Tuesday , July 16 2024

Help for Hips: Making Sense of Your (Not So) Random Pain

By Craig Chappell, DO, Functional Health and Sports Medicine of Ocala
Hips problemHaving a hard time describing the location or source of your hip pain? Dealing with low back pain, suffering with pain in your groin area – or maybe your feeling soreness in the outside or upper thigh region? The real culprit may not be as obvious as you think and could send you down the rabbit hole to identify the source, costing you time and money.
Hip pain isn’t always the obvious answer, and even when it is – properly diagnosing the hip injury or condition can be tricky.
Much like taking your car to the mechanic and elusively trying to describe where that weird sound is coming from, describing hip pain can be difficult when talking with your doctor. But the location and description of your hip pain can provide valuable clues to your physician about the underlying cause.
“The location and description of your hip pain can provide valuable clues to your physician about the underlying cause.”
For example:
• Problems within the hip joint itself tend to result in pain on the inside of the thigh or groin region. Common problems in the joint include osteoarthritis, labral tears, cartilage damage, femoral acetabular impingement and capsular sprains.
• Hip pain on the outside and upper thigh can represent tendon, muscle or bursa problems.
• While posterior hip or low back pain is usually caused by problems with muscles, ligaments, tendons, sacroiliac joint dysfunction (instability) and other soft tissues that surround your hip joint.
Sometimes hip pain can be caused by diseases and conditions in other areas of your body, such as your lower back or your knees and sometimes problems in and around the hip can cause pain in other locations.This type of pain is called referred pain. Pain can be referred by irritated nerves, muscles, ligaments and tendons.
The unfortunate reality for patients plagued by these strange referral pain patterns is that they are frequently overlooked because the symptoms may show up some distance from the source – the hip. What’s worse, unfamiliarity with referral pain patterns, even amongst physicians, can lead to misdiagnoses and inappropriate treatments. For example, pain traveling down the back of the leg and foot is usually from ligament weakness in the sacroiliac joint, not from a pinched sciatic nerve. Pain over the outside of the hip is generally from a sick gluteus medias tendon and often misdiagnosed as bursitis.
How can you be sure you’re isolating the correct source of pain, finding the right relief, and not wasting valuable time and money on unnecessary treatment?
1.    Be aware. Pain may be referred in another area of your body even if it’s actually stemming from your hip. Don’t be fooled if you are experiencing what may seem to be random pain – the source could be your hip.
2.    Don’t be afraid to speak up. Advocate for yourself — be sure to talk to your physician about all your aches and pains, and don’t hesitate to share your hunch that the perpetrator could be your hip.
3.    Analyze your coping behavior and take action. Do you find yourself continuously shifting your weight to find a more comfortable position – often called “theater-cocktail party” syndrome? Have it checked out. This may point to hip problems, which when accurately identified and treated, could present permanent relief.
Don’t continue to suffer – your symptoms may worsen, leading to more complex treatment as time passes, amounting to misused time and resources. Armed with these helpful tips, take action to identify the correct culprit and (finally) get help for your hip pain!
Conditions most likely to cause hip pain:
• Tendonitis: inflammation or irritation of the tendons usually caused by overuse.
• Muscle or tendon strain: repeated activities put strain on the muscles, tendons, and ligaments that support the hips, causing pain or preventing normal functionality.
• Arthritis: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are among the most common causes of hip pain, due to inflammation of the hip joint and the breakdown of the cartilage that normally cushions your hip bones.
• Bursitis: inflammation of the small, fluid-filled sacs (bursae) that protect muscles and tendons, irritating the hip joint.
Dr. Craig Chappell, DO, is board certified in Family Practice and Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine, Neuromuscular-skeletal Medicine and board certified in Sports Medicine. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Chappell, please call: 352-512-0907, or visit www.fhmllc.net for more information.

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