and not contraindicated)
  • EMG of the lower extremities (examination of peripheral nerves and nerve roots)
  • OAC, OAM, gynecologist for women, urologist for men (exclude other possible causes of lower back pain)


  • Massage
  • LFK
  • Spinal traction
  • Physiotherapy
  • Acupuncture

All appointments are made by a physiotherapist.

In the treatment, depending on the patient’s symptoms, different types of groups of drugs are used (depending on the indications and contraindications for the patient):

  • NSAIDs
  • B vitamins
  • muscle relaxants
  • vascular preparations and other preparations

In the absence of contraindications, after the examination, it is possible to prescribe physiotherapy procedures.

Prevention of exacerbations of back pain:

  • exercise therapy. Move more, sit less. Swimming.
  • Weight loss if overweight
  • Avoid physical overexertion, hypothermia.

How to relieve pain in the hip joint. Causes and treatment

Hip pain symptoms

Pain in the thigh may radiate to adjacent areas – thighs, groin, buttocks and hip joint.

Sometimes the only symptom of hip problems is knee pain. Such pain is called reflected; it occurs quite often.

Pain in the hip may worsen with physical exertion, such as after sports, long walks and runs.

With pain in the hip, it becomes more difficult for a person to move the leg in the hip joint, the range of motion decreases. In severe cases, lameness develops.

How does hip pain affect us?

The hip joints provide mobility to the body, so pain in this area can make daily activities difficult. With hip pain, even getting out of bed, climbing stairs, and walking, not to mention jogging, is a problem. In severe cases, a person cannot move the leg at the joint and transfer body weight to it. In such cases, you should consult a doctor.

Relieve pain

There are blood vessels and nerves in the thigh area, in particular the sciatic nerve (on the back of the thigh) and the femoral nerve (on the front of the thigh)*

greatly affects their lives**

Relieve Pain

* Hip Anatomy http://www.arthritis. org/about-arthritis/where-it-hurts/hip-pain/hip-anatomy.php (accessed 03.26. 2019)
**According to the Global Pain Index 2018 survey, 86% of pain sufferers reported that OA-related joint pain was the biggest impact on their lives

Why does hip pain occur?

The design of the hip joint provides smooth movement and the ability to perform repetitive movements, such as when running or jumping. But due to constant stress over the years, the muscles, nerves, ligaments and tendons of the thigh can become inflamed, resulting in pain.

Determine the cause of the pain

Pain can be felt in various parts of the thigh. Localization of pain helps to understand its causes. Pain in the groin and inner thigh area can be a sign of hip problems. Hip pain outside the hip joint, in the upper thigh and buttocks, usually indicates a soft tissue problem.

More serious causes of hip pain

Serious causes of hip pain include osteoarthritis, fractures, dislocations due to trauma, and bursitis (inflammation of the joint capsule). In these cases, you should consult a doctor.


If you have hip pain due to muscle or tendon injury or tendon inflammation (tendonitis), over-the-counter medications can help relieve pain and swelling. You can relieve pain and improve joint mobility with the help of therapeutic exercises. But if your hip still hurts badly or doesn’t feel better after seven days of pain medication, you should see your doctor. Be sure to see your doctor if you fall, the pain gets worse, you have a fever, or you feel unwell.

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