Lumps  in the Low Back – Top of Hip

Do you have lumps in your low back, or across the top of you hip bone?

These are firm, movable lumps in between the skin and the muscle or in between the skin and the top of the hip bone (the iliac crest).  They are also found the “dimple” between the butt and the low back. They can range in size from very small and round to oblong and several inches long.

First let me tell you they are NOT cancer and they are not malignant.

They are also not lymph nodes (because you don’t have them there).

But if you have low back troubles, it important that your read on.

The lump is a back mouse.  I’ll give you some other names so you can do further research if you like or you wish to see a doctor about them. Other terms are: Episacral lipoma, iliac crest pain syndrome, multifidus triangle syndrome, and lumbar fascial fat herniation

They are quite common.  As a massage therapist, I have felt them on hundreds of people.For a long time, nobody I asked could tell me what they were.

It is estimated that between 10% to 25% of the population has them.

They are not in the muscle, so they are not “knots”.

They are like lipomas (fatty lumps) that a lot of people get.  But lipomas are never painful when you push on them.

However,  back mice can be painful when you push on them.  Most people who have them can live with them.  BUT….

In about 10% of the people who have them they can cause excruciating back pain, or refer pain down the leg or into the knee.

They mimic a herniated disc.  And probably the majority of doctors are not aware of this.

What they are is fat that has leaked (herniated) through a rip in the facia (membrane) and often take nerves with it.  These rips can be caused by trauma, lifting, sitting too much, or other possible causes.

Like trigger points, which are tender spots in muscles, back mice can refer pain to somewhere else on the body.  But trigger points can be massaged away with pressure.

Back mice should NOT be massaged, because that only creates more pain.  Massaging will not make them go away.

Massaging the back MUSCLES is a good idea. BUT NOT THE LUMPS.

If the back pain caused by these has only lasted a few weeks or less, the pain will likely go away by itself. Maybe it is because the nerve retracted itself or maybe the hole closed around the nerve and the nerve died.  I don’t know.

If you have chronic back pain or pain radiating down a leg, you should check to see if it is caused by a back mouse, before submitting to an MRI or other expensive procedures.

Lie face down wearing loose pants (no jeans or belts).  Have a friend feel the low back (around waist level) and on the upper part of the hip bone for lumps.  Have them push fairly hard on any lump they feel.

If pushing on a lump causes the the same pain you have been having, bingo. Then you can probably blame the back mouse.

The next step is to see a doctor or clinic (write down the earlier mentioned medical terms for reference).  The true test to see if the back mouse is causing your pain is to have it injected with anesthetic.  If that makes the pain go away, you have found the culprit.  The anesthetic wears off in a couple hours.

Just about any doctor or qualified medical person could inject the anesthetic.

Be warned that most doctors will know about regular lipomas but not these things.  So it is best to call and find out if they are familiar with them to save yourself frustration of going from doctor to doctor.

But for the actual surgery, if it were my back, I’d like someone with experience with these things, even though it is not major surgery.  Besides removing the lump, the hole in the facia needs to be mended.

If the back mouse is causing the pain what can you do about it?

I do not know of any technique to get rid of the back mice. except surgery.  

As I may have mentioned, about 90% of the people who have them are not seriously bothered by them.  

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Chiropractic may help to some extent, as would massage of the muscles – not the mice.

Drugs and pain killers do not help.

Forward stretching and twisting are not advised while you are in pain.

Ice packs may be helpful for pain.

Rub on Relief, is a natural, effective pain relief cream.

This is just about all I know about back mice.  Please Comment, but I can’t really answer questions about them.

If you have sciatic pain, check into Sciatica Treatment At Home.

Note:  more recently I posted a video about this http://discomfortfree.com/2012/11/lumps-over-top-of-hip-low-back-video/

******* Here is an article with medical terminology that you can print out and show to a doctor click here *******

 Note:  If you didn’t see Robbie’s comment below, here it is.  It may help you if you are looking for a doctor that can help you..

“Just thought I’d add my 2 cents for those of you looking for a doctor to remove your back mice. I went to a Plastic Surgeon and he gladly, easily and skillfully did the surgery. And affordably too since I pre-negotiated the price. He sewed up the tear (which he said was quite large) and let me see the fat blob that he had to remove. There were 2 large nerves running through it. Youch! Don’t give up. Take this article with you and go see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Mine was a hand surgeon in Park City, Utah. They’re very skilled with nerves and delicate work like this. The recovery wasn’t fun but it was way better than the pain that I lived with for 2 long from the dang mouse! Good Luck”.


