Lumbar and hip pain: what is the link?

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Often people go to the doctor to ask for help with a hip pain. It is common for pain at this level to be linked to a condition in the lumbar spine. Also, the hip joint is closely related to the lower back. In this article, we will see together the link between lower back pain and hip pain.

Lumbar and hip anatomy

The lumbar spine

La spine consists of different parts:

  • 7 vertebrae cervical;
  • 12 dorsal, or thoracic, vertebrae;
  • 5 lumbar vertebrae ;
  • 5 fused vertebrae lying in the sacrum;
  • 4 vertebrae located in the coccyx.

Le lower back is it called the lumbar spine. It is formed by the vertebral bones, the intervertebral discs, nerves, muscles, ligaments and blood vessels. Each level of the lumbar spine is numbered from top to bottom L1 à L5.

La spinal cord ends at the top of the lumbar spine. The remaining nerve roots, called the cauda equina, run down the rest of the spinal canal.

What about the hip?

La hip is a joint where the head of the femur fits into a rounded cavity in the pelvis. It is also called asjoint femoroacetabular.

THEjoint de la hip consists of several basic components:

  • hip bone, including femur and pelvic bones;
  • hip joint cartilage which decreases the friction between the bones and allows a smooth gliding movement;
  • hip muscles that support the joint and allow movement;
  • ligaments et hip tendons, tough, fibrous tissues that bind bone to bone and muscle to bone.
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This ball joint structure allows for three distinct types of flexibility.

  • Hip flexion and extension: move the leg back and forth.
  • Hip abduction and adduction: move the leg to the side (abduction) and inwards towards the other leg (adduction).
  • Rotation: point the toes inward (internal rotation) or outward (external rotation) then move the straightened leg in the direction of the toes.

How are the hip and lower back connected?

Anatomically, the hip and the back connect through the sacroiliac joint. This joint connects the hip bones to the sacrum, the bone between the lumbar spine and the tailbone.

There are also muscles that connect the lower back and the pelvis or femur (like the psoas).

What causes hip pain?

Many conditions can cause hip pain.

Osteoarthritis of the hip (coxarthrosis)

THEOsteoarthritis from the hip is frequent. It can affect people of any age, but older people are more likely to get it.

The factors of the disease are age (aging of bones and joints), family history, intense sports practice, trauma, malformation of the hip.

It causes joint pain and swelling.

Bursitis (inflammation of the bursa)

The bursae provide cushioning for our joints. These are fluid-filled sacs located inside the hip. They are also found inside the knee, wrist, elbow, etc.

These bursae can become irritated and swollen with injury and arthritis. When this happens, a painful condition called bursitis can develop.

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La tendinopathy is the umbrella term for any tendon condition that causes pain and swelling.

Tendons are rope-like tissues. Their function is to attach muscles to bones. When muscles contract and relax, tendons and bones move.

A tendinopathy develops when you injure or overuse a tendon.


Overuse or trauma can damage muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments.

Athletes who perform repetitive motions are especially prone to overuse injuries.

Older people are also more likely to break their hips because the bones become more fragile with age. Types of hip injuries you can sustain can include:

  • dislocated hip;
  • Torn Labrum (labral tears: damage to the cartilage in the hip socket);
  • psoas tendonitis;
  • la gluteus medius tendonitis.

Lumbar injury

The symptoms of some lumbar pathologies may radiate to the hip. In the most frequent cases, it is the herniated disc which causes nerve compression.

The link between lower back and hip pain

Lower back pain is usually felt in the back itself. However, due to associated nerves being an integral part of the lower back, pain can frequently radiate or travel further along the nerves.

We are talking about radiated pain when pain starts in one area and can be felt in different parts of the body.

La radiated hip pain is usually due to damage to the lumbar spine or lower back muscles. If the nerves are damaged in the lumbar spine, it can cause pain in the hip area. The sciatica caused by a herniated disc in the lower back is the best known cause in this context. Sciatica creates pain in the lower back that extends through the hip.

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Conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can also cause referred pain in the hip.

La spinal stenosis is also sometimes the source of hip pain. It is a condition related to the degeneration of the lower back which creates a narrowing of the spinal canal. It frequently causes pain in the hip area.

It should be noted that a herniated disc can cause sciatica, just like a stenosis. It can also be the result of degenerative changes to the disc.


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