Hip pain is a common complaint, and a frequent reason patients seek help from their doctors. There are a number of conditions or injuries that can lead to pain around the hip, including:\n\nHip (femoroacetabular) impingement\nGroin strain\nLabral tears\nDislocation or injury to the surrounding muscles\nArthritis (the most common cause)\n\nPatients with suspect pain around the hip seek an expert’s help for a variety of symptoms, which include:\n\nGroin pain\nPain in the joint area, specifically in a “C” shape\nPain on the outside of the hip directly over joint\n\nDharmesh Vyas, MD, orthopaedic surgeon, states, “While these conditions are common, due to the anatomy of the hip, patients often mistake hip pain for what is actually back pain.” The hip joint sits behind the groin area, which is why groin pain is commonly associated with hip pain. The spine runs from the base of your skull down to the tip of the tailbone and contains nerves. When these lower spine nerves are aggravated patients may mistake their back pain for hip pain.\nSymptoms of Lower Back Pain\nLow back pain will affect 60 to 80 percent of people at some point in their lives. Much of the pain experienced by that group is caused by a herniated disc pressing on a spinal nerve. Those symptoms may include:\n\nPain shooting down the leg\nIncreased pain when bending or sitting\nNumbness or weakness in the leg\/foot\n\nIn addition to herniated discs, low back pain may be a result of:\n\nRuptured discs\nIrritation or inflammation of nerves\nSpinal stenosis\n\nDiagnosing the Source of the Pain\nThe first step to correctly treating the pain is to receive an accurate diagnosis. Dr. Vyas explains, “When I see a patient seeking treatment for suspected hip pain, the first thing I do is conduct a physical exam and take a history.” A history of the pain will include asking questions such as:\n\nWhere is the pain located?\nWhen does the pain occur? With activity? At rest?\nWhat type of pain is occurring? Is it sharp? Is it achy, etc.?\n\nAfter the initial appointment, your doctor may request an x-ray in order to take a closer look at the bones. Based on the physical exam, x-ray, and possibly an MRI your doctor should be able to make an accurate diagnosis and suggest an individualized treatment plan.\nTreatment for Back or Hip Pain\nDepending on the diagnosis, treatment options can include:\n\nActivity modification\nAnti-inflammatory medication\nPhysical therapy\nReferral to a specialist\n\nFor most patients, surgery is the last option, since medication and physical therapy typically have a high success rate. However, if you are experiencing pain that lasts longer than four to six weeks, you should consult your doctor.\nTo make an appointment with UPMC Orthopaedic Care, call 412-687-3900.