Can Sciatica Cause Hip Pain? Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

Can Sciatica Cause Hip Pain? Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

Do you have difficulty with your lower back? Do you often experience pain that radiates down your leg and into your hip? You might be suffering from a condition called sciatica. This condition is related to the largest nerve in your body, the sciatic nerve, which runs from your lower back, through your buttocks, and down each leg. When this nerve becomes irritated or compressed, it can cause a range of symptoms, including hip pain. Understanding this connection is essential for effective treatment. Let’s explore the close relationship between sciatica and hip pain and learn more about the symptoms, causes, and treatment options available.

Symptoms of Sciatica

Sciatica can manifest in various ways, often making daily activities challenging. Here are some common symptoms associated with sciatica:

  • Sharp, Shooting, or Burning Pain in the Hip and/or Buttocks: Sciatica often causes intense pain in the hip, buttocks, or buttock pain, described as sharp, shooting, or burning. This pain can be debilitating and interfere with routine activities.
  • Tingling, Numbness, or Weakness in the Hip, Buttocks, or Leg:  Many people experience tingling or numbness in the affected areas, which can extend down the leg. This symptom can sometimes lead to muscle weakness, affecting mobility.
  • Difficulty Standing or Walking Due to Hip PainThe pain and discomfort associated with sciatica can make standing or walking difficult, affecting one’s posture and gait.
  • Increased Pain When Sitting for Prolonged Periods: Sitting for long periods can exacerbate sciatica symptoms, causing increased pain in the hip and lower back.
  • Difficulty Sleeping Due to Hip and/or Leg Discomfort: The discomfort caused by sciatica can make finding a comfortable sleeping position challenging, leading to poor sleep quality.
  • Radiating Pain Down the Back of the Thigh and into the Leg: Sciatica often causes sciatic pain that radiates from the lower back through the hip and down the leg, following the path of the sciatic nerve.
  • Muscle Spasms or Tightness in the Hip or Leg: Muscle spasms or tightness in the affected areas can further aggravate pain and limit movement.

Causes of Sciatica

Several conditions can lead to sciatica, each causing compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve. Here are some common causes:

  • Herniated or Bulging Disc in the Lower Spine: A herniated or bulging disc can press on the sciatic nerve, leading to pain and other symptoms.
  • Degenerative Disc Disease: This condition involves the gradual wear and tear of the discs between the vertebrae, potentially causing nerve compression.
  • Spinal Stenosis (Narrowing of the Spinal Canal): Spinal stenosis can narrow the spaces within the spine, putting pressure on the sciatic nerve.
  • Piriformis Syndrome (Tightness or Spasm in the Piriformis Muscle): When the piriformis muscle spasms or tightens, it can compress the sciatic nerve, causing pain.
  • Pregnancy-Related Changes in the Spine and Pelvis:  Pregnancy can lead to changes in the spine, pelvis, or spinal cord, potentially compressing the sciatic nerve.
  • Trauma or Injury to the Lower Back or Hip: Injuries to the lower back or hip can cause inflammation or structural changes that affect the sciatic nerve and potentially impact the spinal cord.
  • Bone Spurs or Other Spinal Abnormalities: Bone spurs or other abnormalities in the spine can impinge on the sciatic nerve.
  • Tumors or Cysts in the Spinal Canal (a common type): Although rare, tumors or cysts can compress the sciatic nerve.
  • Diabetes-Related Nerve Damage: Diabetes can cause nerve damage, including to the sciatic nerve.

Can Sciatica Cause Hip Pain?

Can Sciatica Cause Hip Pain?

Yes, sciatica can indeed cause hip pain. The sciatic nerve‘s path includes the hip area, and any compression or irritation of this nerve can result in pain radiating to the hip.

Does Sciatica Cause Hip Pain on Both Sides?

Sciatica typically affects only one side of the body, depending on which sciatic nerve is compressed. However, in rare cases, both sides can be affected, especially if there is a bilateral condition affecting the spine.

