Man holding his back in pain.

Is It Hip Pain or Back Pain?

Although hip pain often originates in the hip joint itself, at Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine we have seen many patients who come in complaining of hip pain but are actually feeling referred pain from their backs. Sometimes, their pain is the result of soft tissue damage in the hip region rather than in the joint itself. Either way, these possibilities make a good case for consulting a highly trained physiatrist (a doctor who specializes in pain management and rehabilitation) before trying to treat your own discomfort.

Getting an Accurate Diagnosis Is Key to Receiving the Correct Treatment

At Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine we pride ourselves on accurate diagnosis. We have skilled hands, intricate anatomical and functional knowledge of musculoskeletal problems and a clear understanding of which nerves affect which region of the body. More than that, we have cutting-edge diagnostic equipment and superior treatment methods.

Coming to us first can help you sort out exactly what the trouble is before you waste time and money on what you may think will be curative treatments. It is even more important to make certain that any exercise you may do, device you may try, or over-the-counter medication you take will not unintentionally mask important symptoms or cause you further damage. Just because the actor in the infomercial is smiling broadly does not mean that the treatment is right for you. In fact, it may not be good for anyone.

Where Actual Hip Pain Is Typically Felt

If your hip joint is the source of your pain — whether due to a fracture, tendonitis, bursitis, arthritis (e.g. osteoarthritis, psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis), dislocation, or a labral tear, the following symptoms are common:

  • Groin pain on the affected side
  • Pain down the inner front region of the thigh
  • Pain in the knee
  • Pain that worsens with walking and activity

If you have a fracture, advanced arthritis, congenital hip dysplasia or avascular necrosis of the hip, you may have pain that is constant or that becomes severe even with a slight movement while lying down. With hip pain, mobility is most often restricted; rising from a chair or bed may be especially painful.

When Apparent Hip Pain Really Originates in the Back

Pain that originates in the back sometimes worsens if you sit or lie down rather than improving with rest. Also, even though low back pain is usually felt in the back itself, the complex pathways of nerves along the spinal cord may cause pain that radiates down the limbs (arms or legs depending on the part of the back that is injured. The pain that inflames the nerves in the low back may also cause pain in your upper leg or hip. When a disc (a cushion between the vertebrae) is herniated or ruptured, patients sometimes experience gluteal pain that feels as if it’s coming from the hip joint. 

Another possible cause of pain in the hip that really originates in the back is spinal stenosis, the degeneration of the spine that narrows the passageway for the spinal cord and puts pressure on spinal nerves. Sciatica, caused by a “pinched” sciatic nerve, also can create pain in the buttocks and hip, or even into the calf and foot.

Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine Offers Top-Tier Diagnosis 

Our offices have the most advanced diagnostic equipment available. We also use some methods of diagnosis, such as ultrasound and guided injections, as part of an effective, customized treatment plan. When you come to us with hip or back pain, after thoroughly examining you, we will determine which diagnostic method(s) will be most helpful in your particular case. Included in our repertoire are:

  • X-rays 
  • MRI or CT scans 
  • Electromyography (EMG)
  • Nerve conduction studies
  • Diagnostic ultrasound
  • Injections guided by ultrasound or fluoroscopy to pinpoint the origin of your pain

Our doctors have an in-depth understanding of which diagnostic methods are called for and precisely how they must be administered. Beyond that, we all have extensive experience and sharp skills to interpret test results accurately.

Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine Treats You Right

We are a holistic practice, considering you as a complete person, not just a conglomeration of body parts. Once we successfully diagnose the cause of your pain, we have many ways to approach alleviating your pain, all of which are nonsurgical. Depending on the nature and origin of your pain, we will usually offer you one or more of the following options:

  • Spinal epidural injections
  • Musculoskeletal ultrasound 
  • Acupuncture
  • PEMF (Pulsed Electromagnetic Field) technology
  • Personalized programs of physical therapy
  • PRP (Platelet-rich plasma) therapy

Believing as we do that in order to be healers we must genuinely care about our patients, we are committed to offering you compassion and support along with the best in medical services.