Hip pain is a common problem that is experienced by people of varying ages. Although symptoms among individuals can be similar, the causes of the pain can be quite different.
When people state that they are experiencing hip pain, they are usually referring to pain in their buttock or anterior hip region. Some feel the pain when they are sitting and experience relief with walking. Others feel the pain with walking and experience relief with sitting. Still others only feel pain when lying in bed and have minimal trouble any other time. Some say that the pain decreased with leg and hip movement and others experience decreased range of motion with considerable pain.
This problem can affect people’s lives in very dramatic ways. Individuals have to completely change their approach to their normal daily activities. They also commonly have to give up things they love like exercising and other social activities.
The reason that there are so many differences in the way that people experience hip pain is that there are many different causes of hip pain. We will explore the most common.
Many factors can contribute to hip pain. These factors could include poor ergonomics, inflammation, trauma, hip joint adhesions, muscle shortening, muscle imbalance, spinal joint dysfunction, sacroiliac joint dysfunction, or any mechanical problems coming from the lower leg. In order to optimize results, the patient must be assessed for all these different factors and specific solutions must be provided for each.
Hip Pain Causes
Pain can be experienced with standing, walking, sitting, and numerous other activities. Typically an isolated hip examination is unremarkable, but can also be interrelated with the overall functional problem. Pressure and stress applied specifically to the sacroiliac joint create significant pain and commonly the referral pattern can be reproduced. Determining that the sacroiliac joint is the pain generator is just the beginning. Then the clinician must determine what the true cause of that issue is, from poor postural and ergonomic habits, to inherent patterns of biomechanical dysfunction.
The most common bursitis experienced in the hip is Greater Trochanteric Bursitis. This pain is noted on the lateral upper thigh at the level of the hip joint. It is typically very tender to direct pressure, therefore, people cannot lay on that side without pain. They also commonly experience pain with walking. However, other structures can create the same pain pattern, most commonly the lower back. As with other conditions, the answer may become clouded by overlapping issues. Consultation and examination will help to sort through the issues and determine the true cause of the problem.
A certain percentage of time, hip pain is actually coming from the hip joint. The most common cause of hip joint pain is from arthritis (Degenerative Joint Disease – DJD), but of course could also be related to an acute injury. Hip DJD can be linked to genetics, trauma, wear and tear, or a combination of these things. Hip joint pain is most commonly found in the buttock and inguinal region (front and back) of the associated hip. However, hip joint pain can also be referred all the way down to the knee, even mimicking knee joint pathology. Thorough consultation and examination should isolate the source of the pain, although other concomitant issues may overlap. Finding muscle imbalances and mechanical dysfunction associated with hip joint pathology is the rule rather than the exception. Correcting those functional issues through the proper forms of treatment can improve symptoms in even very advanced cases.