Hip pain causes scoliosis? How do I fix it??
May 18, 2012 6:16 AM   Subscribe

How can I fix this muscle strain that is giving me scoliosis (?)

Seeking advice about what kind of doctor could best treat pain caused by scoliosis, or perhaps something else.

I am in my mid twenties and have trouble sitting due to my right hip. Having visited PTs and had diagnostic work done (X-ray, multiple MRIs of back and hip), I had a lot of doctors say it was probably a strain in the muscle of my hip. The discs are fine back there.

Then recently, (like a year ago) I went to a rheumatologist who poked and prodded and said I have some kind of muscle tear in my right hip.

This is limiting my range of motion (I can't sit with my legs very wide open, for example) and causing the "pulling feeling."

I also have a strained muscle up the back of my right side (foreshortened) and this is causing changes to my bones-- scoliosis.

What kind of specialist should I see? How can I describe these concerns (and make them heard!)

I know YANAD, but does anyone happen to know if the rheumatologist's explanation for my problem has a name? (I visited them in a foreign country and there was a significant language barrier). Would the pain be caused by scoliosis or is this secondary to some muscle tear that can be overcome by exercise?

Sorry for the longwindedness and multiple questions within a question! Any insights would be helpful.

TL;DR: What kind of treatment would help with my scoliosis and limited range of motion in right hip?
posted by kettleoffish to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I think there's a pretty good chance you don't have scoliosis, and i'm pretty sure you can't get it from pulling a muscle.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Most of the time, the cause of scoliosis is unknown. This is called idiopathic scoliosis. It is the most common type. It is grouped by age.
-In children age 3 and younger, it is called infantile scoliosis.
-In kids age 4 - 10, it is called juvenile scoliosis.
-In older kids age 11 - 18, it is called adolescent scoliosis.
Scoliosis most often affects girls. Some people are just more likely to have curving of the spine. Curving generally gets worse during a growth spurt. Other types of scoliosis are:
-Congenital scoliosis: This type of scoliosis is present at birth. It occurs when the baby’s ribs or spine bones do not form properly.
-Neuromuscular scoliosis: This type is caused by a nervous system problem that affects your muscles, such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, spina bifida, and polio.

I'd suggest you go to your regular doctor and get him/her to give you a second opinion about what is wrong with you, and get a referral to a specialist.
posted by Kololo at 6:36 AM on May 18, 2012 [3 favorites]

I have had scoliosis since I was a teenager, but the curve was never bad enough for anything more that exercises and observation. However, I also have had muscular problems in my back over the years (when getting PT for scoliosis my sacroiliac joint was also out of whack) including lots of muscle tension in my back and shoulders. What I DID notice was that when my back was tense, my scoliosis curve was much more pronounced. I don't know that muscle issues can actually cause scoliosis, but if your hips are out of alignment it can cause your spine to curve.

My scoliosis (and other back issues) were treated by an orthopedist, who referred me to some physical therapy for a while. Currently, I manage it by stretching and getting massages when things are tight and twisty (but I've had years to learn to recognize what's going on back there and have been taught how to manage it. You should not go to a massage therapist as your first line of defense). I would call your GP for a referral to an orthopedist...one who treats scoliosis or back/hip issues would be a bonus. They should be able to give you a full evaluation and decide if the hip muscle is the source of the problem or just a symptom of the problem. All of this may be coming from something else being misaligned (have you ever had the length of your legs measured? Having one shorter than the other can knock things off kilter and cause injury if you are overcompensating for it somehow).
posted by MultiFaceted at 6:58 AM on May 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

TL;DR: What kind of treatment would help with my scoliosis and limited range of motion in right hip?

I don't know if you have scoliosis. You need to see an orthopedist or orthopedic surgeon if you want to determine this. Call a clinic with several doctors and ask for one that specializes in the spine. Your insurance may require a referral first - see your primary care doctor for one.

I have had scoliosis from birth and also have trouble with muscle pain (no tears, AFAIK). Physical therapy helped me the most. An orthopedist can prescribe this.

