Radiating Pain: What It Is and How You Can Alleviate It Now

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When you experience severe radiating pain, it always grabs your attention. Hip pain and back pain can be particularly troublesome, resulting in severe pain when walking, bending and even during sleep.

One of the most common causes of such pain is damage to the sciatic nerve. The resulting pain from this injury can be extreme.

Sciatica pain is quite literally a pain in your butt, with a shooting pain in your leg that starts at your mid buttock and then goes down the back of the leg to the ankle.

The following useful guide can help you in pinpointing the precise cause of your radiating pain and help you determine if you need to get immediate help or can wait to see your personal physician.

Could Your Radiating Hip or Lower Back Pain Be Dangerous?

Usually, back pain turns out to be harmless. It’s frequently the result of sleeping awkwardly, overstretching muscles, too much exertion or sitting down too much. You can also have hip pain as a result of twisting your self during a sporting for work activity.

Any number of injuries can arise from poor posture or improper movement during exercise or sports.

Even once you have dealt with an injury, it is important to learn how to carry out an activity in a way that will not reinjure the area later.

However, some hip and back pain is an indicator of a more serious problem that may take longer to deal with.

In particular, lower back pain can indicate any number of serious conditions, including kidney infections or inflammation of your bladder.

Often, a good deal of pain that people experience in their buttocks, lower back, thighs, and knees can be attributed to sciatica.

Hip pain can be especially difficult to bear since virtually any movement you make tends to use the hip in one way or another.

Frequently, hip pain can be an indicator of a dislocation – particularly if your hip pops. This can cause you to think that your hip might be broken, but this is probably not the case.

If you have pain running all along the side of your body, with pain in your lower back just above the hip, you could have sciatica. Sciatica is caused by the sciatic nerve being compressed.

As noted by the Mayo Clinic, the sciatic nerve is a long one that runs along both sides of your body, starting with the lower two vertebrae of your back.

It then passes through your hip area and goes down on through your legs. When you have sciatica, the pain is usually on one side.

People can often find sciatica to be extremely debilitating, since it causes significant discomfort and pain while they are at work, sitting or even lying down.

Often, it is almost impossible to find a comfortable position in which to sleep, since almost any position will put more pressure on the sciatic nerve.

As a result, many of those who experience sciatica is also extremely sleep deprived. This in and of itself can have a very negative impact on their overall health.

Just What Is Radiating Pain?

As the name implies, radiating pain “radiates” from one part of your body some other part of your body.

In this circumstance where the pain in a particular part of your body results in pain in another part, physicians often term this “referred pain.”

Pain that radiates away from the hip and lower back can result in:

  • Knee pain
  • Thigh pain
  • Nighttime pain
  • Numbing of the legs
  • Groin pain
  • Pain in the side
  • Calf pain
  • Toe pain

It is important to note that the symptoms listed above can be useful in your diagnosis, and you need to fully inform your doctor – whether your personal physician or emergency room doctor – as to just what symptoms you are experiencing.

This will give them the best possible clues as to what your problem is so they can address it as efficiently as possible.

Below are some of the disorders you may have if you experience this type of pain.

Piriformis Syndrome

This neurological injury results from the sciatic nerve being compressed. Just behind your gluteus maximus is a muscle named the piriformis muscle. This muscle connects to the femur muscle and runs up to your lower spine.

The sciatic nerve can get compressed when the piriformis muscle swells – either as a consequence of inflammation or muscle spasms.

This disorder can result in symptoms like pain in the back of your thigh, pain behind your knee, calf pain, buttock pain, hip pain while sitting and shooting, sharp pain in your legs.

This problem is not viewed as being a serious injury, which is why the recommended initial treatment approach is RICE – Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.

Of course, it’s also important to see your primary care physician who can confirm that this is actually your problem.

He or she might then recommend a neurologist or physical therapy, which would include specific exercises designed to alleviate your hip pain.

Pulled Hamstring

WebMD points out that a strained or pulled hamstring muscle can generate radiating pain throughout the lower back and butt.

Vigorous exercise will frequently find you experiencing this kind of the pain since it is most likely to cause a pulled hamstring. A pulled hamstring can generate referred pain in the back of your knee, your upper calf and your upper thigh.

Some of the symptoms you will experience with a pulled hamstring might include extreme pain and tenderness during your exercise sessions – in particular, pain throughout your thigh muscle.

Again, the best way you can address the pain caused by a pulled hamstring is to the employee the RICE method mentioned above. You can also carefully perform stretches that can help relax your thigh muscle.

Pulled Back Muscle

People often experience sudden, radiating pain in their lower back when they’ve been moving heavy objects, doing heavy work out in a gym or playing some type of sports. This generally means they have pulled a muscle in their back.

Frequently, a pulled muscle in the back will result in a burning sensation and a sense that your ability to move and turn is limited.

While doctors sometimes prescribed and opiate medication to relieve the pain, there are some alternatives they can suggest that carry less risk of dependency.


