Ask the expert-- Back and hip pain
Gregory Sirounian, MD, is an orthopedic surgeon at Banner Estrella Medical Center and a physician at West Valley Orthopedics, located at 13555 W. McDowell Road, Suite 302.
Question: My mother had major back surgery and is now having major hip pain. What can we do?
Answer: First, I would urge your mother to return to her spine (back) surgeon. If that is not possible, evaluation with an orthopedic specialist, primary care physician, or rehabilitation doctor is recommended. There are several reasons why somebody might get severe hip pain, but in her particular case, the pain could be related to her surgery or to her history of back problems, and her back would be one of the first places to look for a source.
Hip pain and back pain can have several different causes, and often, the two will overlap, even travel from one place to the other. Arthritis, muscle strain, or a pinched nerve in the back can cause pain down into the hip and leg. Arthritis (cartilage wear), bursitis (inflammation), or muscle strains in and around the hip can also cause severe hip pain. There are also less common, unrelated causes for hip or back pain, including vascular (circulation) disease, hernias, or other problems inside the abdomen (belly.) Her doctor can at least help rule out the back or hip as a source.
Back and hip problems become increasingly common as we age. They are often preventable and can usually be managed by more conservative, non-surgical means, at least initially. Regular exercise (stretching, strengthening, and cardiovascular) and maintaining a healthy weight are essential. Protecting the back and hips during heavy lifting is also important. During lifting, people should bend at the knees, not just at the waist alone.
Most people who experience back or hip pain can often visit the primary care physician first. If necessary, he or she can refer to an orthopedic surgeon or other appropriate specialist.