Hip replacement surgery could help to relieve lower back pain, a new study has suggested.
A small study carried out in American and Israeli spinal centres has revealed that total hip replacement operations can have a positive effect on lower back pain, as well as improving spinal function.
Hip replacements are one of the most common orthopaedic procedures and are usually carried out on patients suffering from severe osteoarthritis.
Surgeons remove parts of the hip joint which have been worn down by osteoarthritis and insert an artificial joint known as a prosthesis.
The new research, conducted by Dr Peleg Ben-Galim of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, has shown that patients who had undergone hip replacement surgery reported decreases in lower back pain and Oswestry disability score, one of the principal clinical measures used in the management of spinal disorders.
Dr Ben-Galim said that the study was one of the first to demonstrate "the clinical benefits total hip replacement has upon back pain", adding that the findings could help physicians to decide whether to treat the hip or the spine first in patients with problems in both areas.