Comments

Lumps in Low Back, Top of Hip — 79 Comments

  1. Valeria. Stressing will not only not help your situation, but stress is very bad for your health. What are you so scared about. Cancer? That is not likely at all. Make sure you read all the above plus the link provided http://carpaltunnelmaster.com/EpisacralLipomasAndLowBackPain.pdf . Most low back pain is muscular. You can likely tell if the big lump is causing your back issues is have a friend push on it – or better yet squeeze it while you are lying face down. If it creates pain then it is one of those rarer problematic mice. As a massage therapist I have felt hundreds of these things. Never did I ask my self if it was movable or not. If it is going to worry you to illness then go to a surgical clinic. Most may not have a clue about back mice, but likely all have removed lots of regular lipomas which are fairly common.

  2. I’m 25 and I’ve been suffering from lower back pain for about 4 years. I used to do heavy lifting at the gym.
    I have several movable and tiny lumps there but there’s one that is bigger than the rest and I don’t feel it moves. I’m scared that could be something else. I’ve gone to the GP but he says it’s a harmless node and that I shouldn’t be worried.
    Is it possible to have a bigger back mice which is hardly movable? I’m so tired of visiting doctors…they don’t listen to me. I’ve also have a radiography and a CT, but nothing was shown there. I’m scared.

  3. First, you would want surgery only if they have been causing you problems as detailed in the report and download. Please read both. The hard part seems to be finding a doctor who believes these things can cause major back problems (see comments). The surgery however is fairly minor, won’t take long, and shouldn’t stop everyday activities. May hurt a bit there for a few days but compared to the relief is nothing. The trick making sure this doctor will not only remove the episacral lipoma but also close the herniation (hole that the nerve and fat came through). Best to avoid straining your back though.

  4. lindsey on said:

    To anyone who has had surgery to remove back mice….is this a serious surgery, long recovery time, ext? I am a college student and work full time as a Cna. I can’t afford to be down for long.

  5. Kassy Klunker on said:

    Thank you for this article and the information provided!!! At last, someone with some answers!
    Thank you for your comment ROBBIE!!! Very helpful!
    My question is, Is there any way of getting the name of the Plastic Surgeon who Robbie went to in Park City, Utah? I live in Utah as well and with his great comments, I would like to meet with that doctor.
    Any help would be appreciated!
    Thanks,
    Kassy Klunker

  6. I would like to relate my story to prevent anyone from the same nightmare I went through. Although I am a highly educated individual with many doctors in my family, I have suffered severe lower left back pain and sciatic pain into foot for almost two years. But although I told many doctors I could “feel” something in my back , this information was dismissed and I have submitted, in desperation, to many MRI injections and surgery. Yes, horrible spinal fusion surgery that I now believe it was not necessary. Because lo and behold! Finally 2 large lumps appeared in my back after a strenuous massage which sent me to the ER for the pain. So now I am seeing a lipoma removal specialist in Beverly Hills and am hopeful. I went to the tip doctors in the nation at USC and they also dismissed this idea. So through my own desperate research, I found some articles including this very accurate description in above article. I have spent thousands of dollars , lost work and could not take cats if my family. But if this works Tues. I will write back. I only can hope no one else has to go through what I have been through. Regards from so cal. Denise

  7. Susan Catt on said:

    My “back mice” were first brought to my attention in 2000 when I was undergoing chiropractic care for my back pain. I have one leg slightly shorter than the other and also years ago fell from my horse and lifted too many heavy items, all contributing to my initial problems.
    My back mice seem to get aggravated by too much sitting without adequate support for the lower back. I was thin when I first noticed them. Over the years I picked up weight and when I lost 30 pounds this past year, I was thrilled to feel only a couple of small “mice” on my lower back. I am fortunate that they do not give me much pain when I have them, however, their existence cause my jeans to feel tighter and my sides and stomach area will also swell when the mice are aggravated.
    I gained back 8 pounds and with recent sitting as I worked on some projects, my mice are back. Five or six bumps ranging 2 – 3 inches or so in diameter. Mine do come and go based on how much stress my back has undergone. Seems like the diet suggestions previously posted are valid, some foods may also aggravate the problem.
    Although I have had them for years, my pain has never been as awful as some of you are experiencing. Keeping moderately active, watching my back, eating right seems to keep my mice at a manageable state.

