Let’s face it, hip pain is common. I’ve been a Rheumy for a while now, and every week I see several peeps who complain about it. So I thought I’d share what I know.

If you end up in my clinic, these are the most common things I’ll bring up that might be causing your pain:

  1. Degenerative Arthritis (worn-out cartilage/cushion) of the hip joint. 
  2. Trochanteric bursitis
  3. Sacroiliac joint pain (either Degenerative or Inflammatory)
  4. Referred pain from a pinched nerve in your low back
  5. Inflammatory Arthritis (such as Rheumatoid)
  6. Piriformis Syndrome (muscle of the buttock)
  7. Hip fracture                                                                                                                     

Okay, But What Causes Hip Pain?

It’s not always easy to pinpoint, but there are several symptoms that can help you correlate your pain with its cause:

1. Degenerative Arthritis

– pain is worse with weight-bearing and relieved by rest
– pain is felt more in the groin area than the outside or back of hip
– there is no numbness, tingling, or burning going down the leg

2. Trochanteric bursitis

– pain is worse upon initially standing from a seated position
– pain is worse when lying on the side of the affected hip, especially during sleep.
– pain is located on the outside of the hip and can radiate down the outside part of the leg but never goes past the knee
– there is no numbness, tingling, or burning

3. Sacroiliac Joint

– pain is worse with activity and, at times, changing positions
– pain is felt in the back of the hip where the tailbone meets the hip joint

4, Referred pain into hip from a pinched nerve in the low back

– pain is worse with activity
– pain often radiates from the low back into a hip or down the leg
– has associated numbness, tingling, or burning into the hip or down the leg

5. Inflammatory Arthritis

– pain is better with activity but worse in the morning upon awakening
– associated stiffness and involvement of other joints
– abnormal blood tests

6. Piriformis Syndrome

– a dull ache in the buttock
– pain radiating down the back of the leg/sciatica
– pain when walking upstairs or up inclines
– increased pain after prolonged sitting
– limited range of motion of the hip

7. Hip Fracture

– pain is typically worse with activity
– will limit the range of motion of affected the hip (typically due to pain)
– the pain will typically be felt in the upper, outer portion of the thigh
– typically occurs after a fall or trauma, can be presenting sign of an individual with “thin” bones (osteoporosis)

Diagnosis & Treatment

Diagnosing the cause of your hip pain can occasionally be done by an exam only but often requires an X-ray, MRI, and sometimes blood work.

As with all causes of pain, maintaining proper weight, muscle tone, activity, and a healthy diet is always the first step. Other treatment options for hip pain include the use of Tylenol, anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxers, pain pills, nerve deadening pills, bone-strengthening pills, injections, physical therapy, supplements, CBD, and surgery (depending on the cause of your pain). 

And don’t forget, pain in any part of your body, including your hip, can be from multiple causes and is rarely from one thing . . . so be sure to look at the problem from multiple angles in order to determine the best treatment.

If your hip is hurting, be sure to chat with your health care provider. Maybe there is more that can be done to help alleviate the pain. And remember: Today and every day, live your value one choice at a time.



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