Hip pain and sciatica
Updated: January 2020
Heavily used in everyday life, your hips consist of many different parts (e.g. bones, tendons, muscles and ligaments), which creates the potential for just as many different sources of pain. But hip pain can also be linked to an external cause, such as sciatica.
Types of hip pain
Hip pain can manifest itself in a number of different ways. The pain may be constant, or triggered by movement and eased by rest. It may be localised to a very specific area, or radiate to your knee, groin or buttock. It may also be accompanied by stiffness, a pinching sensation, or restricted movement.
Hip pain: is it sciatica?
Your hip pain is likely to be caused by sciatica if it is accompanied by a pain that starts in your lower back and radiates down your leg. There is a very simple test to determine whether sciatica is the cause of your hip pain. It is called the reverse Lasègue’s sign, or prone knee-bend test, and involves checking to see if the pain is triggered by having someone bend your knee as far as it will go when you are lying in a face down position. If this is the case, it is likely that you have sciatica resulting from a slipped disc.
Relief from hip pain due to sciatica
If your hip pain is caused by sciatica, taking painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs will help to relieve it in the first instance. It can also be helpful to apply a hot or cold compress — some devices designed to help manage pain, such as OMRON HeatTens for example, combine the pain-relieving benefits of heat and Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) in order to treat this kind of pain. Your doctor – whom you should see if your pain continues – might also prescribe a course of physiotherapy.