How Sciatica Causes Hip Pain

Sciatica can cause hip pain through several mechanisms:

  • Nerve Compression: When the sciatic nerve is compressed, it can lead to pain in the hip area.
  • Referred Pain: Pain from the lower back can be referred to the hip due to the interconnected nature of the nerves.
  • Muscle Spasms and Tightness: Muscle spasms or tightness in the piriformis muscle can compress the sciatic nerve, causing hip pain.
  • Altered Biomechanics: Sciatica can alter your gait and posture, leading to hip pain from compensatory movements.
  • Inflammation and Swelling: Inflammation or swelling around the sciatic nerve can cause pain in the hip region.
  • Weakness and Instability: Sciatica-induced muscle weakness can lead to instability and hip pain. Additionally, sciatica can cause hip pain on both sides. Typically, it affects only one side of the body, depending on which sciatic nerve is compressed. However, in rare cases, both sides can be affected, especially if there is a bilateral condition affecting the spine.

Treatment Options for Sciatica Causing Hip Pain

According to the study, sciatica often resolves on its own, with most cases improving over time without serious intervention. However, it is crucial to seek medical attention if symptoms persist for more than 4 weeks, as prolonged or worsening symptoms may require further evaluation and treatment. Managing sciatica-related hip pain involves various treatment options:

Conservative Treatments

  • Rest and Activity Modification: Reducing activities that exacerbate symptoms can help manage pain.
  • Ice and Heat Therapy: Applying ice or heating pads to the affected area can reduce inflammation and provide pain relief.
  • Physical Therapy: Physical therapy, such as that offered at Scottsdale Physical Therapy and Performance, can improve hip mobility and strengthen the muscles supporting the spine and hip. Before starting therapy, a thorough physical examination can help tailor the treatment plan to your specific needs.
  • Chiropractic Care: Chiropractic adjustments can help alleviate pressure on the sciatic nerve.


  • Over-the-Counter Medications: Non-prescription pain relievers can help manage symptoms.
  • Prescription Anti-Inflammatory Drugs: Stronger medications may be prescribed for more severe pain.
  • Neuropathic Pain Medications: Medications targeting nerve pain can be effective for sciatica.
  • Muscle Relaxants: These can help relieve muscle spasms and tightness.


  • Epidural Steroid Injections: Steroid injections can reduce inflammation and pain around the nerve.
  • Nerve Blocks: Nerve blocks can provide temporary pain relief.
  • Trigger Point Injections: Injections into tight muscles can alleviate spasms and pain.

Surgical Interventions (in severe cases)

Surgical Interventions (in severe cases)

  • Microdiscectomy: This surgery removes part of a herniated disc pressing on the nerve.
  • Spinal Decompression: Decompression surgery relieves pressure on the nerve.
  • Spinal Fusion: Fusion surgery stabilizes the spine and relieves nerve compression.

Most cases of sciatica do not require surgical intervention as the severe pain typically subsides gradually on its own or through conservative measures.


Sciatica can indeed cause significant hip pain, affecting daily activities and quality of life. Understanding the symptoms, causes, and your family history of related conditions is essential for effective treatment and management. While most cases resolve with conservative treatments, severe or persistent symptoms may require more advanced interventions. Seeking medical advice early can help prevent complications and improve outcomes.


How do I know if my hip pain is sciatica?

Hip pain associated with sciatica is often accompanied by sharp, shooting pain, tingling, numbness, and radiating pain down the leg. A medical professional can provide an accurate diagnosis.

Is walking good for sciatica hip pain?

Walking can be beneficial for sciatica as it promotes mobility and reduces inflammation. Incorporating regular exercise into your routine can also help strengthen the muscles supporting the spine and hip, reducing the risk of future pain. However, it’s essential to avoid activities that exacerbate symptoms and to consult a healthcare provider for personalized advice, especially if you have underlying medical conditions.

How should I sleep with sciatica pain in my hip?

Sleeping on your side with a pillow between your knees or on your back with a pillow under your knees can help alleviate pressure on the sciatic nerve and reduce hip pain. It’s important to discuss your medical history, undergo a physical exam, and consider blood tests with a healthcare professional to tailor specific recommendations from person to person to your condition.


Dr. Tyler Sinda

Tyler’s specialty is helping golfers, athletes and active individuals in Scottsdale find ways to allow them to continue to workout while rehabbing from injury.

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