Back Pain May Mimic Hip Joint Arthritis, Know From Doctor How To Distinguish Between Them

There is a fine line between lower back pain and hip pain. Can an arthritic hip cause back pain? Know the answer from a joint replacement expert.

Chanchal Sengar
Written by: Chanchal SengarPublished at: Aug 10, 2020
Back Pain May Mimic Hip Joint Arthritis, Know From Doctor How To Distinguish Between Them

The prevalence of back pain is not new and uncommon these days, with a higher proportion of the younger population coming forward with the complaints of back pain. Attributing to various reasons including family history, age-related degeneration, acquired infections like arthritis, osteoporosis, etc. are several reasons for the onset of back pain. While the severity may vary from mild, moderate to severe, many young professionals (in equal number as the geriatric population) have been coming up with complaints of severe and recurrent back pain during the lockdown. We reached out to Dr. Akhilesh Yadav, Senior Transplant Head for Joint Replacement (Hip & Knee) at Center for Knee and Hip care, Vaishali, Ghaziabad for more details.

Do You Know The Risks Associated With Back Pain?

One of the major aspects that are making the professionals succumb to back pain is work from home. While most of the working professionals always dreamt of working from home but amid the lockdown, this time during the lockdown, improper posture, seeking comfort zone while working are major reasons for back pain.

Lower Back pain is associated with modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors such as obesity, lack of exercise, bone density, occupational injury, the inclusion of poor ergonomics. The physical ability arising from pain and loss of functional capacity reduces the quality of life and increases the risk of further morbidity.

Inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, Osteoarthritis, etc. are one of the leading causes of joint problems among the geriatric population and accounts for over 50% of the hip joint complications. Although these conditions can affect any joint but pain in the lower back is a major reason affecting the hip joint. Apart from treatment, one should take the right diet for osteoarthritis and hip joint arthritis.

Why Joint Replacement Surgeries Are Common In India? 

There has been an exponential rise in the number of patients seeking some form of joint replacement in the last five years. This may be attributed to advanced minimally invasive procedures providing a safe, effective and active lifestyle to the patients. It is also evident from the recent data of Joint Registry (ISHKS) that over 40,000 joint replacements have taken place last year and every one in five of them opt for total hip replacement, accounting for over 20% of the total cases. The data also suggest that of the 8000 patients undergoing hip replacement, 60% are women above the age of 60 years.

On an average, around one lakh cases are done in India every year and with the current scenario, the numbers are expected to increase at least three folds in the next five years. With hip replacement patients can resume a bear normal life and can function independently.

Also Read: Here Are A Few Tips To Manage Pain At Home

How to distinguish between back pain and hip joint arthritis?

Though back pain can be caused due to an underlying condition, it is necessary to identify the root cause that may affect the hip joint. The following symptoms may help in identifying that the hip joint is getting degraded –

  • Pain in the lower back that seems to radiate through the thighs to the knees.
  • Pain is more during the morning than throughout the day
  • Pain in the hip joint including the outer thighs and buttocks
  • Stiffness in the hip causing difficulty in walking and other day-to-day activities.

Timely evaluation can help in improving the treatment outcomes. The treating surgeon will analyze the complete medical history, physical examination, radiographic examinations through X-rays may be done to confirm any abnormality with the joint. Besides, chronic back pain is also a sign of spinal stenosis.

What Are The Treatment Options?


Depending on the diagnosis, severity of pain the doctor may prescribe the treatment module. Medication and physical therapy may be advised if the hip joint is less degraded. Medications include anti-inflammatory medications, corticosteroids and injections.


Physiotherapy or exercise programs are aimed to improve flexibility and muscle strength, and weight reduction regime may also be provided in case the patient is overweight. There are some physiotherapy exercises for neck pain that you can do at home.


Surgery remains the last resort in case of severe chronic pain. Surgery can help to reduce pain, enhance the quality of life, and improve an individual's ability to perform everyday activities with no restrictions.

Also Read: Stress Induced Arthritis: Symptoms and How To Treat The Condition

Minimally Invasive Hip Replacement Surgery

It is an appropriate treatment option if the hip joint is severely damaged or if pain and swelling reduce motion in joints and affects the quality of life. Hip replacement surgery is one of the most successful modern orthopaedic surgical procedures and it is performed with smaller incisions which mean quicker recovery. During a hip replacement surgery, the surgeon removes damaged cartilage and bone from the hip joint and replaces them with man-made parts.

Back pain and hip joint arthritis are quite similar and you should know the difference between them. Hope this article helped you understood the fine line between them.

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