The relationship between spinal stenosis and hip pain

Although spinal stenosis often causes leg pain, some patients also experience spinal stenosis and hip pain. Hip pain is most commonly experienced by patients who have spinal stenosis in the lumbar section of the spine. Although it does happen, patients with spinal stenosis in the cervical or thoracic sections of the spine are less likely to experience hip pain as a symptom.

What does spinal stenosis-related hip pain feel like?

For some patients, spinal stenosis-related hip pain is mild and occasional. For others, the pain is severe and increases gradually over an extended period of time. It is also possible for the hip pain to extend through the buttocks and the groin or radiate down through the legs.

Generally, spinal stenosis-related hip pain only affects one side of the body. It typically occurs when the space inside the spinal canal and between vertebrae narrows and compresses a nerve root in the lower (lumbar) spine. Nerve roots are structures that branch off the spinal cord on the left and right sides of the spinal column and travel out to provide motor and sensory function to the rest of the body. The pain caused by nerve root compression is often limited to the side of the body served by the nerve root being compressed.

What can help keep spinal stenosis-related hip pain under control?

Depending on the severity of the hip pain, patients may be able to manage it with conservative therapies and small lifestyle changes. For instance, a doctor may suggest the following:

  • Taking over-the-counter medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen, which can help reduce inflammation and pain.
  • Undergoing physical therapy, which can strengthen the muscles around the hips while helping stabilize the spine.
  • Wearing a temporary lumbar brace or corset, which can provide additional support while restricting motions that could make the hip pain worse.

If the hip pain persists after several months of conservative treatment methods, surgical options may be an appropriate next step. Laser Spine Institute performs minimally invasive spine surgery for the treatment of spinal stenosis that can be performed on an outpatient basis using a less than 1-inch incision. Contact us today to learn more.

We can help you receive a free MRI review* to find out if you are a potential candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute.

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