Lower back and hip pain are common conditions affecting many people daily. It can be inconvenient and uncomfortable when moving, walking, or even sleeping. The pain can be debilitating, and it affects activities without proper treatment. Depending on the cause and severity, you can manage pain in various ways, including oral medications, physical therapy, and surgery. Moreover, each method can help relieve pain differently. You may try several procedures and see the most effective solution.
Many adults suffer body aches as a result of strenuous activities. It ranges from dull and throbbing to sharp and shooting pains. In addition, it may happen suddenly and develop gradually. Most pains are harmless and pass quickly. However, when the lower back is in pain alongside the hips, it may indicate a more serious condition. The succeeding sections will explore the leading causes of pain in the back and hips and how to relieve it.
Causes of Lower Back and Hip Pain
The lower back or lumbar region and the hip rely on each other. They support the whole body and allow a wide range of motion. A problem with one of the structures can affect the other. One of the leading causes of lower back and hip pain is muscle strain and sprain. Strains occur due to overstretching or tearing of tendons or muscles. On the other hand, a sprain is the tearing of the ligaments.
Another primary reason for aching lower back and hips is spinal injuries or disorders. It includes herniated disc and sacroiliac joint (SI) dysfunction. A herniated or slipped disc is a condition where one vertebral disc slips out of place. Thus, it can irritate the nerves and cause numbness and tingling and may radiate to other body parts. Additionally, an injury to the SI joint can cause pain in the lower back and hips and may worsen with movement.
Furthermore, a pinched nerve is also one of the common reasons for lower back and hip pain. It occurs when the surrounding bones put too much pressure on them. The pressure causes numbness and weakness that may radiate to the spine and hips. A condition involving pinched nerves is sciatica. Lastly, arthritis is a common ailment affecting many people. It is inflammation of the joint, causing swelling and stiffness.
- Age – many people develop chronic conditions as they age, affecting the functions of the lower back and hips.
- Weight – excess weight can stress the body.
- Fitness – individuals who lack exercise have weak abdominal and back muscles supporting the spine.
- Job-related risks – occupations involving lifting heavy objects or desk jobs.
Treatments for Lower Back and Hip Pain
Individuals with lower back and hip pain want to relieve their condition fast. The first line of treatment that many uses are medications and physical therapy. Oral painkillers are affordable and accessible. Thus, it is convenient for people to get over-the-counter medicines to relieve pain. Moreover, different types of analgesics work according to their target and effects. Drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen help minimise inflammation and fever. Other painkillers like acetaminophen block the receptors in the brain to reduce pain.
Some people who want to minimise intake of medicines may resort to home treatments and physical therapy. Physiotherapy is a treatment to restore and improve physical functions and well-being. An individual may see a licensed professional to administer the treatment for more severe cases. However, there are simple exercises and stretching that can be done at home to help alleviate pain. Activities like walking, back stretches, planking, and hip flexor stretches can help strengthen the muscles.
Moreover, a cost-effective alternative to oral medicines and exercise is Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS). TENS applies low-voltage electrical impulses through the skin to help release endorphins and activate the nerves in the spinal cord to block pain signals going to the brain. A TENS machine like the iTENS has electrode pads that adhere to or surround the painful area. Hence, it is a non-invasive technique for relieving lower back and hip pain.
Complementary Pain Management Methods
Individuals may incorporate these techniques to maximise the effectiveness of pain treatment:
- Hot and cold therapy
- Spinal manipulation
- Chiropractic treatment
- Progressive muscle relaxation
- Anti-inflammatory diet
- Posture correction
- Stress management techniques
- Getting enough rest and sleep
- Avoiding heavy loads or backpack
- Wearing proper footwear
- Proper lifting techniques
Surgeries for Lower Back and Hip Pain
People with lower back and hip pain may consider more intensive measures if medications or home remedies do not work or improve. A doctor may recommend surgery as a final option for severe conditions. Fortunately, there are less invasive procedures to help alleviate pain. The standard methods are decompression surgery, spinal fusion, and hip arthroscopy. Decompression surgeries like laminectomy and microdiscectomy remove whatever is pressing on the spinal nerves. As a result, it can help treat radicular pain.
Spinal fusion is a common surgery for non-specific back pain. A minor incision removes soft tissues between the vertebrae and replaces them with an artificial disc. Moreover, it enables the bones to grow over time and fuse into one long bone. It benefits individuals with spondylolisthesis, spinal stenosis, herniated discs, and fractured vertebra. However, patients may lose some flexibility after the surgery.
Meanwhile, hip arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgery to diagnose and treat a wide range of hip pain. The process cleans out damaged tissues and repairs tears through a mini camera and can be completed within several hours. However, the recovery process may take months. In addition, candidates for hip surgery are people with persistent hip pain, impingement, labral tear, synovitis, bone spurs, and other deformities. Therefore, surgery or arthroscopy can help treat lower back and hip pain.
When to See a Doctor
Individuals should seek immediate medical care if they experience the following symptoms along with back and hip pain:
- Loss of bowel or bladder function
- Loss of sensation or movement in one or both legs
- Visible deformity
- Pain after trauma
- Loss of strength in arms or legs
People seek various methods to help relieve lower back and hip pain. Treatments such as OTC medicines, exercise, and home remedies can help alleviate minor to moderate pain. Alternatively, individuals may get portable devices like the iTENS wireless TENS machine from iTENS Australia to manage various acute and chronic conditions. TENS help relieve symptoms of arthritis, sciatica, fibromyalgia, and pain after surgery. Moreover, trying out different strategies is an excellent way to find the most effective relief.
Chronic pain can be unpleasant and affect the overall quality of life. Hence, people seek immediate relief to ease the pain or discomfort. Measures like correcting poor posture and exercise can help prevent further pain. If home remedies do not work, you may consult a medical professional for a diagnosis and proper treatment plan. A doctor may prescribe stronger medications or surgery to help with severe cases.