Is it Hip Pain or is it Back Pain?

hip pain or back pain

Is it Hip Pain or is it Back Pain?

Both hip pain and back problems can contribute to lower back pain, groin discomfort, or pain in the buttocks. It can be challenging to pinpoint the exact source of pain due to the involvement of multiple areas in hip-spine syndrome. To determine the underlying cause of both hip and back pain, it is essential to consult with a doctor who can conduct a thorough examination, review medical history, and determine if imaging techniques are required for an accurate diagnosis.

How Hip Pain and Back Pain Are Related

The lower back, or lumbar spine, directly connects to the pelvis from above and the hip joint connects to the pelvis from below.  The lumbar spinal column can lead to hip pain.  Degenerative disc disease and disc herniation can be the source.

Herniated discs and pinched nerves are common culprits of back and hip pain. As the discs between the spinal vertebrae age, the outer layer may become damaged, causing the material to protrude into the spinal canal. This condition, known as a herniated or bulging disc, can exert pressure on nerves, leading to pain. Since the nerves in the spinal cord facilitate communication between the brain and various areas of the body, pain can also be felt in other regions, including the legs. 

While hip problems often manifest as groin discomfort on the affected side, the close proximity of the hip joint to the spine can sometimes make it difficult to differentiate between hip and back pain. Osteoarthritis is a common cause of hip pain and may present with symptoms such as pain in the groin, temporary discomfort that becomes more frequent with age, exacerbated pain during activities like standing or walking, stiffness, and a noticeable limp. On the other hand, herniated discs primarily affect the lower spine and can cause pain in the hips, back, buttocks, or legs. Symptoms of a herniated disc include radiating pain, weakness, numbness, and pain worsened by sitting or bending.

Discovering the Origin of Your Pain

To determine whether pain is originating from a herniated disc, it is crucial to pay attention to specific signs. These signs include sharp and burning sensations radiating from the buttocks down to the feet, weakness and numbness in affected muscles, pain that limits mobility or flexibility, and exacerbation of pain when standing, walking, or sitting.

In summary, hip-spine syndrome encompasses a range of symptoms that can arise from both hip and back problems. Accurate diagnosis is crucial for appropriate treatment. Understanding the distinct characteristics of pain originating from the hip joint or herniated discs can help healthcare providers identify the underlying cause. By considering these factors and conducting thorough evaluations, healthcare professionals can offer targeted interventions and improve the management of hip and back pain in individuals with hip-spine syndrome. Many non-surgical options exist including activity modification, medications, physical rehabilitation, traditional injections, Discseel, and other Regenerative Medicine options. 


I’m Boris Terebuh MD, Ohio’s first and most experienced Discseel® provider. I am also the Founder & Medical Director of the Regenerative Spine & Joint Center