WHAT’S YOUR SPINE GOT TO DO WITH ACHEY HIPS?Jun 25, 2022
Today we're talking about achey hips.
This topic was inspired by various Facebook back pain groups that I'm in.
I appreciate seeing what friends and colleagues are up to on FB/Meta, and I like to touch base with my interest groups too.
If you visit my Retrain Back Pain Group, you'll get updates on freshly-released articles, podcasts, new events, upcoming livestreams, surprise special deals and plenty of interesting topics for discussion.
Here, I'll make it easy for you: Just click this link to get to the Retrain Back Pain Group and then click join to come hang out with us!
As I mentioned before, I'm also a member of several other back pain, anatomy and neurology groups.
I appreciate hearing where peoples' pain points are and whenever possible I chime in with some helpful words of wisdom too.
Every couple of weeks someone posts in one of these back pain groups about their hip pain. Invariably, other members of the group chime in and it goes something like this:
- My hip(s) ache so bad I want to cry
- Sometimes my hip (or leg) goes numb and I don't know why
- Pain, deep in the hip that's hard to describe
- Frontal hip discomfort, radiating down the front of my thigh
- Lack of strength in one hip
- Does anyone else feel like your hips hurt as much as your back?
These fine humans are venting online in the Meta Group about their hip pain because they're uncomfortable, frustrated and don't know where else to turn.
Hold on to your hats though because here are some of the things their medical doctors are telling them in response to their hip pain:
- It's completely unrelated
- It's not your back, it's your hip. Get a hip MRI
- It has nothing to do with your ___
- Try taking this antidepressant
- You're focusing too much on your pain
- It's definitely not related to your back surgery
- You're too pretty to be in this much pain
I swear, I am not making this up!
These are real words that medical doctors are saying to their patients in pain.
The irony is that when you look at the anatomical diagram above, it's easy to see how your femoral nerve passes right through your hip joint!
You don't have to be a medical doctor to see that there must be some connection....
SO WHAT'S YOUR HIP GOT TO DO WITH YOUR SPINE?
As it turns out your hip pain may have plenty to do with your spine.
Here's a few bullets on why we should pay attention:
- Your femoral nerve is the longest nerve in your body, originating from your lumbar plexus and then branching out to become your saphenous nerve
- It tracks down the front and inside (medial aspect) of your hip and leg
- Your femoral nerve originates from L2-L4 (where most people with low back pain have "stuff" going on) and you can see from the diagram that it passes right under your inguinal ligament
- It's often sandwiched between your psoas and iliacus hip flexor muscles - which is why it can lead to feelings of weakness or reduced motor control, especially when walking up and especially down steps
- It provides motor branches to the front of your leg, including your inner thigh, quad, knee and hip. That's right, folks, your femoral nerve innervates your hip joint and provides proprioceptive feedback about the joint
FEMORAL NERVE IMPINGEMENT
Symptoms of femoral nerve impingement or damage can include:
- Loss of control
- Reduced quad strength
- Reduced hip flexion
- and/or a variety of sensory impairment anywhere from the hip to front of your thigh to the inside of your calf!
So, I just want to say that if you've been experiencing lumbar spine stuff and your hip starts to act funky, it may or may not be related to your spine but it is definitely not all in your head!
At this point some of you might be wondering, "What can I do about it?"
There's a bunch of things you can try to alleviate the uncomfortableness, though no one thing works for everyone.
HERE ARE 5 EASY THINGS TO TRY
- Sit less
- Sit differently than your habit
- Walk more
- Walk differently than your habit
- Strengthen your glutes, hamstrings and hip rotators
If the above list has you scratching your head, that's a good sign you could use some help.
You don't have to figure this it alone.
See how much we've already uncovered together?!
I'm here for you, just email me back to start a friendly conversation.