(I see MultiFaceted covered most of this, so let me just add my stamp of approval.)
posted by desjardins at 7:58 AM on May 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Actually, a muscle tear could definitely cause scoliosis. There are two kinds of scoliosis; functional and structural. Structural is often idiopathic but functional typically has an identifiable cause that often can be treated. If someone were to tear, say, their QL's, their Erector Spinae muscles, or a variety of other muscles,the resulting scar tissue and hypertonicity, not to mention the compensatory patterns, could easily cause spinal torsion and curvature.If it is determined that you do have scoliosis, you should, depending on your location, go to a massage therapist. (Around here, we have to get a lot of schooling. Other places, not so much). S/he'll be able to assess tissue dysfunction that is contributing to the curvature(s) and address it as well as giving you remedial excercises. If you live somewhere with a fairly strict regulatory process for massage, that should help significantly. That, possibly in conjunction with more physical therapy, hydrotherapy (your massage therapist should be able to do hydro for you), and possibly chiropractic, should likely help you regain a significant range. You might need an OT depending on the cause. If you have more info about the situation (type of curve, type of injury, etc), you can feel free to memail me and I can give you whatever advice is possible over the nets, bearing in mind that I am not your doctor.
posted by windykites at 8:47 AM on May 18, 2012 [3 favorites]

Pain in the hip together with a "foreshortened" back muscle and a "pulling feeling" is making me think of problems with the sciatic nerve.

If you experience cramps in your hip or leg, or any numbness, I think that makes sciatic nerve problems a much more likely diagnosis.

I just got over a bout of this, and mine seems to have been caused by an inability to absorb vitamin B12; if you never experience heartburn, you might want to look at your B12 levels.
posted by jamjam at 11:19 AM on May 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Lots of hip experience here. Is the pain ever sharp or stabbing in or around your hip area...groin or rear? Does it ever feel like something is "catching" and you can't move for awhile? More details would be great!
posted by futz at 2:38 PM on May 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Bless you all! I mean it. Haha, all right, I'll try to describe further. The pain most days feels almost like a tooth ache in my hip. By which I mean the side of my hip is tender. I naturally sit more on one side. When it catches, it feels like I can't lower that side of my back as much. When people run their finger down the right side of my spine, they say the muscle is extra developed on that side (the PT found this, says it needs to be stressed). My back is extremely hard, like someone who has been working out. But usually when I sit, I have to strain. My sideways range of motion and spinal twist range of motion are really good, since I obsessively stretch and crack these-- I'm probably trying to release the lower spine or something. When I do a back bend, the lower spine always cracks which releases part of the tension, but not all.

There is a tough little ball at the top of the hamstring that I have seem called "piriformis syndrome," but two 8-week courses of PT failed to produce any improvement-- using mostly a version of the pigeon stretch in yoga, where the leg is bent across the other leg and the knee is pulled in to the chest. One PT said that the problem might be that parts of the tissue are overstretched, not understretched. I don't know about this.

No referred pain. The rheumatologist checked my step and leg length-- they were equal. She had mentioned that in her opinion, the most important thing was to fix the limited range of motion in my right leg (about 30 degrees).

I am sure that is an abundant amount of details so I'll stop now! But that's pretty much what it's like.
posted by kettleoffish at 6:12 PM on May 18, 2012

I've had good results from self-treating my own butt and lower back issues with trigger point therapy. I bought the book The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook and used the information in it, along with a hard rubber ball, for self massage, you may want to check it out. I've also had good results in the past from a technique call Active Release Therapy. Neither of the approaches were magic cures, but they helped.
posted by jade east at 10:25 PM on May 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Hip pain is felt in your groin. Pain along the outer region of your hip (side of your butt, upper outer thigh) in someone as young as you is almost always trochanteric bursitis. Scoliosis and back pain are generally coincidental rather than causative, except in severe cases, so massage can help presuming there is no significant underlying pathology. The list of things that could be giving you such pain is remarkably long. You should start either with an orthopaedic surgeon or a physiatrist (a physician with training in physical medicine and rehabilitation) and go from there.
posted by karlos at 5:10 AM on May 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

Pain along the outer region of your hip (side of your butt, upper outer thigh) in someone as young as you is almost always trochanteric bursitis.

That's exactly what I had, and PT made it go away, period. It's been a year and I have not had a recurrence even though I'm lazy about doing my exercises.
posted by desjardins at 9:28 AM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

« Older What's my best option for my company's email and...   |   I am a total banking n00b Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.