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Pinched Nerve in Hip Pain (Trapped Nerve in Hip) Solutions
Pinched Nerve in Hip or Trapped Nerve in Hip
A trapped or pinched nerve in hip can be very painful and even render one motionless for some time. Without understanding what it is and how the nerves work then it is difficult to deal with it.
In this post I will seek to help you understand the pinched nerve and how to deal with it effectively.
The human body uses nerves, which extend from the brain and spinal cord, to send messages from the brain to the entire body and back.
Such messages may include, but are not limited to, commands like contracting muscles so as to begin walking and messages about sensations like heat or pain.
When one has a pinched or compressed nerve in the hip, the sending and receiving of signals using that nerve is hampered.
A pinched nerve happens when pressure (compression) is placed on the Sciatic nerve causing it to become damaged.
What exactly is a Pinched Nerve in Hip?
Hanna from Oregon woke up one morning with some pain or stiffness in her left hip where the hip meets the top of her thigh.
This pain is now causing her to limp when walking. She also said that three of her fingers on her right hand are tingling.
Specifically it is the index, thumb and middle fingers. She thinks she slept in a poor posture and but again wonders whether the two are related.
She has frantically been searching for a possible cause.
The questions she’s been asking herself are, “What do I do to get rid of this?
This feels horrible and I’ve never experienced anything like this”.
Needless to say, this was a troubling experience for Hanna because she is normally a person with a bubbly personality and a very active lifestyle.
Even with her active lifestyle, she could not recall hurting herself in any way. There were times when she was tired but had to push herself to finish the task she had started.
She was in a lot of pain so she first tried to find a massage service for her hip but that only eased the pain temporarily.
6 Causes of Pinched Nerve in Hip
1. Bone Spurs
Bone spurs occur as a result of discs aging. Inter-vertebral discs are the connecting pieces on your back between the vertebrae, which are the pieces of bone on your back.
The discs are made of a flexible outer layer that may look like elastic bands and its middle is jelly-like but has a little water and this increases its strength and elasticity.
You may think of it like a jelly donut! As discs continue to age, they lose the water in them and end up becoming stiffer than normal.
They also expand as they become somewhat shorter. As they lose height the individual vertebrae in the spine move closer to each other and the disc may collapse.
The body’s reaction to the collapsed disc is to form more bone so as to strengthen the weak area.
The new bones formed are what are known as spurs. They cause a narrowing of the canal which ends up pinching the nerve root and they also lead to the spine stiffening.
2. Herniated Disc
A herniated disc occurs when the center of the disc pushes to its outer layer and towards the spinal canal causing it to rapture and put pressure on the nerves.
Since spinal nerves are very sensitive, even the slightest pressure may easily result in pain, weakness or numbness in one or both legs.
Arthritis may also cause pinched nerves. Arthritis is the swelling of joints and a joint is where two bones meet.
In the event that the inflammation occurs on the hip joint, it may put pressure on the nerves and thus cause a pinched nerve which leads to pain in the hip.
When a lady is expectant, very many changes occur in her body. Most of her organs have to shift to accommodate the baby.
Towards the delivery date, some of the pelvic muscles loosen in anticipation of the delivery. There is also the weight gain that the mother will experience.
All these factors end up contributing to extra pressure being applied on the nerve path in her back which may lead to pain in her hip.
Being overweight causes an irregular distribution of weight in your body. This automatically means that there will be more pressure and strain on some parts of the body and less pressure on others.
The body can handle an amount of pressure without any damage occurring to it but when one is obese the body will have to take up excess pressure that it is not accustomed to.
Since the hips support a large portion of body weight increased pressure may cause a pinched nerve in the hip.
6. Vigorous Exercises and Strenuous Activities
You are most likely to experience a pinched nerve in your hip if you undertake over ambitious exercises that pull your hip muscles.
The exercises include carrying very heavy loads that put too much stress on to the hip muscles which in turn presses the sciatic nerve.
Exercises that put too much pressure on your hip should be undertaken in moderation and gradually. Do not start with the heaviest weight in the gym but start with small weights and gradually take on the big ones.
3 Symptoms of a Pinched Nerve in Hip
1. Hip Pain
Having a pinched nerve in the hip can be a really painful experience because the hip is used for major body movement. You may experience some pain around the hip area and it could either be sharp and extremely painful or dull but very distressing.
The pain may cause immeasurable discomfort depending on the amount of pressure being applied on the nerve. Sometimes, the pain could feel like it is spreading through the leg and moving slowly down the leg.
2. Pins and needles/Tingling Sensation
You could also experience some tingling or worse still a sensation as though thousands of pins and needles are prodding at your hip.
This can be so annoying and debilitating, especially when you are in public or are talking a walk. Such tingling can be so disturbing and distracting that you can’t concentrate on the task at hand.
Your hip may be stiff or a little numb which may cause a little or a lot of reduction in your ability to move. The worst of this can happen when you are walking or trying to stand.
If you suffer from any or all of these symptoms you may just be suffering from a pinched nerve in the hip. If notice these signs early enough, you can do a couple of things to relieve the pain in your hip (Brown, 2013).
9 Ways To Ease Your Pinched Nerve in Hip
The pain may be really excruciating but there are methods that you can opt for to relieve the pain. The first thing that is almost like a default go-to method for pain would be to rest the affected area. Avoid straining or overworking your painful hip and give it a break for a little while.
