The Correlation 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. In some cases, the hip pain can even 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; these nerves continue to branch out and 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 physician may suggest the following:
- Taking over-the-counter medications (such as aspirin or ibuprofen), which can help reduce inflammation and pain.
- Enrolling in 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 can help you develop a plan of action. Contact us today to learn more about our minimally invasive, outpatient procedures and to find out if you may be a candidate for treatment at Laser Spine Institute.