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Back Problems Message Board

Back Problems Board Index

Have you had any imaging studies done for your hip? Do you have pain in the front or back of the hip? Typically, pain in the front of the hip correlates to a hip problem and pain in the buttock area more commonly stems from sciatic pain, though of course, you could have bursitis or a stretched ligament.

I injured my hip at 14, went undiagnosed for 16 years, and have since had three hip arthroscopies to repair a labral tear, bad bone morphology (FAI), and a full thickness acetabular delamination. During the time my hip was in pain, I had poor posture, sitting on my tailbone to relieve the pain in the front of the hip. However, during this time I also experienced an annular tear at L4-L5, leading to spinal and foraminal stenosis and now a fusion. I have also had a recurrent cervical herniation (first symptoms at age 15). I can't imagine that the lumbar and cervical issues are not in some way related to posturing and compensating for the hip problem.

With that history in mind, I would recommend starting with a sports medicine orthopedic surgeon or a physiatrist, and I would shop around until I found one who listened and was willing to diagnose all of my problems with a full workup. I would use this person to coordinate my care. However, if you determine that you have structural problems that need repair, I would recommend seeing a specialist for that body area to perform any needed surgery (spine specialist/hip specialist), then return to the sports medicine doctor to coordinate.

The sports medicine orthopedic surgeon I see is the team doctor for a major sports team. I was a bit concerned before my visit that he would not treat my case seriously because I do not earn a million dollars a year. However, he spent an hour with me on a Friday afternoon, making sure that I did not suffer any leg-length discrepancies and really trying to target the origin of my pain. When my back was in really bad shape, the urgent care doctors all thought I had a sprain, since I had no acute injury, but this doctor took my pain seriously and sent me for an MR. When it wastime to have surgery, he had the presence of mind to send me to the appropriate specialist.

I hope that some of this helps; I don't know if you have any further diagnosis than arthritis and spondylosis (I think). I am not anywhere near 100 percent, but I feel like I am on my way! Also, if you do have arthritis, try to keep those joints moving even if you need medication to allow you to move (at least in the beginning). The more you are able to mobilize your joints, the better they will fare in the long-term.
Welcome to the board.

First of all, when you hear a doctor say you have arthritis in your back, it does not necessarily present in the same way as arthritis in other joints in the body. There is a term, spondylosis, that is bandied about by doctors to describe, not only osteoarthritis, but also degenerative back issues and lower back pain.

(I remember way back when I first asked a doctor about my pain and was told I had arthritis, I couldn't figure out how it could hurt so much. It wasn't anything like what I had in my hands!)

In general, doctors are referring to a degenerative process in the spine, lumbar, thoracic or cervical...and I suspect this is the "shorthand" your doctor may be using to tell you what is causing your pain.

This degenerative process can affect the discs and the facet joints, which are the only synovial joints in the spine, and are subject to some of the same wear and tear issues as the other joints at the hip, knee, ankle, thumb, etc.

You may be having hip pain from a problem stemming from your hip, as the other poster suggested, but it could also be coming from a lumbar disc slightly higher up than the ones that cause back of the leg pain. Actually lower lumbar spinal nerves that become irritated or compressed can also cause pain that typically runs across the buttock to the hip attachment...this is very common and it is irritated by standing or walking.

Often people with a herniated disc at L4-L5 start out thinking they have a hip problem, such as hip bursitis. My MIL was treated for a couple years, receiving injections into the bursa, only to find out her hip was fine, but the disc between the L4 and L5 vertebra had disintegrated and the L4 and L5 nerves were compressed.

If you need specific information about the cervical area, there is another board, "Spinal Cord..." where most of the people with cervical issues hang out. You might want to post there, too, to get some further information.

Generally people with your issues undergo a course of physical therapy and are given oral medication for the pain. I series of 3 steroid injections are often offered to calm the area down and shrink whatever inflammation may be going on. But usually with arthritic issues, it is a matter of learning how to live with it and learning to manage the pain. Surgery is only a last resort.

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