The body normally uses the state of rest to repair damages to its system so the pain may reduce for a while as the body works on the affected area. You will also need to reduce the amount of heavy lifting that you do.
2. Use of Heat and Ice
An ice pack or a heat pad used alternate times can ease the pain somewhat. Take a pack of ice, wrap it in a pad and place it on the injured area for a while and then do the same with a heat pad.
The ice will help reduce any swelling that may have occurred and the heat will enhance the circulation of blood around the region thus causing relief.
3. Placing a splint
If it makes sense to place a splint on the hip and if you are able to then you can go ahead and use it. The splint will help with movement so that you may be able to do small chores and not be totally dependent on people before you get appropriate treatment.
There are specific exercises that one can do so as to lessen the pain. A few stretches targeting your hip can come in handy. Try lying on your back and then bend your knees.
Make sure that your feet are flat on the ground. Now slowly raise your bottom off the ground using your abdomen and your hip muscles will definitely join in the activity.
Ensure that your back is straight and you end up making a somewhat straight line with your body. Hold this pose for two seconds and then relax your body to the initial position.
You should repeat this a few times at least every morning and you will definitely have less pain in your hip during the day.
You can also try this simple stretch: Stand up straight and place your hands on your waist. Then place one leg forward and another slightly behind. The leg that is forward should be the leg where the hip pain is located.
Move forward gently and slowly as if trying to kneel on the leg that is placed ahead. Push your pelvis forward and tighten the muscles on your bottom. Move your body slightly away from the leg that is forward.
This works on the pain and the hip muscles. Hold the position for around 10 seconds and then repeat it five more times.
For good hip support, you need strength in your inner thigh muscles. Strengthening of the inner thigh muscles can also be done with some stretches in the comfort of your home. You will need a large exercise ball for this one.
Lie flat on your back and stretch your arms outwards. Pick up the exercise ball with your feet and raise it slowly until your legs are perpendicular to the ground. Now squeeze the exercise ball and you will notice that it is your inner thigh muscles doing the work.
It may be a bit tricky to hold this position but try hard to hold it for 5 seconds while repeating the squeezing motion around 10 times. Repeat the whole sequence 3 to 4 times.
5. Weight loss
A precautionary measure that may seem unjustifiable but is very legitimate is weight loss. If an individual is overweight the excess weight puts a lot of strain on the hip joint because it has to support the extra weight.
Only those who are overweight should consider this though and one should be careful not to lose too much weight to the point where they now become underweight.
6. Wearing Comfortable Shoes
A look at the shoes you are wearing may reveal a lot! For the ladies, those heels may be to die for but they may be killing your hip joint! It is advisable to put on shoes that are comfortable and give your feet proper support.
This doesn’t mean that you wear shoes that make you feel boring or anything like that. Classy and elegant shoes for both men and women should ideally be comfortable.
7. Avoid Putting Strain on One Leg by Changing Small Habits
There are small things we do that we may overlook but may have an effect on the hip pain. While shopping, you can take a trolley instead of a shopping basket, avoid sitting on low chairs because this requires you to bend your hip more and increases the strain and avoid standing on one leg like when getting into or out of a car you can first sit down then swing your legs inside or out.
8. Yoga for Hip Pain Relief
Yoga has also been proven as a good method for pain relief. You can take up a yoga class with a trainer so as to do the yoga poses properly without hurting your hip further. Alternatively, you can try simple poses that can be done without much risk.
There is a yoga pose known as the number four. You basically create the number four but upside down. First of all lie on your back and put both legs in the air. Place your left ankle on your right thigh just above your knee. If you look keenly you should be able to see the upturned number four.
Place your right hand through the space created and reach for your other hand. Pull your outstretched knee towards your chest. You should feel something in your hip. Take five deep breaths while holding that pose and then change to the other leg.
Another relatively simple yoga exercise is the hip circles. As the name suggests these are movements of your hips in circles! For this you will need to lie down flat on your back and have your knees to your chest.
As you take in a deep breath let your knees spread wide and then move them in circular motions outwards and then back to the chest as you exhale. You could do around 4 to 6 motions in either direction. Try it out and feel the circular movement for yourself and its effect on your hip.
9. Medical Treatment of Pinched Nerve in Hip
Medications can also be used to handle the pain. Most doctors would prescribe analgesics (painkillers) like ibuprofen and naproxen. The specific painkillers would be non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
These relieve the pain while also reducing any swelling that may have occurred. A stronger drug may be prescribed if the pain is very severe.
Injections like the corticosteroid (a man-made chemical substance that closely resembles the cortisol hormone found naturally in the adrenal glands) can reduce inflammation and pain (AAOS, 2010).
In extreme cases where the pain doesn’t seem to reduce after any or all of these therapies over a few weeks or even months then surgery may be the next option.
The main aim of the surgery would be to reduce the pressure off the affected nerve. The type or extent of surgery will depend on where the affected nerve is located.
The damage done by a pinched nerve may sometimes be irreversible. So, the sooner you get it checked the better for you.
A pinched nerve on any part of the body can render you immobile for a while but the different methods prescribed above may lead to relief.
Also, remember to get advice from your doctor before you decide on any specific treatment course.
Whatever method you settle for remember that it may not grant you instant results so you will also need to add a little more patience to your dosage every day.
AAOS (2010). Cervical Radiculopathy (Pinched Nerve). Orthoinfo: AAOS. Retrieved on Oct 11 from http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00332
Brown, J. (2013). Core Knowledge: What You Need to Know about Pinched Nerves. Core Performance