  8. Natalina on said:

    Years ago maybe close to 10 years I was told I had mild spinal arthritis and they said that it was normal for everyone. Since then the back pain began to increase until now I have severe chronic back pain. Also about 7years ago I began to have large differentiating in size and shape painful lumps. I thought they were knots. Within the last couple years I developed sciatica as well. The knots began to multiply. Now I can say that there must be over 50 nodules just in my mid to lower back.If you feel my back it almost like hard old monkey bread only harder. There are so many they actually overlap each other. I am in so much pain and the doctor’s just sweep it under the carpet. I’m at a loss. I hAPPen to have a pacemaker/defib implant and cannot get any MRI’s. I only can get CT scans. If anyone can give suggestions please do.

  9. Tara Monson on said:

    I have been suffering from chronic pain from these lumps for over a year now. I have tried chiropractic, massage, acupuncture, muscle relaxants, phys. therapy, trigger point injections, etc. Nothing has helped.

    I am now pregnant and have had to stop all treatments with the exception of chiro, massage and acupuncture, which seems to aggravate this issue.

    I’m seeking out surgeons with experience in back mice now for post delivery. Any referrals would be GREATLY appreciated.

    Thank you!
    Tara

  10. Hello! I am also a massage therapist. I have felt these when working on clients…. but when i noticed i had them, I FREAKED. I thought I was dying (watch too much house)
    This article helped relieve my mind. As on lmt to another. Thanks for all you do.

  11. Jonahan, From what I have read and what others say, if back mice are the problem it is worse bending forward rather than better. You probably have a different issue with your low back. There is a link to a free back pain report on this page.

  12. Jonathan Diaz on said:

    I’m 19 right now. I played football in high school and wenused to lift weight all the time. Months after getting into football I noticed my was getting numb whule sitting straight so I went to the doctor and they told me it was a dislocated disc. They did something they called “manipulation” it got rid of the lumps I had on my back as well as the pain. Almost a year later I noticed the lumps came back so I went back and they did nothing about it. So now it’s been over a year and I have pain often and it goes away whenever I bent forward. I can’t go to the doctor because I don’t have any insurance so I have to wait to get some money. Currently I’m working in scaffolding and it requires me to bend down a lot of the time. I’m just wondering if this could cause any irreversible damage to my back? Can you help me. This really scares me.

  13. I also have this problem and I get a lot of aching pains down my leg I think it’s from the moveable lumps in my lower back does any one else have this ?

  14. sandy prine on said:

    I have been suffering with these horrible little grape size knots in my lower back for so many years I can’t remember.I have talked to so many doctors and I had just as many different opinions on what is wrong. This is the first thing that I have heard that makes sence. This pain is absolutely debilitating. I have been on pain meds that don’t work.I have been advised by doctors to rub them out and break them up which only makes them worse and get larger. I am thanking God that I found this article.I intend to bring this article to my doctor and discuss surgery. But inthe meantime I am going to look into a better diet.

  15. Hi Steve and everyone else,
    I have not been able to find a lot of information on these other than what I reported in the Post. However as a massage therapist I have felt hundreds of them and I do have observations. 1. Probably at least half the people who have lumps in the low back are unaware that they have them. 2. They can change shape and size and can sometimes get smaller – just like toothpaste can go back in the tube (but you can’t push it back in). 3. A lump that is painful to pressure may not stay that way, I’m guessing because the nerve that got pushed (or pulled) up into the lump either receded back in or is no longer active. Therefore if it is a new pain it is way too soon to consider doing anything about it because tight back muscles may aggravate things. 4. Can these appear quickly? With a sudden rip in the fascia, apparently so. 5. As many back pain issues are intermittent or short term, unless you have lingering problems as described in the report, it may be best to take no action as yet. http://carpaltunnelmaster.com/EpisacralLipomasAndLowBackPain.pdf

  16. Hi, thank you for the website.

    I’m not sure how long I have had this soft lump on my lower right back. However, I felt the lump a few weeks ago and pressed / massaged it for a few minutes. Within an hour, pain came out of nowhere shooting down my right leg.

    Interestingly, the lump was brought to my attention from practicing qigong daily.

    Is it possible to have this lump the entire life without knowing about it until pressure is applied on it (like massaging it?).

    Thank you.

