Pinched Nerve in Hip

Pain from a pinched nerve in the hip can cause great discomfort and can wreak havoc on your everyday life. Simple tasks like walking can bring on severe hip pain, even causing you to walk with a limp. Nerve pain can come in various forms and may feel different from person to person. Continue reading to learn more about the symptoms and causes of a pinched nerve in your hip and what you can do to relieve the pain.

Symptoms

The feeling of a pinched nerve in the hip can have various presenting symptoms. The pain may come in the form of a tingle, burning sensation, or an achy feeling. Pain is often felt in the groin and also may radiate down the inner thigh or to the knee. Walking and other physical activities will increase the pain. Some of the hallmark symptoms of a pinched nerve in the hip are:

  • numbness or decreased sensation in hip area
  • pain in the hip
  • aching, sharp or burning pain that tends to radiate outward
  • muscle weakness in hip area
  • pins and needles sensation and tingling
  • “falling asleep” sensation

Causes

A pinched nerve occurs as a result of the nerve being pressed or pinched by surrounding ligaments, tendon or bone. The resulting nerve damage makes it difficult for the nerve to send regular signals to the brain, which translates into feelings of numbness, tingling, or pain. Some of the most common causes of pinched nerves in the hip include:

  • repeated stress on the hips and back, such as standing, walking and sitting for prolonged periods of time
  • pregnancy
  • sleeping in a position that stresses the hips and back
  • anything that throws the muscles and joints out of alignment; such as falls, sports injuries or auto accidents
  • arthritis
  • hip flexors not properly stretched before exercise
  • herniated disk or bone spur that compresses the nerve

Treatment

A minor pinched nerve can be relieved with over the counter anti-inflammatory medications, stretching, and ice. For persistent pinched nerves, a combination of conservative treatments in the form of physical therapy and steroid injections can offer significant relief. If you are feeling a radiating pain or your symptoms are worsening, we recommend being evaluated by a physician. Some effective treatments for nerve pain include:

Piriformis stretch

The piriformis is a muscle in the buttock area. When this muscle is too tight, it can irritate a pinched nerve and cause an increase in hip pain. Not stretching before exercise can create tension in the piriformis as does sitting down for long periods of time. Stretching the piriformis, hamstrings, and hip flexors may help relieve pain along the sciatic nerve. A simple way to perform this stretch includes:

  • Lie on your back with both feet flat on the floor
  • Grasp the knee with both hands
  • Pull knee up towards yours head
  • To increase stretch, grasp ankle and gently pull leg toward opposite hip
  • Hold the stretch for 10 seconds
  • Repeat stretch three times per leg

Anti-inflammatory medication

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as naproxen or ibuprofen can reduce swelling and relieve pain. Corticosteroid medications may also help minimize pain and inflammation. If the pinched nerve does not improve after several weeks or months, more aggressive treatments may be necessary.

Injection-based treatment

The primary goal of an interventional pain specialist is to reduce inflammation and pain through injection-based procedures. Reduced pain levels will allow the patient to initiate work with a physical therapist with less discomfort and ultimately return the patient to normal function and restore their quality of life.

Physical therapy

A physical therapist specializes in range of motion exercises to help restore mobility back to the affected area. After a comprehensive examination and consultation is performed, a physical therapist will determine therapeutic exercises that will increase range of motion, reduce pain, and get patients back to full function.

If you are suffering from a pinched nerve in your hip and seeking relief, please feel free to call one of our Patient Care Coordinators today at 908-754-1960 for more information or to make an appointment.