Sciatica and hip pain are often associated with each other because the sciatic nerve runs from the lower back down each leg, which means the nerve passes near muscles that are connected to the hip. Very often, muscles in the hip that get tight or strained can cause compression on the sciatic nerve, which can lead to sciatica. Sciatica is a painful sensation — often a shooting pain — that can run anywhere from the lower back all the way down the back of the legs due to compression on the sciatic nerve. Sciatica can, therefore, also cause hip pain.
While closely connected, sciatica and hip pain do not always come together. Hip injuries and muscle strains are possible without causing sciatica, and sciatica can certainly be felt in other places besides the hips. This nerve pain is common in the lower back, buttocks, thighs, the back of the knees, and calves, even sometimes as far down as the ankles. Even if the pain is not felt in the hip, however, it may be a hip muscle causing the problem; such pain is often felt in other places than where the nerve is actually being pinched.
When the two do coincide, the pinched or compressed nerve is, again, not necessarily in the hip. It might get pinched somewhere in the lower back, causing a painful sensation in the hip or legs; quite frequently, in fact, sciatic pain is caused by compression on the sciatic nerve due to a slipped or herniated disc in the spine. This compression can cause a painful sensation anywhere from the lower back on down to the ankles.
A lack of adequate flexibility and a lack of regular use of the hip muscles can cause sciatica and hip pain. Sitting for long periods of time, for example, increase the likelihood of sciatic nerve compression in the buttocks and hips. Sitting is a static position, meaning the muscles of the hips and lower back end up straining in the same position for long periods of time. The sciatic nerve can become pinched or compressed between tensed muscles, causing pain. Participating in a regular workout routine can help alleviate sciatic pain, and a core workout done regularly can strengthen and tone the muscles that support the spine, thereby avoiding conditions such as a slipped disc.