Your hips are incredibly active joints and no strangers to the occasional ache and pain, especially as you get older. But searing pain in one of your hips may have nothing to do with your hip at all, but a pinched nerve root in your lower back.
At Healthy Life Family Medicine in Goodyear, Arizona, Dr. John Monroe understands the many conditions that can lead to radiating pain. One of the biggest culprits in this regard is sciatica, which develops when certain nerve roots in your lower back are irritated or compressed, causing symptoms to travel down your sciatic nerve.
Here’s a look at how sciatica pain develops and why your hip pain may be a result of a problem in your lower back.
The first thing to understand is that sciatica isn’t a condition, but a symptom of a problem that’s connected to your sciatic nerve. This nerve is the longest in your body and begins in your lower spine, where five nerve roots come together to form your sciatic nerve, which splits and travels down either side of your buttocks, hips, and legs.
When any of the nerve roots are irritated in your lower back, the symptoms can radiate out along the sciatic nerve, creating symptoms that run down your lower extremities, typically only on one side.
The hallmarks of sciatica pain include:
- Searing pain in your lower back that can come and go with certain movements
- Pain that radiates down one side of your buttocks, hips, and legs
- Dull pain in your back, hips, and buttocks
- Numbness or tingling anywhere along the nerve
- Weakness in your leg
The characteristics of your pain can vary, depending upon which nerve root is compressed or pinched. For example, if you’re experiencing pain in your foot, this is likely caused by a compressed nerve near your L5 vertebra.
In most cases, sciatic pain stems from a herniated or bulging disc, but it can also develop because of:
- Spinal stenosis
- Bone growths
Whatever the cause, the end result can leave you with moderate-to-severe pain that you feel in your back, hips, buttocks, and leg.
So, if you’re experiencing pain in your hip, and you haven’t had any problems with the joint before, the problem may lie in your lower back.
The indirect results of nerve compression
Another reason you may be feeling pain in one of your hips is that when you have a pinched nerve in your back that affects one side of your lower body, you tend to favor that side. The pain may alter the way you move, which can place added stress on your already hard-working hips.
So, if your hip pain is more of a dull ache and you’re also experiencing some of the more classic signs of sciatica, the two are likely related.
Treating sciatica pain
The good news is that we have plenty of options for quickly resolving your sciatic and hip pain. Dr. Monroe can administer a corticosteroid injection into the nerve root to quiet the pain signals and reduce the inflammation, which should bring you relief. Also, stretching and physical therapy can go a long way toward relieving the pressure on your nerve roots.
Whether your hip pain is a result of a problem in your sciatic nerve or something else, we can help you find a solution and put an end to your discomfort. Simply contact us at Healthy Life Family Medicine to set up an appointment.