What Causes Lower Back and Groin Pain in Women and How Is It Treated?

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Lower back and groin pain in women can have a wide range of causes and result in other types of pain in the body. Depending on the cause of the pain, it can feel sharp, dull, burning, or radiating. This article provides an overview of possible causes of lower back and groin pain in women, along with diagnosis, treatment, and how to prevent it.

Rear View Of Woman Suffering From Lower Back Pain While Sitting On Bed At Home

 Yuttana Jaowattana / Getty Images

Causes

The main causes of lower back and groin pain in women fall into the following two categories.

  • Musculoskeletal: Related causes of pain affect how your muscles, ligaments, joints, and bones move.
  • Disease/infection-related: Causes can be related to chronic conditions or acute infections.

Overuse Injuries and Trauma

Frequent use and repetitive movement patterns can lead to overuse injuries to muscles, ligaments, and joints. This could include:

  • Exercises and physical activities, like tennis or golf, that require repetitive twisting and bending in the same directions.
  • Frequently lifting heavy objects for work, or any movements that are regularly repeated.

Trauma can also lead to lower back and groin pain. Trauma could result from:

  • Car accidents
  • Falls
  • Sports accidents

These can result in both acute and chronic injuries to the body, like strained muscles or broken bones. Depending on the type of trauma, the healing time and treatment needed can vary.

Both overuse and trauma injuries to the lower back or groin area can lead to weakness in the legs, tingling, numbness, pain, stiffness, or popping sensations.

Poor Mobility

Decreased range of motion and mobility in muscles and joints over time can cause discomfort and pain. Causes for this include:

  • Long periods of time spent in the same position (such as in someone who is bedridden)
  • Sitting for most hours

This type of pain often feels dull, achy, and stiff. It can also lead to muscle spasms characterized by short episodes of sharp, intense pain.

Posture

Your posture while sitting, standing, and walking affects your range of motion, and it can affect the nerves and blood supply to your back and groin area. Prolonged bad posture can contribute to lower back pain and strain muscles. Posture-related discomfort can also feel achy and stiff and lead to short episodes of more severe pain.

Sciatica and Pinched Nerves

Sciatica and pinched nerves are caused by pressure put on the nerve from surrounding muscle, bone, or tendons. It feels like a sharp, burning, or radiating pain along the pathway of the nerve.

Arthritis

Arthritis is inflammation that leads to swelling, stiffness, pain, and the breakdown of cartilage that cushions the joints. Hip arthritis causes groin pain and, occasionally, back pain that becomes more intense when standing or walking for long periods of time.

Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

The sacroiliac joints connect your lower spine and pelvis. When these joints move too much or too little, it causes sacroiliac joint dysfunction, leading to an unstable pelvis, pain, swelling, and a burning sensation in the lower back and groin area.

Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are formed by the buildup of minerals and salts, which form a hard stone-like ball in your kidneys.

When the kidney stone begins to move from your kidney to the bladder, it typically becomes painful. It causes severe back and side pain and radiating pain to the groin, as well as cause other symptoms such as changes in urine color, pain when urinating, nausea, and vomiting.

Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis is inflammation in the pancreas, and one of its symptoms is abdominal pain that radiates to the back. It can be caused by bile stones, alcohol, or infection. The pain with pancreatitis is worse during and after eating. Other symptoms of pancreatitis include nausea, vomiting, and fever.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Infections in the female reproductive organs, known as pelvic inflammatory disease, typically occur when sexually transmitted bacteria spread through the vagina, womb, fallopian tubes, or ovaries.

Symptoms include pain in the lower abdomen or groin, fever, pain during sex, bleeding between periods, and vaginal discharge.

Kidney Infection and Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary tract infections and infections of the kidneys are another cause of lower back and groin pain in women. They also cause fever, a frequent urge to urinate, and painful urination.

Ovarian Cysts

An ovarian cyst is a solid or fluid-filled sac on the surface of or within an ovary. Small ovarian cysts are unlikely to cause pain. Large ovarian cysts or those that rupture can cause pain that ranges from mild discomfort to severe acute pain. Pain can occur during the menstrual cycle or intercourse, or acutely in the back, pelvis, or lower abdomen.

Inguinal Hernia

A hernia in the groin area is referred to as an inguinal hernia. It involves soft tissue, often part of the intestine, pushing through weak groin muscles. It causes pain in the abdomen, lower back, or pelvis, especially when bending or lifting heavy objects.

Sexually Transmitted Infection

Some sexually transmitted infections, such as chlamydia or gonorrhea, can cause pain in the lower back and groin area. Other symptoms could include painful urination, vaginal discharge, pain during intercourse, and bleeding between periods.

