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Hip or sciatica

BlueSkiesBBlueSkies Posts: 61
When I was standing washing pots and pans this morning, the pain I had in my buttock was so severe that I thought wasn't going to be able to finish the pans. I tried propping my leg up on the island behind me, straightening my leg, toes and foot sideways. It helped a lot, but obviously isn't a position I can hold for long. This made me wonder if maybe the pain in my rear isn't really sciatic...maybe it's a hip pain of some type. It doesn't hurt on the outside of my hip, but on the right upper buttock when I'm sitting, right mid buttock when I'm standing. The doctor said I had some arthritis in my right hip but that it was not significant compared to the back issues, but I was just thinking that if it is my hip, then maybe there's an injection or something that I haven't tried. Any easy way to discern between hip pain versus sciatic pain? I have been trying to wean off my Norco, and today is starting out quite difficult.


  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,324
    Some times it is difficult to distinguish between sciatic pain and arthritis pain in the hip.
    The biggest difference for me was that sciatica always went all the way down my leg. With my hip pain, it stayed around the buttocks and traveled just above the knee.

    Once I had my hip totally replaced, that pain went away
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Hi BlueSkies,

    I am wondering if what you are feeling is sciatica due to your arthritic hip? I have heard that these two things can be linked--but I am not a doctor, so best look into it. What are your symptoms? Do you get burning pain? Tingling? I agree with the previous poster in that sciatica usually radiates right down below the knee. Also, if it is a feeling in the buttock, piriformis syndrome comes to mind, but I believe a number of other things can cause pain in the buttock as well, like a slipped spinal disk, etc. Perhaps, if you can, look into getting more testing to determine the cause of pain with your doctor. Like an MRI, etc. Good-luck!
  • BlueSkiesBBlueSkies Posts: 61
    edited 06/27/2012 - 9:32 AM
    I had pain going down my right leg and giving me a numb foot several weeks ago, and then I got 2 epidural steroid injections and the pain went away (except for my back). It is a boring pain, i.e., like a stake was hammered into my rear and is stuck there. I will look up piriormis syndrome (I don't know what that is). I go back to the doctor in a few weeks, and I may ask him to investigate the pain as a hip issue.
  • biobabe131bbiobabe131 Posts: 47
    edited 06/27/2012 - 1:25 PM
    I have heard of others who experience numbness can occur with sciatica. I don't get numbness so much, but tingling moreso. Piriformis syndrome has to do with the piriformis muscle in the rear being tight and pressing on the sciatic nerve (the longest nerve in the leg). You should be able to find some info. on it online.
    Best of luck to you! I hope you figure things out soon.
  • I have had many issues with hip pain. This is what I found out. Yes sciatica does appear in the hip area, sometimes in the groin depending on what level of your spine is involved. My personal experience is that I have nerve damage in my right leg (L5 nerve)and my glutes don't work very well. Therefore as I walk, stand. try to bend that leg at the hip, it is not working properly and the weak muscles themselves produce pain. I'm calling on many muscles to hold me up and that in itself has caused proplems. I now have a slight labral tear in my hip. So if your leg has any weakness due to compression in your spine, other things locally at the hip can be happening. But if the leg weakness continues, it's just a vicious cycle. How are you doing coming off your meds?
  • BlueSkiesBBlueSkies Posts: 61
    edited 06/28/2012 - 7:59 AM
    I am having pain in my groin! It's weird...that's new. I don't know if my leg has any weakness that would make me walk differently as you do. I haven't noticed it or been told that, but it could be that, as you say, other muscles compensate. I don't know. Will they fix your labral tear? Can you get some type of injection straight into that joint?

    The weaning off the meds isn't going as well as I had hoped. :( First off, it is too fast, and I have the "jibblies" as I call them (restless legs, etc). Secondly, I hurt. A lot. Even the massage hurt. I'm feeling a bit defeated about it at the moment, but I will figure something out. Someone on here recommended cognitive therapy, and I may look into that. When I start to hurt, I can't just take one 5 mg pill and wait to see what it's going to do because I get really scared that it won't work, get anxious, and take another one just in case...etc. Maybe therapy will help me at least nix that. Thank you for asking though.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,324
    About 18 months before we realized I needed a hip replacement, my initial pain was in the groin area. We all thought it was a groin pull , so my physical therapist and deep tissue Thai man worked on that. About 9 months into this, my Deep tissue guy didnt think it was the groin, he started working on the I-Band in my thigh (that hurt). Finally, he said, no to both of those.

    Then the sciatica type pain in my buttocks started daily. Finally, a MRI and X-Ray determined the extent of the arthritis deterioration in my hip. That was the answer for me!

    Hopefully, you can have the correct doctor look at you to come up with a real formal diagnosis, mine is only based on my own personal experiences.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,324
    Here is a great site dealing with Arthritis:

    You can register for this site and browse the medical information. At this point, there are no patient forums, this is more of a pure medical site
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Well I have groin pain too. But I have been to a new physio that specializes in how the pelvis works and she could tell right away that the way I was standing was pushing my femur into an incorrect position and it was causing my groin pain. I was trying to do a pelvic tilt while I stood, walked etc. One side would tilt but not the right side. She told me to stand with my butt sticking out a bit and that has taken pressure off the femur in the joint. It is more distributed over my quads in the front. But again still a wobbly leg but lessened groin pain. I probably won't get my tear fixed, waiting for an ortho appt with the top guy in Vancouver for tears. 2 years to see him. I don't know how successful it would be. If the muscles that help keep the joint in place aren't working properly??? May just cause more problems. I do not have inflammation in the joint and very little cartilage breakdown so an injection won't help.(so says the physiatrist.). Do you take any nerve meds such as Lyrica etc? But keep your chin up if getting off the meds is important to you. It's always weighing quality of life, risks, side effects etc. Each person makes their personal choice.
  • Thank you very much for the site link! I saw that there is a transcript somewhere of a conversation with a Dr. Harrington about spondylolisthesis, but it isn't available for some reason (404 message). I reported it via the link, so hopefully it will be available soon.

    I am now having the pain down my leg and my foot is numb again, so I think it is just the ESI wearing off and it is my sciatica again.

    In related news, I called my doctor to refill my Norco since I was weaning myself too fast, getting sick, and hurting a lot. Apparently he really took me at my word when I responded to his admonitions about hydrocodone by saying I didn't want to take it any more because his nurse said she would refill it next week (way past the run-out date even taking it as slow as I have) because "If you're not going to have the surgery, you'll need to return to your family doctor". That makes sense, but my family doctor has known me for 13 years and he will give me unlimited amounts of pain meds. I don't want that either. Sigh. Maybe I will have to succumb and get a pain management team. Ugh. At least there is a good one close by, and I'm sure my doc will refer me there.
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