A frequent cause of lower back pain is arthritis. This pain can fluctuate over time, rising and dropping during the day and night, sometimes resulting in numbness around the neck, stiffness and reduced mobility.

The Mayo Clinic notes that there are several recommended treatments for this problem, including ice, heat, rest, anti-inflammatories and stretching. In more severe cases, surgery may be recommended – although it can cause more problems than it solves.

Pinched Nerve

Pinched nerves in your back or you can cause radiating pain. Pinched nerves frequently involve numbness and severe pain that can be referred from other areas of your body.

For instance, if you feel numbness in your fingers, he can be a consequence of a pinched nerve in your lower back. Pinched nerves can be caused by injuries, including pulled muscles and muscle tears.

In some instances, scar tissue will form at the site of injuries, and this scar tissue can then press on your nerves.

One of the best treatments for a pinched nerve is simply rested. But doctors will also sometimes suggest NSAIDs and glucocorticoid injections.

Spinal Stenosis

With spinal stenosis, the nerves in your lower back and spinal cord can become compressed. Often, the symptoms that result from this kind of injury are very similar to those of sciatica, including pain in your buttocks, tingling in your legs and numbness.

Potential treatments that your position can try include blocking the nerve, steroid injections, physical therapy, rest, and opioid medications.

However, in this case, there is limited evidence to support the use of epidural steroid injections.

Diabetic Neuropathy

This problem is a possible consequence of an advanced case of diabetes Miletus in which the nerves of your buttocks, hips, legs, and feet are affected.

According to the American Diabetes Association, the symptoms you can experience with this problem include severe pain in your legs, feet, and buttocks, weakness and wasting away of your leg muscles.

The best way of treating this problem is to carefully monitor your blood glucose levels and controlling your blood sugar level. Physical therapy and rest can also be helpful.

Mononeuropathies of the Leg

This type of disorder can affect your nerves in your arms, legs and other parts of your body. The term mononeuropathy describes the situation when a nerve group or a single nerve has been damaged. This can be caused by lesions developing in the area.

One example of this would be carpal tunnel syndrome, which affects the wrist and results from repetitive use of the hand.

Symptoms of mononeuropathy can slowly develop over time (chronic) or can be sudden and acute. Some of the most common types of mononeuropathy include:

  • Sciatic Nerve Dysfunction
  • Femoral Neuropathy
  • Peroneal Neuropathy
  • Tibial Neuropathy

Symptoms associated with these neuropathies can include reduced coordination in the leg muscles and a strong burning sensation. Other symptoms might be spasms, cramps, twitching, pain and muscle wasting.

The treatment for these neuropathies tries to address the cause of the disorder through physical therapy and/or the use of medications – such as injected glucocorticoids.

Ankylosing Spondylitis

Ankylosing spondylitis is considered a kind of arthritis, and it specifically targets the spine. It can result in significant inflammation of your spinal vertebrae. With this disorder, you can experience debilitating pain in your back.

In addition to the pain and stiffness you feel in your spine, you can also experience a stiffness in your shoulders, ribs, hands, and feet.

This can result in a lack of mobility, loss of appetite and an overall malaise. Treatment approaches include cold and hot therapy, medication, physical therapies and other exercises designed to encourage better posture.

Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction (SJD)

Your sacroiliac connects your lower spine to your pelvis, and if you experience an injury in this area it can result in a great deal of pain in your groin, hip and back.

As WebMD notes, SJD not only causes radiating pain in the lower back, it can generate pain in the hip area. This pain can be particularly severe when you are sitting or trying to sleep.

In some instances, the pain is so severe it can be mistaken for a hip injury. With this injury, women can frequently experience pain along with their sciatic nerve. Treatment options for SJD include anti-inflammatories, rest and massage of the sciatic nerve.

Herniated Discs

If you have a herniated disc, you can experience severe symptoms that can resemble sciatica, since this pain radiates away from the back and down into your legs.

With a herniated disk, you can have pain in the tail of your spine that runs down your legs and can sometimes result in numbness in one of your legs.

There can be a weakness in your legs, pain in your back muscles pain in the knees and tingling in your legs.

Treatment options include heat and ice, anti-inflammatories, exercise, physical therapy, steroids for information and – if necessary – surgery.

Radiating Pain and You

Radiating pain can make an injury you have experienced even more of a problem. It’s bad enough to have a pain in your back without it also causing pain throughout your lower extremities.

But many times, this is exactly what happens. In addition to the pain and discomfort itself, you will often find that these kinds of injuries can interfere with your daily life and your work.

Fortunately, there are often treatments your doctor can recommend to help alleviate your pain and let you get on with your life.

Such options can include physical therapy, over-the-counter medications, prescription medications, hot and cold treatments and – when all else fails – surgery.

Which approach you take to deal with your pain is best determined in a consultation between you and your physician, but the above will give you some idea of what your options are for a range of conditions.

Check this YouTube video by Dr. Ryan Hetland to know the difference between Radiating Pain and Referred Pain.