Back pain may mimic the hip joint arthritis; how to distinguish

Updated: August 11, 2020 1:30 PM

Lower Back pain being associated with modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors such as obesity, lack of exercise, bone density, occupational injury, inclusion of poor ergonomics.

Back pain, hip joint arthritis, hip joint arthritis symptoms, back pain treatment, remedy, covid 19 lockdown, back pain relief, back pain pain killers, latest news on coronavirus outbreakPain in the lower back that seems to radiate through the thighs to the knees. (Photo source:IE)

By Dr Akhilesh Yadav

The prevalence of back pain is not new and uncommon these days, with 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 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.

One of the major aspects that is 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 this time during the lockdown, improper posture, seeking comfort zone while working are major reasons for back pain.

Lower Back pain being associated with modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors such as obesity, lack of exercise, bone density, occupational injury, 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.

The Indian Scenario

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 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 atleast three folds in the next five years. With hip replacement patients can resume a bear normal life and can function independently.

How to distinguish

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 analyse the complete medical history, physical examination, radiographic examinations through X-rays may be done to confirm any abnormality with the joint.

How is it treated?

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.

Based on your diagnosis, your surgeon will prescribe the type of treatment that is appropriate for your condition. 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.

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

Minimally Invasive Hip Replacement Surgery: It is an appropriate treatment option if the hip joint is severely damaged or if pain and swelling reduces motion in joints and affects 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.

(The author is Senior Transplant Head Joint Replacement, Hip & Knee, at Center for Knee and Hip care, Vaishali. Views expressed are personal. Consult medical professional before any treatment.)

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