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My Hip Hurts – is it my back or my hip?

My Hip Hurts – is it my back or my hip?
My Hip Hurts – is it my back or my hip

Hip pain is a common problem that I see on a daily basis. It can be very confusing to many people because of where they think their hip is located and where the hip creates pain when it is inflamed. The hip joint is actually located in the area of your groin and creates pain in the groin and down the thigh to the knee. It is NOT located in the buttock.

Hip pain creates pain in the groin, front of the thigh down the front of the leg to the knee, and in the area where the lower buttock meets the leg. The picture below shows the area of the buttock where you will feel pain if the pain is coming from the hip.

What you should notice in this picture is that, except for that small area that is colored red, the hip does NOT create pain in the buttock. Most of the pain that you may feel in your buttock, leg, side of hip, and even in the groin is actually created by the back. So when patients come to see me and say their “hip hurts” or they have “bursitis,” it usually means that one of their nerves from the lumbar spine is creating their pain. The picture below shows where the nerves in the back travel to after they leave the spine. As you can see, most of the lumbar nerves that come out to the spine cover what most people think is their hip. The two specific nerves that I would look at in this picture are the L4 and L5 nerves as they cover most of the areas of the hip and buttock.

  • Texas Orthopedic Hospital
  • Fondern orthopedic group LLP
  • Spine Interventional Society