lower back pain radiating to hip and knee

Add an onion friend in butter and an egg and enjoy Eggs Florentine

Add an onion friend in butter and an egg and enjoy Eggs Florentine

I had a discectomy in 2009 after I herniated my L4. 5 days later when I tripped and fell (because I had weakness in my right leg and trying to step up on 1 step) and re-herniated the disc.

1 year later I was told I had also another herniation in another disc with 2 others bulging and degenerative disc disease and arthritis in my spine.

I am now 47 years old (refusing to have another spinal surgery) I suddenly began to have right hip pain again when mostly laying on that side which in the last month has radiated to my knee.

It hurts to stand up and sit down. My right knee is feeling like it's going to lock up. I am 5ft 3 and 167 pounds with a medium build.

I work full time as an advocate for domestic violence and about half the day at a desk. I do not want to take pain pills again so I'm scared to go to the doctor with this. Please tell me what you think. I would welcome anything you have to say.

Thank you,

Dear Lori,
The big question is whether the pain in your hip and knee is coming from your back, or do you have separate hip and knee issues.

Scenario 1
You have early degenerative change in the knee; this is consistent with the feeling that the it's beginning to 'lock up', and with a BMI 29.6 you are on the verge of obesity. Banish the word 'diet' from your vocabulary, and learn the meaning of 'glycemic index'. It's the only way to simply and permanently lose weight. You need to do this anyway, as middle age spread is associated with a host of far more serious diseases than knee arthritis. Talk a brisk walk every lunch time.

Scenario 2
You have either early hip arthritis, or a number of conditions such as an impingement syndrome, dysplasia or meralgia paresthetica, trochanteric bursitis to mention a few. Do you have a family history of hip disease? Every morning before getting out of bed, pull your knee to the chest and then gently rotate it. Do these hurt in the groin? Is it painful in the lotus position? A careful and thorough examination is needed up front. Sleep with a pillow between your knees.

Scenario 3
You have a sacroiliac joint condition; it is intimately tied up with the lower back and the hip, with a chicken and egg scenario; fixations in the SIJ can certainly cause buttock, side of hip, and groin pain radiating towards the knee.

Scenario 4
The most serious is that you have a femoral nerve impingement, radiating from the lower back and down the leg towards the knee and inner lower leg. It's a condition that chiropractors are intimately involved with every day, I treated three yesterday, but every one is potentially difficult and serious; more surgery lurks if your chiropractor isn't successful. It means a serious commitment to lower back exercises every morning before getting out of bed, less sitting and bending, no vacuum cleaner and moving beds and making the time to go for chiropractic care; you have to slow down and you may need to stop for a few weeks; but less than if you go for surgery.

The bigger picture, Lori, is that you have to start taking your body seriously; making time for it; if you don't look after yourself, you won't be able to help others. You need to start eating healthily, avoid fast foods, and getting a lot more exercise. The alternative is too ghastly to contemplate; I won't spell it out as I think you know what I mean.

Start with our lower back exercises EVERY morning before getting out of bed, take a short walk every day, and look to include at least eight coloured foods in your diet daily.

Using the site search function at Chiropractic Help you can get a lot more information about the various terms used above.

It's not that difficult; our eggs Florentine that we enjoy for breakfast every morning has three or four; half way there.

Good luck, I hope this contributes. Do it!

Dr B

» lower back pain radiating to hip and knee

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Chiropractic help Questions (Low back pain).

Did you find this page useful? Then perhaps forward it to a suffering friend. Better still, Tweet or Face Book it.

Interesting challenges of the day

1. Mr S is a 76 year old man with neck pain of some 9 months duration. Luckily, most of the discomfort is upper cervical which is only rarely arthritic; his lower cervical spine is a degenerative mess that I've left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he's happy in the circumstances. He can sleep through the night now and that makes a huge difference.

