Hip pinch occurs when a nerve that runs in the hip becomes compressed or inflamed because of friction due to rubbing with nearby structures.
This results in radiculopathy in the hips, which is defined as a variety of symptoms produced by nerve impingement that can include pain, tingling sensation, and numbness in the groin area. The numbness can spread to the inner thigh and sometimes to the knee.
A hip pinch can be caused by any of the following:
- Poor sleeping posture that puts additional pressure on the hips.
- Falls, vehicular accidents, and trauma from sports that could misalign the hip joint and surrounding structures.
- Tight hip muscles that pull the hip bones in the wrong direction during movement.
- Prolonged walking, running, standing, or sitting, resulting in repetitive stress on the hip joint.
- Presence of a bone spur or problems with the structure of the hip joint.
How Much Pain Is Normal?
Any pain that is felt at rest or during movement is not normal. If you are experiencing pain, your body is likely telling you that something is wrong.
If your hip pain progresses and does not get better after a few days, you should see your doctor to determine the cause of the pain. Early diagnosis will help you obtain the most effective treatment and will help you recover quicker.
Hip pain that is accompanied by numbness, tingling, and a “pins and needle” sensation indicates a nerve problem. The nerve could either be impinged, inflamed, or both. The pain could spread to the thigh, knees, ankle, and foot. It could also lead to muscle weakness that could make movements difficult.
How Long Should a Pinched Nerve Last?
A minor pinched nerve could heal within a few days of rest and anti-inflammatory pain medications. In severe cases, non-surgical treatment consisting of rest, pain medications, and physical therapy could help alleviate the symptoms of a pinched nerve within 6 to 12 weeks.
How Do I Know if My Hip Pain Is Serious?
You should see your doctor if your hip pain intensifies, is recurrent, does not resolve within 3 days to a week, does not get better with rest and pain medications, and when it hinders you from doing daily tasks.
A severe pain accompanied by weakness of the leg muscles should warrant immediate medical attention.
What Happens if I Let a Pinched Nerve Go Untreated?
A pinched nerve usually heals on its own with time, rest, and medications. However, you should consult your doctor if the pain becomes severely debilitating for you.
A severe nerve impingement that is left untreated could lead to nerve scarring or to a more serious condition called peripheral neuropathy in which the nerve becomes permanently damaged. This could result in chronic pain, impaired sensation, numbness, and muscles weakness.
How Do I Get Rid of a Hip Pinch?
Although a hip pinch could get better on its own, getting the proper treatment could lessen your suffering and help you heal faster. It is usually managed through non-surgical treatment consisting of the following:
- Pain medications.
- Steroid injections to lessen the inflammation.
- Physical therapy to enhance your flexibility and muscle strength and improve your posture. You will also be guided on proper body mechanics to prevent the recurrence of a pinched nerve.
How Can I Sleep With Hip Pain?
If you are more comfortable sleeping while lying on your back, make sure that your head, shoulders, and hips are in a straight line. Your head and neck should sit comfortably on your pillow. You may place a pillow under your knees to bend it a little, which will help you avoid arching your back too much and relieve some of the pressure.
Side-lying is also a good position to help you sleep better even in the presence of hip pain. Make sure that you are lying down on the side of the hip that does not have pain. From there, find the most comfortable and pain-free position of your hips and legs.
It would be best to place a pillow in between your knees for better alignment. You can also put a pillow behind you for a more relaxed position and to prevent yourself from rolling on your back.
Dr Aarti is an MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery) from Baroda Medical College (The Maharaja Sayajirao University, Baroda). Dr. Aarti has also completed her Masters of Medical Science and Technology from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur.