An injury to the muscles, joints and bones of the back, hips and knees causes direct pain and can also refer pain among these areas on the body. Hip injuries in particular are likely to radiate pain to the back and the knees. When a person compensates for knee, hip or back pain on one side of her body, she is at risk for injuring the other side, inducing even more pain.
Causes of pain between the back, hips and knees include sciatica, inflamed bursas at the hip, dislocation of the hip joint and fractures of the hip and thigh bones. If a person's back and hip muscles are tight, it will induce pain in those regions as well as at the knees.
If the sciatic nerve is compressed by a bulging vertebral disc in the back, pain originates at the site of the bulge, through the posterior aspect of the hips and knees, and may go as far as the bottom of the foot. A person may also have numbness and tingling in the affected areas. An inflamed bursa at the hips can irritate the IT or iliotibial band, generating pain to the lateral aspect of a person's knee. An injured sacroiliac joint at the lower back, where the spinal and hip bones meet, often stimulates pain through the posterior aspect of the hip, according to Sandra Shultz lead author of the book "Examination of Musculoskeletal Injuries."
Pain in the back, hips and knees decreases a person's functional capacity, or the ability of a person to perform his activities of daily living. Sciatic pain due to a tight piriformis muscle prevents a person from walking, climbing stairs or sitting for a long time. An inflamed bursa on the lateral aspect of the hip makes it painful to lie on the side of the affected hip. A person with pain from a sprained, dislocated or fractured sacroiliac or hip joint cannot support his weight on the affected limb nor will he be able to move the joint very much, according to Schultz.
Treatment for sciatic pain depends on the cause of irritation to the sciatic nerve. Antiinflammatory medicine is injected into the spinal column to reduce the inflammation and swelling which is causing the pain, according to MedlinePlus, a publication of the National Institute of Health. Surgery is required for hip and sacroiliac fractures and may be necessary to fix dislocations. Pain from an inflamed bursa is relieved with oral pain medicine such as ibuprofen, and by avoiding activities which worsen the pain. A person must apply heat for 20 minutes to tight muscles of the back, hips and thighs then do stretching exercises to reduce and manage the pain.
A person can prevent pain in her back, hips and knees by reducing her risk of injuries to the muscles, bones and joints in her trunk and lower body. A 10-minute warm-up and a quick stretch before more vigorous activity reduce risk of injury to the back and legs. Incorporating a back and leg flexibility session two to three days a week to increase range of motion further reduces risk of sprains and strains. A person should also avoid walking or running on a slanted surface to decrease risk of injuring her IT band.
- "Examination of Musculoskeletal Injuries"; Sandra Shultz, Peggy Houglum, and David Perrin, Ph.D.; 2005
- MedlinePlus: Sciatica
- Radiology Info: Epidural Injections
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: Piriformis Syndrome