6 Causes of Lower Back and Hip Pain

Your lower back and hip are co-dependent on each other. They share many muscle groups, so it’s no wonder that disruption or pain in one tends to cause problems in the other. If you suffer from lower back pain or hip pain, you risk experiencing abnormalities in muscle function or movement.

Let’s take a look at 6 causes of lower back and hip pain:

Sharp Pain in the Lower Back and One Side of the Hip

It’s common to experience a sharp, shooting pain on one side of your lower back and hip. This pain can be caused by muscle spasms, joint dysfunction, or nerve compression. Conditions that can cause this are:

 Piriformis Syndrome

Piriformis syndrome causes a spasm of the piriformis muscle in the buttocks. It can cause moderate to severe pain in the lower back, hip, buttocks, and extend to the back of the thigh. This condition can make it hard to sit at times. You’ll find this pain typically on one side and movement of the hip can worsen it. Even getting out of bed can prove to be problematic. 

This condition is caused by the overactivity of the hip rotator muscles or sitting on hard surfaces for long periods. 

 Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

Sacroiliac joint dysfunction is brought on by inflammation with the joint that connects your lower spine to your pelvis. This condition will cause you to feel a sharp, stabbing pain over the lower part of your back, hip and buttocks. That pain could extend down the back of your thigh. Constant movement, like standing, sitting, or climbing stairs, may cause the pain to worsen. 

The sacroiliac joint can become common in pregnant women or with someone who suffers from arthritis, trauma, or constant stress within the joint. Pain can affect both sides of the lower back and hip, but most often it’s only problematic on one side.


Chronic Lower Back Pain

Pain that lasts for more than a few months is considered chronic. Chronic pain in the lower back usually involves a disc problem, a joint problem, or an irritated nerve root. Some common causes for this type of pain are:

Lumbar Herniated Disc

Our lumbar spine is made up of about 17 bones stacked on top of one another, that consist of the vertebrae. A disk lies between each set of vertebrae to absorb pressure placed on the bones. Each disk is made up of an outer ring and an inner gel. When the inner gel of one of the disks in your lumbar spine slips or squishes beyond the outer ring, the inner gel presses on surrounding nerves. This causes pain known as a herniated disk. As for the slippage, that can be due to trauma or gradual, age-related wear and tear.

Spinal Stenosis

Lumbar spinal stenosis occurs when the spinal canal in your lower back narrows and places pressure on nearby nerve roots. This condition is associated with degenerative changes that occur as a result of aging, being more common in individuals over 60 years old. Initially, symptoms include pain or cramping in the legs. Over time it can become more constant or severe. Additional symptoms such as numbness and weakness may occur.


The spine area is naturally curved. The upper back curves backward; the lower back curves forward. A side view will show this perfect curvature of the bone structure. If your spine curves sideways when viewed from behind, that’s not perfect. It’s called scoliosis, and it’s a deformity that can lead to back pain.

Although the majority of scoliosis cases don’t require treatment, severe curvature can place significant stress on the lower back and lead to more pain.


Spondylolisthesis, often caused by Spondylolysis, occurs when one vertebra slips forward over the one below it. This condition typically causes pain in the low back and leg due to the disks irritating the nerves closest to them.


How We Can Help

Back pain is one of the most common reasons for doctor and emergency room visits in the U.S. It’s a leading cause of lost workdays and long-term disability. Not seeking medical attention and allowing the pain to persist will only cause the condition to worsen. 

Atlantic Spine Specialists are board-certified and specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of back pain. We are dedicated to relieving and restoring function to help our patients have the best quality of life. No matter what the cause of your pain, receiving an extensive spinal examination and accurate diagnosis are the first steps to resolving the issue. At Atlantic Spine Specialists our doctors will prescribe the best treatment plan for you.  

To learn more about diagnosis and treatment, request a consultation at Atlantic Spine Specialists in Morristown, New Jersey. Or call us at (973) 971-3500 to schedule your appointment.