Yeast Infection

A yeast infection is the overgrowth of the fungus candidiasis. It is a common vaginal infection whose symptoms include itching, swelling, irritation, and pain in the pelvis.

Enlarged Lymph Nodes

There are lymph nodes that lie both in the internal and external regions of the iliac in the pelvis. These can become enlarged for many reasons, including infection, injury, and, in rare cases, cancer. Symptoms of enlarged lymph nodes include pain, swelling, redness and skin irritation, and fever.

When to See a Healthcare Provider

If your pain is caused by a muscle strain, minor joint sprain, or overuse, the pain should begin to resolve with rest and improve without medical help.

If you are experiencing chronic or unusual lower back and groin pain, your primary care healthcare provider or OB/GYN can help you determine the cause of your pain or refer you to a specialist. Lower back and groin pain in women is a symptom that may have many possible causes, so be sure to see your health care provider for a proper diagnosis. 

It can be uncomfortable to discuss these symptoms with a health care provider, but it is important to find a provider you trust and with whom you feel comfortable discussing all of the symptoms you experience so that they can make an accurate diagnosis.

Seek immediate medical attention at an emergency room or urgent care if your pain is severe, sudden, or you have any of these other symptoms:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever
  • Rapid breathing or heart rate
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness or faintness

Diagnosis

Depending on the cause of your pain, a healthcare provider may be able to diagnose it with a physical exam and by asking questions about your condition.

Other tests may be needed to find the cause of your pain, such as:

  • Imaging (X-ray, MRI, etc.)
  • Blood work

Treatment

Treating your pain will depend on its cause. Once a diagnosis is made, your treatment plan will be created. An effective treatment plan will likely contain a combination of the following options.

Lifestyle Management

For injuries caused by muscle strains, joint sprains, overuse, and smaller traumas, the pain will often begin to resolve with rest, icing, and over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Braces or compression wraps can also help support your body and alleviate pain while you're healing.

Exercises to improve posture, paying attention to your form when lifting objects, and stretching can help to manage the pain and increases your strength around your injury.

Medication

Medicine can be used in a variety of ways to help in the treatment of your lower back and groin pain.

If your pain is caused by an infection, medications will be prescribed to clear the infection and resolve the symptoms of the condition. These include:

  • Antibiotics
  • Antivirals
  • Antifungals

Medications may also be prescribed by your healthcare provider to help manage your pain. These include:

  • Steroids
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Pain medications
  • Medicine to reduce nerve pain

Physical Therapy

Working with a physical therapist helps to correct problems with:

  • Posture
  • Walking gait
  • Decreased mobility
  • Strength

Depending on your condition, physical therapy can reduce or resolve your pain by helping to correct problems or improve your condition. A physical therapist will provide exercises to help increase and maintain your strength, range of motion, and flexibility.

Pelvic Floor Therapy

Pelvic floor therapy is a type of physical therapy that focuses on the muscles, ligaments, and connective tissues in the pelvis. It helps with pain, weakness, and dysfunction in the pelvic floor area.

A physical therapist will decide on a treatment plan for your pelvic floor therapy to help with strength and range of motion in your pelvic muscles.

Chiropractic Care

Chiropractors offer spinal and hip adjustments to re-align the joints of the spine. Adjustments by a trained chiropractor have been shown to help reduce back and hip pain.

Surgery

Some conditions are more severe and could require surgery to remove the infection or help a health condition. Ovarian cysts, hernias, and other infections sometimes require emergency surgery to remove infected or unhealthy tissue (such as ruptured ovarian cysts or appendicitis).

Also, essential surgeries that are non-emergent are at times recommended by healthcare providers, such as:

  • A hip replacement to resolve arthritis pain
  • A non-urgent hernia repair
  • Gall bladder removal to prevent recurring pancreatitis

Prevention

Not all conditions and diseases causing lower back and groin pain in women can be prevented. For some conditions, however, the risk for pain can be reduced by adopting lifestyle changes.

To help prevent lower back and groin pain, consider:

  • Engaging in physical activity daily, like walking, swimming, yoga, cycling, and strength training (with proper form)
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Stretching daily
  • Staying hydrated and eating a healthy diet

If you have any questions about symptoms you are experiencing, ask your healthcare provider about it during regular check-ups: screening can help to prevent severe, chronic pain by addressing the condition early.

A Word From Verywell

Finding the cause of your lower back and groin pain can be frustrating, because it is a symptom of many possible conditions and diseases. Discussing all of the symptoms you experience can help your health care provider correctly diagnose the cause of your pain and develop a treatment plan that will work for you. 

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2 Sources
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