Everyone experiences occasional back or hip pain from lifting too heavy or from other common activities. However, for some people, this pain can last for a long time and become a significant source of stress. And for others, it can be a sign of a more serious condition.
Lower back and left hip pain can be caused by a variety of factors. Most often, it’s from tight muscles, weak back and core muscles, or injured ligaments. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to help reduce your pain and get back to your usual routine.
What is lower back pain?
Back pain is a common problem, affecting an estimated 50% of people during their lifetime. It’s often described as a throbbing or burning sensation in the lower back accompanied by tenderness and pain. In some cases, it can radiate into the hips or legs.
Back pain can be the result of a number of causes, including:
- Trauma to the back
- Muscular back pain
Sciatica pain is caused by a pinched nerve in the lower back. The pain often feels like electric shocks down the back of the leg.
Symptoms of lower back pain
The best way to determine whether or not you have lower back pain is to take a detailed history of your symptoms and examine your lower back. Conduct a thorough inspection of your lower back to look for any lumps or bumps, discoloration, tenderness, or other signs of injury.
The following are some of the most common symptoms of lower back pain:
- sharp, shooting, or burning pain in the lower back
- sensation of weakness or numbness in the legs
- difficulty sleeping
- difficulty sitting or standing
- difficulty performing routine activities
These symptoms might indicate a serious back problem, but they can also be caused by other conditions. Examine your symptoms carefully to determine whether or not you have lower back pain.
Causes of lower back pain
While back pain is largely a matter of perception, there are a few underlying causes of back pain that may make it feel worse than it is. These include:
- Muscle spasms
- Sedentary lifestyle
All of these factors can contribute to lower back pain, but they don’t actually cause the pain themselves. Instead, they cause the pain syndrome, which is a cluster of symptoms that seem to get worse with every passing day. It can be difficult to distinguish real back pain from these symptoms, making it all the more important to seek treatment when you think you have a problem.
How to treat lower back and left hip pain
Like any other disease or disorder, back pain can be treated effectively with a combination of medications and healthy lifestyle changes. There are also a variety of natural remedies that can offer effective pain relief.
Try these tips for lower back and left hip pain relief.
The most important thing you can do for lower back and left hip pain is to remain active. It’s always best to start an exercise program while you’re pain free because you’re likely to feel most like yourself. And staying active will help you avoid pushing your pain and discomfort aside and thinking you can “work through it.”
Lifting weights is a great way to strengthen your core muscles and prevent future back and hip pain. But make sure you do it correctly. Avoid lifting with your lower back. Instead, keep your back neutral and flat no matter how you’re lifting. And make sure to keep your knees and elbows straight when you’re doing squats, lunges, and other lower body exercises.
If weight lifting is not part of your routine, there are other ways to remain active. Swimming is a low impact activity that can be used to strengthen your core muscles and prevent back pain. Yoga can also be a great way to stay active and prevent back and hip pain.
Strengthen your core muscles
Strong core muscles can prevent lower back pain by keeping your spine in its proper alignment. Yes, core exercises can also target your abs, but the main function is to strengthen your back and abdominal muscles.
A good way to strengthen your core muscles is with stability exercises. Try to find exercises that target your abdominals, back, and pelvic floor (the muscles that support your pelvic organs). Some examples include side planks, leg raises, and crunches. Be sure to choose options that target your core muscles rather than your abs, as your core is the center of your torso and the foundation for your abdominal muscles.
Get a massage
A massage can help your muscles relax and get rid of any knots they may be holding on to. It can also help increase blood flow to your muscles, which gives them the oxygen and nutrients they need to heal. There are lots of ways to get a massage.
You can visit a massage therapist, go to a spa, or use YouTube to look for tutorials on how to give yourself a massage. One thing to remember is that you should never massage your back or joints if you have back or hip pain because this can make these areas worse. To get rid of any knots or tightness in your muscles, try to relax during the massage.
Do light weight resistance training
Sometimes referred to as “resistance training,” light weight resistance training can help reduce lower back and hip pain because it helps your muscles get stronger. You can do this at home with a resistance band or tubing, or in a fitness class. Light resistance training is safe for people with chronic pain, so it’s a great option for people who can’t participate in more intense forms of exercise.
Stop doing the wrong exercises
You know those exercises that you think you should be doing but they’re actually hurting you? Stop doing them. It may shock you but there are lots of other exercises that work the same muscles and don’t cause pain. For example, crunches, leg raises, and planks can all be difficult and painful on your back, but they’re not the same thing as a back squat.
Learn proper lifting technique
Learning proper lifting technique is essential for avoiding back and hip pain because poor technique can hurt your back, shoulders, and/or core muscles. A good place to start is by reviewing proper lifting techniques with a trainer. After that, you can watch tutorials online or look for books with diagrams in your local bookstore.
When you’re active, your body produces a lot of heat as muscles work to fuel activity and stay warm. But when your back is hurt or you’re experiencing other discomfort, you may not be able to tell if you’re overheating. Overheating can cause your blood vessels to dilate, which can make it difficult for your body to regulate temperature.
This can lead to dizziness, fainting, and even seizures. To prevent this, be sure to drink lots of water, wear loose fitting, light-colored clothes when possible, and avoid heavy sweating by pacing yourself.
Staying in one place for too long can put a lot of stress on your back and hip joints. Avoid sitting for long periods of time when possible, and move around while working or studying.
To keep your back and hip joints lubricated and mobile, do gentle stretching while you’re sitting and when you’re standing. Stretching can be done while you watch TV or while you’re commuting to work. Try to keep your stretching to 5-15 minute intervals so you don’t overexert yourself.
Ice pack for relief
For long-term relief of lower back and hip pain, ice can be a great way to calm inflammation and promote healing. For best results, apply an ice pack for 20 minutes straight. To make this easier, place an ice pack inside a towel and then lie down on the ice pack.
Instead of using ice for long-term pain relief, consider using heat for your next back or hip pain episode. Heat can help relax sore muscles and promote healing. It can be used before and after strenuous activity, or during times of increased stress. Types of heat include moist heat, dry heat, and infrared heat. Learn more about the differences between heat and ice packs here.
Don’t ignore the small things
Sometimes when we’re experiencing lower back or hip pain, the most obvious things are the things we forget to do. For example, your back and hip pain may be related to a muscle imbalance. To correct this, you may need to work on your core muscles differently than you’re used to. Or your lower back and hip pain may be a sign that you need to increase your daily activity.
Use a foam roller
A powerful tool for relieving lower back and hip pain is a foam roller. You can use a foam roller to help your muscles relax, soothe your aching joints, and encourage blood flow. You can also use a foam roller for your core muscles, which work both your back and abdominal muscles. The best part about using a foam roller is that you can use it anywhere, anytime.
To use a foam roller, lie on it with your legs extended and your feet flat on the floor. Place a pillow under your head for support, and roll from side to side for 15-30 seconds. Then switch sides and repeat for a total of 30 minutes of relief.
Lower back pain can be a very distressing condition. It can be extremely painful and stop you from doing the things you enjoy. However, if you take the right steps, you can get through this difficult time.
Initially, it’s important to get a diagnosis from your doctor or healthcare provider. This will help you get the right treatment and avoid any unnecessary complications.
It’s also important to take care of yourself. Make sure you get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet, and stay hydrated. Stay active, and try to keep stress levels low. If you follow these tips, you can prevent and treat lower back pain effectively.