  17. jessica cruces on said:

    thank U for this info. I am researching this further as it feels right. i have a long lump in my left lower back that feels like its tugging on my hip and lumbar vert. my lower back central area feels bruised and hurts to the touch. today, it feels as if it is wrapping itself around to the front of my rib cage. it really is so uncomfortable and painful. :( im going about my days as per the norm but it is difficult sometimes. I have been to Drs but have gotten nowhere. It was just this morning I spoke with my Dr and decided to go another way and self diagnose. It left me at a loss really. i was torn and frustrated all day … crying. i cannot express how magical the way I came across Ur article this evening. so I thank U again. could this be the result of a mishap at the gym on the Smith machine? i had been training for a while and i had a trainer with me – he was talking – and wouldnt U know it the bar didnt hook and I couldnt let go. bent back with bar … all the way back to the ground. thank God for early years in ballet. a back bend was not foreign to me. not the case anymore. I am tight everywhere now and it is driving me insane. :) i trust this will improve soon. I am calling Dr Krau in MiA, an amazing plastic surgeon in the morning. thank U xoxo

  18. I’m a massage therapist not a medical doctor so to try to get at the cause would be foolish of me. However have you tried massage? Of course from someone quite skilled as opposed to the ordinary foo-foo kind. And not while the back is in spasm. A couple obvious questions, is she hydrated enough and does she have sufficient electrolyte levels? While back mice could be the cause, injecting them with anesthetic as in the original post would confirm or rule them out as a possibility.

  19. I will add to the above. Since most massage therapists or chiropractors or medical doctors have never heard of these, it would be shooting darts blindfolded trying to get a referral.

  20. Monica on said:

    My daughter is experiencing 90% of what you have said. She has been in hospital for 7 days. The only difference is she has violent muscle spasms just when she is about to go to sleep. Her feet sickle when this happens. The events last anywhere from 35 minutes to 4 hours before they are able to get her relaxed. Due to either just getting heavy narcotic, which only lasts about 30-45 min for her, or waiting on a doc to order something to relieve her pain. These spasms are so violent I was sure she was having a seizure. She is aware throughout these episodes however. Unfortunately it makes her pain go from an 8 to about a 20. When the episodes are over she is physically exhausted and so incredibly sore. Neurology is on board as well as PCP. We are at a complete loss. Help…….

  21. Hi Leslie, thanks for all your comment.

    I am one who suggested contacting the doctor’s office by phone first. And I stand by that. First you are contacting the office and asking the receptionist to find out if the doctor is knowledgeable in a certain procedure and have the office call you back. Why make an appointment to see a doctor who has never heard of what you have? If they don’t call you back, why would you want to go to them anyway?

    As a massage therapist I very rarely hear about good doctors or average doctors because people don’t usually talk about them. Once in a while I hear about a great doctor. What I do hear about is the arrogant doctor that a person has waited months to see (for whatever problem they are having) and get talked down to, they get no answers and leave the office crying.

    In this thread I hear about the frustration of people going from doctor to doctor. Ca-Ching Ca-Ching for every visit wasted time, wasted money. I don’t care what the problem is I still stand behind asking if the doctor is familiar with what you have before you make an appointment. A simple “I’ll find out and call you back” answer from a receptionist is reasonable.

  22. I have had these for over five years. It effects my gait and my back is so hair trigger tight I can’t bend or walk or lie down when it flares up. I have found effective ways to manage it and can now lie down and walk much better and am looking for my surgeon!

    It is clear that the chronic tightness in my lower back and hips is caused by the multitude of large moveable lumps spreading across my illiac crest. I am a dancer and lift weights and 25 years ago I pulled some muslces in my lumbar and hams. I was ROLFed and things improved dramatically, so I thought all was well.

    My symptoms are atypical, so I thought I would share them here, so that others could benefit from my experience. In my case the tear was large and widespread and eventually (over the course of twenty years) resulted in many fat globules extruding, trapped between the deeper layers of the derma and the muscular and ligamentous fascia.

    This resulted in constant widespread contraction of the deep fascia and surrounding musculature.

    I can do many effective stretches to open up the hip girdle, free up the spinus erectus muscles of the lower lumbar and perform deep cross muscular massage across the quads to free up the fascia of the hip and groin, but the contraction returns within minutes.

    This tells me that something is sitting on the nerves, triggering the phenomena. Atypically (and luckily for me) direct pressure in the area – or hard palpation and manipulation of these lipomas does not hurt and can result in some deep -albeit always short-term- relief.

    So if your experience is closer to mine, just know that it seems that the most common set of symptoms is not the only one in this syndrome. I believe that in most cases competent surgery to remove the nodules -or even replacing them back beneath the deep fascia! – and carefully repairing the tears, is the solution.

    I have read that hernia doctors might have the expertise to do this, but love the neurosurgeon and cosmetic hand surgeon angle suggested here. This is the boutique surgery to end all boutique surgeries over here in the medically backward USA.