2. Mr P is 32 year old man with very severe lower back pain radiating to the big toe which is 30 percent numb. He had an episode three weeks ago, took anti inflammatories and was soon better as is typical of the medial disc herniation. But before it healed, after a trivia it came roaring back, much worse. The characteristic crossed sign was evident; sitting in a chair, straightening the right leg provoked severe left back pain and tingling in the leg. He's doing well.

3. Severe lower back pain is scary; just ask Mrs P. Just watching her get out of the car I she was in trouble; she had a slipped disc at L4 making her lean towards the opposite side; luckily she had no pain in the leg. Despite family pressure that this was far too severe for a chiropractor, she persevered. Within five days she was standing upright, and after two weeks almost painfree. 

Despite a hectic job, she wisely took my advice and stayed home for what I call exercising bed rest.

4. Mr S has had lower back, groin and back of thigh and calf pain for fourth months.

He has a pincer deformity in the hip causing the stabs in the groin, and a degenerative facet causing the sciatica. Both are responding well to chiropractic and he's well pleased; sixty five percent better after three treatments.

5. Mr T is a wise man; he's taken a warning TIA seriously and has lost 15 pounds, and has at least as much again to lose. A change to a low starch diet and half hour daily walk has made the difference; but the walking is making his foot and back miserable. The expensive orthotic is hopeless; luckily his hips and back are fine, but he needs a simple heel lift.

6. I too have had serious lower back issues, luckily fixed by my own chiropractor; so I too have to do my exercises, take care when lifting supers full of honey, gardening and using the chainsaw. Regaining the function of your spine is just as important as the pain.

7. My own granddaughter, only 7 is hypermobile giving her pelvic, knee and ankle issues. Xrays show a mildly dysplastic hip. Years ago we would have called it growing pains. She too regularly needs chiropractic care and luckily responds well. Increased range of motion is more difficult than too stiff in my opinion. Our care is for kids too.

8. This 65 year old lady is a serious gardener; every day she is bending, lifting and digging for 2 to 3 hours a day. It regularly catches her in the sacroiliac joint, so she has a treatment once a month that sorts it out. She does her lower back exercises faithfully.

9. This 88 year old lady is an inspiration; every day she is busy in the community. With a nasty scoliosis she manages very well with a chiropractic adjustment every six weeks and exercises faithfully done.  

10. Mr X is a 71 year old retired man who wants to continue with maintenance care every six to eight weeks; he had suffered from two years of lower back pain when he first came a year ago. He has no discomfort now after 8 chiropractic treatments, but is aware that danger lurks.

11. Mrs C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It's a non complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she's doing well.

12. Mr D is a 38 old year man with chronic shoulder pain after a rotator cuff tear playing cricket. It responded well to treatment, but he knows he must do his exercises every day; for two years he couldn't sleep on that shoulder.

13. Mr D, a 71 year old man, has a severe ache in the shoulder and midback since working above his head. Trapped nerve tests are negative but he has advanced degenerative joints of Luschka; after just two treatments he is 50 percent better. Can we reach 90?

And so the day goes; chiropractors shouldn't be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that's so much bunkum.

Have a problem that's not getting better? Looking for a different slant on your pain? Want to pose a question?

Interesting questions from visitors

CLS writes:

Greetings, Dr B.
You helped me quite some time back with a soothing and professional response which turned out to be exactly correct. I now consult a local chiropractor. You write a superb newsletter, too.

Your own unresolved problem. Pose a question

Knowing that up to 70% of the time the correct diagnosis is made with no examination, no special tests, no xrays, but just from the history, there's a fair chance I can add some insight to your unresolved problem. But at least 30% of the time, I may be quite wrong! Give plenty of detail if you want a sensible reply.

You visited this chiropractic help site no doubt because you have a problem that is not resolving and want to know more about what chiropractors do.

The quickest and most interesting way is to read one of my ebooks of anecdotes. Described by a reader as gems, both funny and healthful, from the life and work of a chiropractor, you'll love them. Priced right at $2.99, though Kindle fiddles the price without telling me.