Patients suffering from hip osteoarthritis and lower back pain should receive treatment for the hip first, as this could automatically alleviate the back pain, researchers believe.
A small-scale study at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston has found that patients who underwent hip replacement surgery reported a noticeable improvement in their lower back.
The study involved 15 women and ten men, who filled in questionnaires on their level of pain both before and three months after undergoing hip replacement surgery.
On a scale of one to ten, patients reported their back pain to have decreased from 5.04 to 3.68, on average, after the surgery.
Dr Peleg Ben-Galim, lead researcher and professor of orthopaedic surgery at the college, told the Medical Post that the results of the study backed up the hip-spine syndrome proposed by Canadian orthopaedic surgeon Dr Ian Macnab in the early 1980s.
"If you've ever seen a hip patient limp, they waddle like a duck, and he [Dr Macnab] made the comment that if somebody walks like that, he would get secondary low back pain," Dr. Ben-Galim revealed.
"That was the original hip-spine theory, and much has been written about this and many have debated about it, but I think this is the first time that anybody has clinically been able to prove an association between hip pathology and spine pathology," he explained.