February 10, 2021

Back or Hip Condition? Sciatica

Neck, Back and Spine

THIS POST IS PART OF THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO BACK PAIN RELIEF

Many people mistake their sciatica pain for pain caused by a hip condition. Sciatica is common in 10 to –40%of the population, according to Spine Health and is a condition affecting and irritating your lumbar or lower spine.

Even though sciatica is a back condition, it can often be mistaken for a hip condition. Feeling sciatic nerve pain in your hip is common, as well as radiating down your leg.

Determining the source of your pain will help you treat it the right way and get the best results for recovery. It’s important to seek care if you’re having hip pain related to sciatica.

OrthoIndy spine surgeon, Dr. Kevin O’Neill discusses causes, similar symptoms, common conditions and how to tell your back and hip pain apart.

Can sciatica cause hip pain?

Sciatic nerve pain often starts in your hip, radiates down to you knee and can even be felt in your feet.

If you’re experiencing pain, numbness, tingling or an electric shock sensation associated with your pain, it usually means it’s a back condition.

“Most commonly, sciatic nerve pain runs down the back of the thigh and into the calf and foot, but it can also run down the front of the thigh,” Dr. O’Neill said. “When this is the case, it can be confused with pain coming from the hip joint. Classically, pain from a hip joint problem is felt in the buttock and wrapping around to the groin but can feel like it runs down the thigh.”

According to Dr. O’Neill, although it’s called sciatica, pain from the sciatic nerve usually originates from irritation or compression of one of the nerves in your lower back, called radiculopathy. Actual sciatic nerve irritation is rare.

Some other symptoms include:

  • Pain that feels like a bad leg cramp
  • Sharp pain
  • Pain that heightens when you move, sneeze or cough
  • Weakness, numbness or a tingling sensation down your leg

“When sitting down, the pain is often made worse by straightening out the knee – and sometimes even straightening out the leg that is NOT hurting can cause the pain to worsen,” Dr. O’Neill said. “Similarly, the pain can be made worse when lying down and raising a straight leg up in the air.”

Ultimate Guide to Back Pain Relief

When should you see a doctor for back or hip pain?

If you have sciatic nerve pain, Dr. O’Neill suggests seeing a doctor. This pain is not normal and should be diagnosed as soon as possible.

To determine whether you have sciatica your physician will ask you for a complete medical history, ask you to describe your symptoms and conduct a physical examination. An X-ray or MRI may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis and determine if there are other problems.

To determine if your back or hip pain is sciatica, you may need special X-rays and imaging of your hip and back. Hip and back pain is often related, so in some cases, your pain might be coming from both.

Make an appointment with an OrthoIndy spine specialist

When should you see a doctor for back or hip pain?

If you have sciatic nerve pain, Dr. O’Neill suggests seeing a doctor. This pain is not normal and should be diagnosed as soon as possible.

To determine whether you have sciatica your physician will ask you for a complete medical history, ask you to describe your symptoms and conduct a physical examination. An X-ray or MRI may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis and determine if there are other problems.

To determine if your back or hip pain is sciatica, you may need special X-rays and imaging of your hip and back. Hip and back pain is often related, so in some cases, your pain might be coming from both.

What are some treatment options to relieve sciatica pain?

Any activity involving lifting or carrying heavy objects can cause degenerative changes as you get older and use your muscles more.

If you begin to feel pain or irritation in your sciatic nerve, begin treatment with rest and anti-inflammatory medication, like Tylenol. If pain down your hip or thigh persists, consider seeing a specialist for alternate treatment options.

Pay attention to the pattern of your pain. If you can accurately identify where your pain is coming from and what it feels like, it is much easier for your physician to come up with a diagnosis.

Lastly, it’s important to inform your physician of the movements and activities that make your pain worse. This may also help them determine where your pain originates from.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. O’Neill, please call 317.802.2429 or learn more about OrthoIndy Spine and Dr. O’Neill.

Schedule an appointment

Your well-being is important to us. Click the button below or call us to schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists. If your injury or condition is recent, you can walk right into one of our OrthoIndy Urgent Care locations for immediate care. For rehabilitation and physical therapy, no referral is needed to see one of our physical therapists.

Schedule an Appointment Call OrthoIndy 317.802.2000

Related Posts

More from OrthoIndy

Sciatica and Pregnancy

Sciatica during pregnancy is a common condition in pregnant women. Learn more about sciatica pain during pregnancy and how OrthoIndy back doctors can help.

Back or Hip Condition? Sciatica

What is sciatica pain? Learn more about what causes sciatica and what sciatica pain treatments OrthoIndy uses and whether your back and hip pain is related.

Get stories and News in your inbox

Subscribe to our weekly articles