Low back pain can definitely radiate or “spread” to the groin, even though the source of the pain is only in the back rather than the groin.
Can Low Back Pain Spread to the Groin?
“Yes, if the injury on the disc is creating herniations on the L1/L2, the second nerve is close to the groin,” says Alfred O. Bonati, MD, owner of The Bonati Institute, a world leader in advanced spine surgery, Hudson, FL.
“To diagnose this issue a patient having these symptoms needs to get an MRI to see if the problem is associated with a bulging or herniated disc at this level,” adds Dr. Bonati.
Even when the back pain originates a little higher up, near the lower ribs, the discomfort can make its way to the groin area.
Though a nerve that comes out of the spinal cord need not be “pinched” to cause the kind of back pain that radiates to the groin, often this is the case.
There are nerves in the back that travel through the area of the groin and hence, can be part of a radiculopathy. Even the upper leg can be affected.
A cause other than a compressed nerve root is a narrowing of the spinal column, called spinal stenosis, which affects the low back.
“Correct diagnosis is the key when it comes to identifying the cause,” says Dr. Tom Carpenter, corrective exercise specialist, certified personal trainer and chiropractor, inventor of Stand Corrected™, a portable harness-like stretching tool that helps alleviate back, neck and shoulder pain.
Low back pain that radiates to the groin area “may be related a problem with the sacroiliac joint(s), referred pain from an inflamed nerve in the lumbar spine, hip problems which may include arthritis, a problem with the leg adductor muscles or a pelvic misalignment, to name a few,” says Dr. Carpenter.