    BTW, whoever thought you could simply call a doctor and ask if they know of or treat anything is Dead Wrong. The vast majority of doctors won’t respond to any questions over the phone and staff are instructed not to give out doctors email address to non-patients. So, unless you are a patient and schedule a paid appointment good luck getting anywhere with this approach. It won’t work and is completely untealistic in our profit driven (i.e. evil) healthcare system.

    The best way to find your surgeon is to find knowledgeable articles on the internet and approach the authors of those articles, most of whom are DC’s or massage therapists and can refer you to the right surgeon in your region.

    Also, folks, if you found relief, for God’s sake, why aten’t you letting us know the name of your surgeon?? I can’t tell you how many posts and strings I have read through where the bastards said they loved their results and neglected to mention who they used. Hello?? Didn’t you read the strings where you post? Can’t you smell our desperation? Are you really that thoughtless and selfish? Yeah, apparently. So thanks, Donna King, you are a Mench!

  23. Tarina on said:

    Im am a waitress and I also have lumps on my lower back that seem to swell when im on my feet to long or bend way too much, but not sure if mine are the back Mouse. I just know for the past 5yrs ive been having chronic back pain and dont know what to do

  24. Hi,

    I had back mice and was able to research and find the doctor who wrote a publication on it in 2000. Luckily for me he is still in NC and I went last week and got the procedure done. I also have wanted to give up from all the pain I have been in for the last 4 years. Getting injections for herniated disk that did not work. Pain meds that didn’t work. Today 6 days later I am pain free! I feel like a miracle. Once my PT told me 3 weeks ago about it I have not rested until I could find someone. His name is Dr. Greg Gibbons and I asked him could I tell people about him and he said sure. I would have traveled anywhere to find someone my pain has been so bad. I had 4 of them. He is in Cary NC. Hope this helps anyone who has been suffering!

  25. I am so thankful to have found your information on back mice, but I feel like it’s too late. I give. I quit. I am ready to just lie down and “check out”. I cannot find ANY doctor that believes in this phenomena. It’s been over 5 months of disabling pain. I can’t work. I can’t take care of my family or home. As of lately I can’t drive, make love to my husband, or do anything besides cry. If anyone knows of a doctor in the north east that is familiar with back mice removal; PLEASE, can you share that info with me? I’m done googling, done making pointless phone calls, done going for appointments that leads me around and around in costly and meaningless circles. I am financially, physically and psychologically BROKEN….I just can’t anymore….please….anyone? I live in VT and am willing to travel whatever distance necessary as long as it is to a doctor that will help me take these monsters out! Please?

  26. Jason, you do not say how long you have had the problem, but I would not jump into surgery if it has been a few months or less. Tight muscles can aggravate them and a foam roller does not get into the lower back muscles. I suggest finding a deep tissue massage therapist who knows the quadratus lumborum muscles well. Call them up and ask them as most massage therapists are “why bother”. Of course they don’t massage the mice. When it mimics a herniated disc is when to do surgery. But I would first try loosening those muscles first and avoid forward stretching for a while.

  27. Celeste on said:

    Jason,
    I have back nice too. At one point in my life I considered surgery also & I think mine were worse after progressing to heavy squats with the squat bar & mountain climbers. My pain was horrible & therapy did not work at first (for a few weeks).
    My professional background is as a certified personal trainer, physical therapist assistant & a massage therapist.
    I write because I wanted to caution you regarding jumping to surgery too quickly. It is very challenging to find a surgeon who truly understands this. I wanted to suggest you consider chiropractic, physical therapy, accupuncture, and/or massage.
    Surgery is irreversible & most surgeons are more than willing to operate even if they don’t actually understand the difference between back mice & other lypomas.
    I’m 39 now & I have been able to keep mine within a reasonable pain tolerance. Changing my diet helped a lot. I avoid refined foods, no sugar period, increased my leafy greens & reduced my meat intake. Massage has also been helpful. I changed my exercise regiment to a functional training one & have way better results. I am much stronger & have increased flexibility. (I recommend Gary Gray or Gary Cook to learn more about functional exercise).
    Best of luck & feel better! :)
    Celeste

  28. I am 25 years old and I have those bumps in my lower back. I think I got them from Improper form of deadlifts and squats.

    The pain is pretty bad right now. Almost every sitting position is uncomfortable after several minutes. I’m doing some foam rolling on the muscle around the lump but not on the lump. It usually helps relief the pain but it inevitably comes back.

    I think it’s time to go see the doctor. I don’t think therapy would help at this stage so im going to ask for surgery.

    I’ve seen other people with horrible form with deadlifts and squats yett their backs are fine compared to mine. Those workouts are great but form needs to be mastered first.

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