Hip bursitis is one of the most common causes of hip pain, affecting about 2 out of every 1,000 people every year. Hip bursitis can cause pain and stiffness in your hip, but it can also cause referred pain in other parts of your body, including the back.
Whether you are a seasoned athlete or simply someone who experiences occasional hip pain, knowing the connection between hip bursitis and back pain can help you understand the steps you can take to manage bursitis-related symptoms like back pain. Physical therapy can target your hip bursitis pain while improving strength and range of motion in your back.
What is hip bursitis?
Hip bursitis is a condition that occurs when your bursae, small, fluid-filled sacs near the hip joint, become inflamed and painful. Bursae help reduce the friction between bones by releasing synovial fluid that encourages joints to glide over each other easily.
When your hip bursae become inflamed, they can cause pain, swelling and limited mobility in the joint. One of the most common types of hip bursitis occurs when the bursae at the point of the hip become irritated and inflamed.
Symptoms of hip bursitis can include:
- Achiness or stiffness in the hip.
- Pain after movement.
Hip bursitis may be felt in the front, side or back of the hip and may radiate down your thigh or into your groin. In some cases, the pain may be referred to other parts of the body, such as your lower back, knee or ankle.
There are several factors that can contribute to the development of hip bursitis, including overuse, injury, infection and underlying medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. Overuse is the most common cause of hip bursitis, and it typically occurs in individuals who participate in repetitive activities that put stress on the hip joint, such as running, jumping or playing sports. Injuries to the hip joint can also result in bursitis, and in some cases, infections can spread to the bursae and cause inflammation.
An active lifestyle, healthy diet and warmups before exercise can help prevent hip bursitis from developing. However, if you are already experiencing hip bursitis symptoms, exercises and stretches can help ease your pain and hasten recovery. Physical therapy is an important part of the recovery process and can help to strengthen the muscles surrounding the hip joint and improve flexibility, reducing the risk of future episodes of bursitis.
Why does bursitis cause back pain?
Hip bursitis can cause back pain because of its close proximity to your lower back muscles and nerve roots. As mentioned above, the hip bursae, small fluid-filled sacs located near your hip joint, act as a cushion between your bones and soft tissue, and when they become inflamed, they can cause pain and discomfort in nearby areas, including the lower back. This is because the nerve fibers in the hip region can send signals of pain to the lower back, leading to referred pain in that area.
It’s important to note that your back pain could be caused by a completely separate back injury, unrelated to your hip bursitis. It’s important to speak to a medical professional like a physical therapist to help you determine the cause of your back pain and whether hip bursitis is the culprit.
How can you manage bursitis-related back pain?
Bursitis-related back pain can be frustrating. To manage it, you can try the following techniques:
- Rest — Avoid activities that cause pain in your hip or back, and take breaks as needed.
- Ice — Ice can be an effective way to manage the symptoms of hip bursitis, including back pain, by reducing pain and swelling surrounding your joint.
- Lifestyle changes — Maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding activities that put repetitive stress on your hips can help prevent bursitis from recurring.
- Physical therapy — By reducing inflammation in your hip, you may be able to reduce your back pain. Physical therapy exercises can be an effective way to manage your hip bursitis and ease your back pain. Modalities like aquatic therapy can address the underlying muscle imbalances between your hip joint and your back, improving your joint mobility and strengthening your connective tissue.
Alliance PTP is ready to help you find top-notch PT for your hip bursitis-related back pain
Is your hip bursitis causing your back pain? Physical therapists can help you pinpoint the root of your back pain so you can get started on effective treatment. At Alliance Physical Therapy Partners, we’re proudly bringing together physical therapy practices across the country to help people get the high-quality PT they need.
Want to see a physical therapist in person? We can put you in touch with an Alliance PTP partner that’s close to you and that can help you address your bursitis-related back pain.
Not keen on in-person PT sessions or not close to an Alliance PTP partner? No worries. We also offer effective and affordable virtual physical therapy through our Agile Virtual Physical Therapy platform.
Come find help for your back pain today!